Vol. 3 No. 3 (2017)

Link between gastric chronic diseases and anxiety in dogs.

Muriel Marion
Cabinet médico-chirurgical Montolivet, 234, rue Charles Kaddouz 13012 Marseille, FR

Published 2017-12-21


  • chronic gastric disease,
  • anxiety,
  • dog


To determine whether there is a potential link between certain chronic gastric disorders and behavioural disorders in dogs, we chose to evaluate anxiety in a population of dogs with chronic gastric disease as compared to control dogs. In the group of dogs with chronic gastric disease, 85 % (17/20) had an EDED score between 17 and 35 (inclusive), three dogs scored less than 17, and no dogs scored over 35. Only one of the control dogs (5 %, 1/20) had an EDED score great than 17, and could thus be classified as having anxiety (Figure 3). The ill animals primarily exhibited vomiting (75 %, 15/20). The average EDED score of dogs with dyspepsia was 23.2, compared to 19.6 for dogs who exhibited vomiting. The average EDED score in the ill dog group was 20.5, and the median was 20.5 with a variance of 21.8. For the control group, the average was 11.5, the median was 11, and the variance was 6.25. The Wilcoxon test yielded a p-value of 0.00023, indicating a very significant difference between the two groups. The animals with chronic gastric disease had significantly higher EDED scores than the control animals.There was no significant difference between the scores obtained for the dogs with dyspepsia and those who exhibited vomiting (Student test, p-value = 0.28). The differential diagnosis for chronic gastric disease should include anxiety, and not only as an exclusion diagnosis. Scoring chronic and relapsing dogs on an EDED scale can save time. Treating anxiety improves the outcome of these dogs. Vomiting and dyspepsia are clinical signs indicating anxiety as a behavioural pathology. These results should be corroborated in larger studies to confirm that a causal link exists between anxiety and chronic gastric disease in dogs.