Acid reflux in dogs and cats is a common medical problem that may be due to a variety of causes. One type of reflux, termed esophagitis, is typically caused by the introduction of acid from the gastric contents of the stomach, into the esophagus. The most common treatment for reflux involves the introduction of a chemical neutralizer, such as an alkaline agent, into the esophagus. Such neutralization of the acid can be performed either by a continuous process in which an agent is introduced at a constant rate, or by an intermittent or bolus process, in which the neutralizing agent is introduced only in response to the presence of the acid. As used herein, the term “alkaline agent” refers to a chemical used for the treatment of gastric acid reflux in animals, including but not limited to, amines such as hydroxyl amines, alkali metal carbonates and hydroxides, alkali metal bicarbonates, guanidines such as aminoguanidine and guanidine carbonate.
One well-known method for treatment of esophagitis is the continuous neutralization of the gastric acid by the administration of alginates, such as sodium alginate (Pauza®, PZ Algefa, France). The sodium alginate molecule comprises repeating units of monomers which can be assimilated into the mucin layer of the esophagus. As used herein, the term “sodium alginate” or “sodium alginate” is meant to refer to a soluble form of alginic acid derived from brown algae. When introduced into the animal's stomach and/or esophagus, sodium alginate reacts with gastric acid to form a gelatinous precipitate or mass which can coat the esophagus and reduce acid exposure therein. As such, the esophagus is rendered less susceptible to irritation and/or damage by the presence of gastric acid. While sodium alginate compositions are an effective treatment for esophagitis, the need for continual administration of sodium alginate is problematic and inconvenient. For example, a subject suffering from esophagitis often is already receiving medication such as a proton pump inhibitor or H2 receptor antagonist. Additionally, continuous or even continuous-relief administration of sodium alginate may be required to maintain continuous healing of the esophagus. In this case, the constant application of sodium alginate may need to be monitored to prevent over-dosage. Thus, what is needed is an alternative to sodium alginate for treating esophagitis.
While the benefits of gastric acid inhibiting medications are widely known and recognized, the prior art is devoid of products and methods which provide convenient relief from the effects of gastric acid without the need for continuous application. Additionally, the prior art is devoid of compositions or methods which provide relief from the harmful effects of gastric acid without the need for continual administration. There is a need in the art for an effective, convenient, and convenient-to-apply alternative to sodium alginate for treating esophagitis.