IMPORTANT: Make sure you discuss anything used with your veterinarian first!

An inflammed esophagus (esophagitis) is horribly painful. Think of the worst strep throat you can imagine and then multiply that at least ten fold, that’s what it feels like. If you happen to have GERD yourself, you know what a really bad episode does, nothing seems to help and it is very, very painful.

There are some ways to try and avoid esophagitis, namely antacid type medications (Prilosec, Pepcid, etc) and Carafate/Sucralfate. The antacids help reduce stomach acid that can come back up the esophagus and the Carafate coats the esophagus allowing any ulcerations to heal.

The Carafate/sucralfate (essentially same thing) needs to be given in liquid form so that it can coat any ulcerations/irritations in the esophagus. If given it tablet form, it is going, hopefully, to the stomach, but won’t do the esophagus a bit of good. If you have the tablets, they must be dissolved in a small bit of water, generally the easiest is to use a needleless syringe and then slowly dispense into the area between the teeth and cheek. If you have the suspension, your dog will probably drink it right out of the syringe like Kali does. There are several different flavors available. The biggest problem I have found with using the tablets is that it is hard to get them dissolved enough to not cause irritation. When using the tablets w/ Kali it comes right back up 95% of the time.

The Carafate must be given at least one hour before or two hours after meals. The reason for this is that it is a medication that binds to proteins. If you feed right before or after, the Carafate will bind to the food and not help the esophagus at all. It is not necessary to keep your ME kid vertical for more than a couple of minutes when you give the Carafate. I simply give it to Kali with her on all fours and then pick up her front legs & hold her upright for a few moments.

With the Pepcid or Prilosec,  you can just put it on top of the food and your dog eats it, but sometimes dogs don’t like taking medications. Always discuss with your veterinarian first as your dog may not be able to handle something “sprinkled” on top of food.