Vomiting in dogs can be an indication of several different disease syndromes. The nature, time and frequency of dog vomiting are all important in figuring out the cause. The cause of dog vomiting may be directly related to the intestinal tract or indirectly related to other organ problems. In this video, Dr. Sam discusses these issues and how they relate to vomiting in dogs.
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Vomiting in Dogs
What causes vomiting?
Vomiting is not a disease; rather, it is a symptom of many different diseases. Many cases of vomiting improve on their own without medical intervention within twenty-four hours. Less commonly, vomiting may result from a serious illness, such as cancer. Even when vomiting is caused by mild illnesses, it may lead to death or serious complications if treatment is not begun early enough to prevent severe fluid and nutrient losses.
If vomiting in dogs is associated with several of the above signs, we perform a series of tests to try and determine the exact cause. When this can be done, more specific treatment may be initiated. Diagnostic tests may include radiography (x-rays) with or without barium or contrast dye, blood tests, biopsies of the stomach and intestinal tract by endoscopic examination, and exploratory abdominal surgery. Once the diagnosis is known, treatment may include special medications, diets, or surgery.
If your dog does not appear systemically ill from the vomiting, the cause may be less serious. Some of the minor causes of vomiting include stomach or intestinal viruses, parasites, and dietary indiscretions (such as eating garbage or other offensive or irritating materials). A minimum number of tests are performed to rule out certain parasites and infections. These cases may be treated with drugs to control the motility of the intestinal tract, drugs that relieve inflammation in the intestinal tract, and, often, a special diet for a few days. This approach allows the body's healing mechanisms to correct the problem. You should expect improvement within two to four days; if this does not occur, your veterinarian will make a change in medication or perform further tests to better understand the problem. It is important to keep in touch with your veterinary clinic so that the individual situation can be managed properly.
- Sam Meisler DVM
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