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Reduced Activity of the Stomach in Dogs



The majority of patients can be treated with dietary changes at home. Low-fat and low-fiber foods in a semi-liquid or liquid consistency are usually prescribed. Feedings should be given in frequent, small amounts. In many cases of stomach motility disorders, dietary changes alone will manage the problem. In cases that include serious vomiting and dehydration, dogs must be hospitalized and treated with fluids and electrolytes given intravenously (IV). Depending on the underlying disease process, surgery may be indicated to correct the problem (e.g., GDV or cancer).


Drug therapy can help increase muscle contractions and allow movement of materials out of the stomach in animals with long-term problems. The two main drugs used in the treatment of stasis are metoclopramide and cisapride. Metoclopramide is an oral medication with anti-vomiting properties which is given 30 to 45 minutes prior to feeding. Reversible side effects can occur with this medication and include behavior changes, depression, or hyperactivity.


Cisapride is an oral medication also given about 30 minutes prior to meals. It stimulates motility and is shown to be more effective than metoclopramide. Cisapride does not cause the same nervous system side effects; however, it may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and depression. This medication has been limited due to side effects in humans, but can be obtained by veterinarians through a special pharmacy that will compound the drug.


Other medications that may be used to promote gastric emptying and stimulate motility in dogs include erythromycin, clarithromycin, domperidone, rantidine, and nizatidine.


Living and Management


Dogs that do not have an underlying condition causing stasis of the stomach will generally respond well to dietary and drug therapy. Those that do not respond to therapy should be examined more extensively for possible obstruction. In some cases, an affected dog will need to continue medication and diet changes on a long-term basis.



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