When does a vomiting pet need a doctor?
There are many reasons pets throw up. It would be beyond the scope of this short article to discuss all possible causes, so I will mention the most common ones and treatments.Some of you take your dogs hiking or running on our beautiful mountain trails, and they often find strange things to eat or chew on, such as deer bones, feces and dead rodents. These findings your dog may consider a treat are covered with bacteria and other parasites. When your dog eats them, all those bad ingredients get into his stomach. Sometimes, when you yell at your dog to drop his disgusting snack, he only swallows it faster. This is where good training may come in handy – teaching the word “drop.” Some dogs may never get sick, while others may start vomiting or have diarrhea or both. Remember that puppies tend to vacuum up anything on the ground and end up vomiting it up in the middle of the night. If you have children, there usually are a lot of toys lying around and dogs may chew them up or eat them. Swallowing toys also can cause vomiting and obstruction. Other reasons dog’s vomit are medications, toxins, viruses, parasites and bacteria.When the cause of vomiting is internal, a doctor usually has to do more tests, looking for conditions such as gastric ulcers, liver or kidney diseases, and pancreatitis, among others. Vomiting, whatever the cause, damages the lining of the stomach and increases the permeability of gastric acid. This leads to more and more acid accumulating in the stomach and further damaging the lining.Persistent vomiting may eventually cause decreased appetite, increased thirst, increased salivation, abdominal pain and lethargy. Diarrhea might also start. When diagnosing the cause, blood work might not reveal any abnormalities, but if the vomiting becomes chronic then there might be changes in blood chemistries and electrolytes. Other tests include abdominal X-rays.Most causes of acute vomiting are self-limiting and do not require treatment – the throwing up will run its course and stop. Use common sense and seek medical attention if the vomiting persists. The first step to take is to withhold food or water for about eight hours or less if the vomiting is not severe. Once the vomiting stops then offer the dog a small amount of water initially. If no vomiting occurs, then offer the dog small amounts of a highly digestible food, such as cooked rice or chicken. If vomiting continues then fluid therapy is recommended. There are anti-emetic drugs (these stop vomiting) that can be given as an injection or in oral form.Cats with medium and long hair tend to get hair balls lodged somewhere in the alimentary tract, especially when shedding excessively. These cats should be given an oral gel called laxatone once or twice weekly to help eliminate the hairballs. Don’t you wish we could tell our pets what not to eat? And don’t we wonder why our pets enjoy eating the most rotten, spoiled, smelly junk they find? Vail, Colorado