Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Vet Visit From Hell? Nudge's Acid Reflux

by Kaitlin Falatovich

I'm sure you too have days when it seems that the whole world is conspiring against you. I had one of those days recently.

My pup was suffering from some stomach pain.

Being the over protective parent that I am, I heading straight to the vet. I made no hesitation to walk right into the clinic and got my spot to see the vet where someone else had cancelled.

The waiting room smelled of stale cleaning products and sickness. 

I swear it was the hottest day ever, and the smell  loomed in the air. The waiting room was full  There were sad faces everywhere you looked, both of the animals and their worried owners.

Not only where the animals making noises of sickness, so where the owners. With my luck, I ended up sitting next to a woman with the world’s worst cold. She hacked and sniffled and wiped her nose every three seconds. My pup was in pain, I was on edge, and all this wasn’t helping!

My pup was in pain and I wanted to help him now!

Finally, after what seemed like several hours, my pup got our turn. I gripped my little Nudge tight and sprinted into the exam room.

And yet another wait. What a relief, when the vet finally entered the room! By now I was almost in tears and so was Nudge.

Nudge panted and moaned as the doctor inspected ever last inch of him. 

I sat there quietly, waiting for the vet to tell me what was wrong with my little pup.

She examined Nudge and walked out of the room. 

Very few words were exchanged between us. This worried me a great deal. Somebody tell me what's wrong with my dog! For all the symptoms that I had rattled off to her, she barely spoke a word; I was very uneasy.

When the vet returned, she handed me a card for a follow up endoscopy. Maybe she took a vow of silence?

It was not until after the endoscopy when I got to find out what was wrong with my pup.

My little Nudge was in so much pain because he was suffering from acid reflux.

The upside was that
  1. I finally had a diagnosis.
  2. It is treatable
  3. I could relate to my dog on yet another level because I too suffer from acid reflux.
Nudge has gastroesophageal reflux, which means that his gastric fluids are backing up into his esophagus.

Prolonged acid reflux without treatment could lead to serious damage of his esophagus.

There can be some very serious reasons your dog might get acid reflux, including cancer of the esophagus,  so it is very important to get the experts opinion. 

(No matter how painful the waiting room is!)

Nudges treatment included a lower fat diet with several small meals. We are both on practically the same diet!

I also learned the importance of not judging a book by its cover. 

That initial visit was my first encounter with THAT vet and, despite her unorthodox way of interaction, she quickly found out what was wrong with Nudge!

Nudge has been her patient ever since!


Kaitlin Falatovich is a student, pet mom, and content writer for dog.com. Check out their awesome community forum.


  1. I'm so sorry and I have a question. How did you know your little Nudge was in pain? Was there a certain behavior going on? I know every dog presents differently, but it's always helpful to have a visual of something to watch for.

    Did you have to change his food entirely? Switch to a new brand? What have you selected?

    Thanks for sharing this. I had no idea dogs could suffer from this!

    Thanks thanks thanks!


  2. Hey Kim!
    Nudge suffered from chronic vomiting. That was one way that I knew that he was suffering. Also he would whimper and cry shortly after eating. I am not a vet so I obviously didn't know what was wrong, but when I found out, It was an easy fix! I started feeding him some home cooked chicken meals and I also switched his food to Newmans Own Organic Grain Free Can Dog Food, and it really helped with his digestive system. But that is just what worked for us!
    Hope that helps!

  3. I was going to ask the same question as Kim, thanks for answering it - I'm glad Nudge was able to get diagnosed so quickly - it must have been really stressful for you both….. My Mum doesn't do very well either if I'm sick….

    My Vet is the opposite, he's really friendly and normally I like to play with him and he gives me treats, last time I wasn't really in the mood to play, but he made me better fast which was cool :)

    I hope you're having a fun day,

    Your pal Snoopy :)

  4. This is a very informative post, thanks for sharing! I had no idea that dogs could suffer this kind of illness.

  5. My vet said that it is growing more common. When dogs consume ingredients in some dog food (such as grain) their digestive system can sometimes become more sensitive. But as I said, if it is caught early and fixed, it isn't a huge deal. Thanks for reading!