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Companion Animal Practice
Helicobacter infection in dogs and cats: to treat or not to treat?
  1. James Simpson

    James Simpson graduated from Edinburgh in 1977 and spent three years in mixed practice before returning to Edinburgh to study for an MPhil in exocrine pancreatic disease. He was appointed lecturer at Edinburgh in 1983 and, subsequently, senior lecturer. He founded a gastroenterology referral service in 1986, which was later developed into the internal medicine service at Edinburgh, which he now heads. He is a past-recipient of the Winston Churchill Fellowship and the BSAVA Blaine Award. He is an RCVS specialist in internal medicine.


CHRONIC vomiting is very common in both dogs and cats, with ever-increasing numbers of patients undergoing endoscopic examination and biopsy collection to obtain a definitive diagnosis. Histopathological examination of biopsy samples frequently confirms the presence of inflammation, which is categorised by the types of inflammatory cell infiltrating the mucosa. However, the underlying aetiology of this inflammation is rarely determined. Therefore, when a pathologist also reports the presence of gastric Helicobacter-like organisms (GHLOs) in the biopsy samples, it is tempting to diagnose bacterial infection as the cause of the inflammation. Although GHLOs are recognised as causing gastritis in humans, their clinical significance in the dog and cat remains controversial. This article reviews the current understanding of GHLOs and provides guidance on when and what treatment is indicated.

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