Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Stomach: gastric ulceration

Synonym(s): Gastric ulcers

Contributor(s): Anna Meredith, Livia Benato, Sarah Pellett

Introduction

  • A gastric ulceration is a mucosal erosion of an area of the stomach.
  • Gastric ulceration is a common post-mortem finding.
  • One study showed 7.3% of rabbits had gastric ulcerations at post-mortem examination looking at records between 1970 and 1979.
  • Gastric ulcerations are often located in the fundic area of the stomach but can be found in the pyloric region.
  • Gastric ulceration may occur secondary with any gastric disorders.
  • Cause: gastric ulcerations in rabbits are often stress-induced. 
  • Fundic ulcers are relatively common in rabbits with terminal disease.
  • In the majority of cases ulcers are seen in association with other clinical diseases such as enteritis, typhlitis, intussusceptions and bronchopneumonia. 
  • Signs: anorexia, bruxism, depression, reluctance to move.
  • Diagnosis: hematology, biochemistry, radiography, ultrasonography, post-mortem.
  • Treatment: ranitidine, sucralfate, supportive care.
  • Prognosis: poor.
Print off the Owner Factsheet on Gastric ulceration to give to your clients.

Presenting signs

  • Anorexia.
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism).
  • Depression.
  • Reluctance to move.

Acute presentation

  • In cases of gastric ulceration with perforation and peritonitis the rabbit will be presented collapsed and in shock.

Age predisposition

  • The prevalence increases with age.

Sex predisposition

  • Gastric ulceration is more common in females.

Cost considerations

  • Costs depend on the severity of the clinical presentation.

Special risks, eg anesthetic

  • Anesthesia during investigation.

Pathogenesis

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Ritzman T K (2014) Diagnosis and clinical management of gastrointestinal conditions in exotic companion mammals (rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas). Vet Clin Exot Anim 17 (2), 179-194 PubMed.
  • Lord B (2012) Companion animal practice: gastrointestinal disease in rabbits: 1. Gastric disease. In Pract 34 (2), 90-96 VetMedResource.
  • Harcourt-Brown F M (2007) Gastric dilation and intestinal obstruction in 76 rabbits. Vet Rec 161, 409-414 PubMed.
  • Harcourt-Brown F M (2007) Management of acute gastric dilation in rabbits. J Exot Pet Med 16, 168-174 VetMedResource.
  • Reush B (2005) Rabbit gastroenterology. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract (2), 351-375 PubMed.
  • Lee M, Kallal S M & Feldman M (1996) Omeprazole prevents indomethacin-induced gastric ulcers in rabbits. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 10, 571-576 PubMed.
  • Redfern J S, Lin H J, McArthur K E, Prince M D & Feldmann M (1991) Gastric acid and pepsin secretion in conscious rabbits. Am J Physiol 261, G295-G304 PubMed.
  • Olson G A, Leffler C W, Fletcher A M (1985) Gastroduodenal ulceration in rabbits producing antibodies to prostaglandins. Prostaglandins 29 (3), 475-480 PubMed.
  • Man W K, Silcocks P B, Waldes R et al (1981) Histology of experimental stress ulcer: the effect of cimetidine on adrenaline-induced gastric lesions in the rabbit. Brit J Exp Pathol 62 (4), 411-418 PubMed.
  • Hinton M (1980) Gastric ulceration in the rabbit. J Comp Pathol 90 (3), 475-481 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Plumb D C (2015) Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook. 8th edn. Wiley Blackwell Publishing, USA.
  • Harcourt-Brown F (2014) Digestive System Disease. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Medicine. Eds: Meredith A & Lord B. BSAVA, UK. pp 168-190.
  • Vella D & Donnelly T M (2013) Gastric Disorders. In: Clinical Veterinary Advisor. Birds and Exotic Pets. Eds: Mayer J & Donnelly T M. Elsevier, USA. pp 378-381.
  • EMEA (2002) Committee for Veterinary Medicinal Products. In: Omeprazole summary report. June 2002. https://www.ema.europa.eu (pdf download).


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