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Sensitive Stomachs 3: Medical Concerns


The challenges and symptoms of “Sensitive Stomachs” can be frustrating for both Guardians and their pets as they can be inconsistent, symptoms may vary, and the triggers can change over time. In saying this, not all symptoms of a sensitive stomach have a simple solution that can be resolved quickly. Some sensitive stomach signs are only a small part of an even larger problem that can be far more severe and even life-threatening.

It is essential to recognize that a pet with more serious issues is likely to exhibit additional symptoms, not generally seen with a sensitive stomach. Additional symptoms, like some listed below, could suggest that there is something more going on. Some symptoms may include:

  • Weight loss
  • A sudden increase or decrease in appetite
  • A distended belly
  • Intense pain
  • Coughing
  • Labored breathing
  • Jaundice, and
  • Lumps and bumps on or just under the skin

Common Primary Conditions That Also Cause Secondary Digestive Signs

Not all symptoms of a sensitive stomach have a simple solution that can be resolved quickly. Some sensitive stomach signs are only a small part of an even larger problem that can be far more severe and even life-threatening.

Obstruction or Blockage

Obstruction or blockage of the digestive tract can be life-threatening if not cared for by the veterinarian. Blockages can be caused by unchewed foods, foreign objects like toys or household items, and “treats” from the garbage that can easily get caught in the stomach or block the intestines causing symptoms related to a sensitive stomach. However, instances of obstruction or blockage can be quite dangerous, and sometimes fatal. Signs that there could be more going on may include; vomiting, abdominal pain, depression, sudden decrease in appetite, and fever. At any time, any of these issues that do not respond or seems to get worse should be an indication for a visit to the veterinarian.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a complicated digestive disorder causing vomiting and diarrhea that responds temporarily to multiple treatments, including a change in diet, then added fiber in the diet, antibiotics, or anti-inflammatory medications. IBD is a difficult condition to control in large part due to an unknown cause.  

Cancer of the Digestive Tract

Cancer of the digestive tract can cause simple, sensitive stomach signs initially and can be fatal if allowed to progress.

Kidney Failure

Kidney failure is a common old-age problem in dogs and cats and can cause loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism or an increase in the body’s thyroid hormone production can cause weight loss and diarrhea.

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis or an irritation of the pancreas can cause severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

Heart Disease

Heart Disease can allow fluid to accumulate in the belly and pressure the diaphragm and digestive tract.

Liver Disease

Liver disease can allow toxins to build up and cause GI signs.

Gallbladder Disease

Gallbladder disease can wreak havoc within the body. In addition to vomiting and diarrhea, blood in the vomit and stool, jaundice, and severe depression.  

Endocrine Disorders

Endocrine disorders such as hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s Disease) can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Cancer

Cancer in areas outside the digestive tract can cause secondary digestive signs.

Recognizing problems early and seeking a solution is the best way to maintain the health and quality of life for every pet. Even serious and life-threatening issues have a solution if recognized, and treatment is begun quickly. Pet Planet teams are always available to assist with a nutritional plan that can help to support a diagnosis, illness, or issue – but we always recommend that any health issue begins with your pet’s veterinarian.

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