Talking To Your Vet About Vomiting In Dogs

Vomiting is confusing because it’s such a common problem and a symptom of almost every serious and insignificant medical problem that a dog can have. Dogs vomit for nearly any reason under the sun (even from too much sun exposure!) and knowing when to call a vet can be quite a quandary.

Primary causes of vomiting stem from diseases of the stomach and upper intestinal tract. Secondary causes of vomiting include diseases of other organs and accumulations of toxins in the bloodstream. It’s possible for these toxins to trigger the part of the brain that induces vomiting.

Some people may confuse vomiting with regurgitation. These are two separate things that are not related. Vomiting empties the stomach and upper intestine, while regurgitation empties the esophagus. Mega-esophagus is a condition in which the esophagus dilates and loses tone, making it difficult for food to travel to the stomach.

Going to the Vet

When you go to the vet, be prepared to answer a lot of questions regarding your pet’s medical history and current problems. He will need to know what the cause of the vomiting is before he can effectively treat it.

If there is still food in the vomit, there will probably be bile as well. Such type of vomiting usually happens without a lot of effort and appears slimy and undigested. Your pet might try to eat it again, and this will not hurt him. You may take a sample of this to the vet for examination. Let your vet know how often this happens or if your dog has any other odd symptoms. If he is on any type of medication, let your vet know what it is and the dosage.

Your vet will want to know if your pet wretches and heaves when he vomits or if it just easily comes up. The color and odor are also important. If it contains red blood, the blood is fresh, and if it’s darker and look like coffee grounds, the blood has been digested. Bloody vomit is usually indicative of stomach ulcers or cancer. Many ulcers are caused by drugs or mast cell cancer.

Non-Gastric Causes of Vomiting

Pancreatitis is a common illness in dogs. It’s usually acute in onset and severe. Dogs will have a stomachache and a bad reputation for getting into the garbage or indulging on table scraps.

Pancreatitis prevails during the holiday seasons when dogs get too much junk to eat or find a turkey carcass in the garbage.

Kidney failure is another common cause of vomiting. Things like antifreeze and other poisons will cause the kidneys to become damaged. Dogs with chronic kidney failure usually have occasional vomiting that progress to severe.

Pyometra is a uterine infection that causes vomiting in female dogs that are not spayed. About two months after a cycle, she will have a discharge and become ill.

There are many more serious and minor causes of vomiting, such as:

  • Liver failure
  • Bladder obstruction
  • Ketoacidosis
  • Addison’s disease
  • Inner ear infections
  • Diet
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Parasites
  • Allergies
  • Foreign bodies stuck inside your dog
  • Diagnosing Vomiting

Talking-To-Your-Vet-About-Vomiting-In-DogsIf your dog is vomiting food when the stomach should otherwise be empty (at least 6 hours after eating), then he could have an obstruction. To diagnose the primary cause of vomiting, your vet will likely do X-rays or an ultrasound. An endoscopy will help to see what’s in the stomach and upper intestines and other structures in the area. Some objects can be removed during this process, and biopsies can be done.

If your dog only vomits at times, tests might not come back with anything abnormal. Many dogs vomit for seemingly no reason. Some dogs don’t need any treatment and some do, depending on the test results or surrounding circumstances of the dog’s medical condition.