Chronic gastritis is more frequently met with than the condition previously described. It may follow upon the acute form as a sequel to irritant poisoning or engorgement, or arise out of a long-continued course of improper feeding. Horses passing from the hands of dealers and exhibitors who have forced them to a state of obesity by the employment of cooked food are specially liable to gastric disturbance of an abiding nature when suddenly placed on hard, dry food. Again, coarse, innutri-tious food, such as is furnished by poor hill pastures, consisting of scrub and the coarser kinds of vegetation, after regular, perhaps liberal diet in the stable, is often the determining cause of the disease. The habitual use of drugs may also lay a foundation for chronic gastritis.
Symptoms are for the most part those of indigestion. Failure on the part of the stomach to perform its share in the process of digestion results in functional derangement of the bowels, which may declare itself in periodical attacks of colic or more or less pronounced diarrhoea, wasting, and weakness. The appetite is variable, and sometimes the animal refuses food altogether.
If the cause can be ascertained much may be done, but, where it remains obscure, treatment can only be tentative and expectant. Where dietetic errors can be distinctly traced, a complete change of food, or the system of feeding, will often result in speedy amelioration and ultimate restoration of the gastric function. A comparative rest to the stomach may be afforded by giving a light and well-selected diet, including milk, well-boiled gruel, and other things requiring little work from the affected organ. This may be supplemented by antacids in the drinking-water, and the administration of gastric sedatives, as bismuth, hydrocyanic acid, and pepsine, as an aid to digestion. When sufficient progress has been made towards convalescence, more solid foods, as crushed oats, scalded bran, and linseed, may be given, with a few roots.