What to do when your dog is vomiting
March 5, 2020
Vomiting in Dogs Hello I am Dr. Mike, In this video we are going to talk about vomiting
in dogs. There are a variety of reasons and scenarios that affect how we determine why
a dog is vomiting. First, we need to consider if this is an acute problem…did it start
today or is it a chronic problem…has it been going on for weeks? Then we need to perform
a physical exam and get some history on our patient. Unfortunately dogs don’t tell us
if they got into something or what hurts. We have to do a little detective work.
Let’s consider an acute episode. Obviously your veterinarian is going to perform a physical
exam to determine how urgent or critical your pet is. During the exam he or she will likely
ask you a variety of questions. For example: when did the vomiting start? Did they vomit
food…bile… or is it just gagging or retching? Environmental changes should be considered…Are
there any toxins or chemicals in the yard? Most people don’t think about the fertilizer
recently placed on the grass or the rat poison put in the garage. Have you noticed your dog
chewing on any plants? Puppies will eats almost anything. Both indoor and outdoor plants such
as Sago palms, oleander and lilies can be very toxic. Dietary changes are another often
overlooked factor. Did you change to a new brand of food? Did you give any recent treats
or table scraps? Does your dog play with sticks, eat rocks, or chew on plastic or toys? These
are all very important questions. When a vomiting dog comes into my hospital,
some of the questions may vary based on the dog’s age, breed, and lifestyle.
For example, A 9 month old Labrador Retriever that chews everything in the yard is a high
risk to have ingested a poison or possibly swallowed an object and may be obstructed.
A different example is a 7-year-old Great Dane that is trying to vomit but nothing is
coming up. This breed is very susceptible to a problem commonly referred to as “Bloat”
where the stomach actually twist on itself and becomes distended. Both of these examples
are very different and both are considered emergencies.
After completing the physical exam, your veterinarian will determine the most appropriate testing
required. Initial diagnostic tests may include, X-rays, to look for a foreign body, an obstruction,
possible bloat, or even cancer. Blood work can be very valuable in diagnosing
conditions such as pancreatitis, liver disease, kidney failure or possibly a toxin ingested
such as antifreeze or rat poison. Additional testing such as ultrasound and endoscopy may
also be recommended. We also mentioned chronic vomiting, that which
has been going on for weeks or months. Many people don’t call their veterinarian because
it is simply a couple times the first week and their dog is otherwise acting normal.
Only after several weeks do they call. The veterinarian will perform a physical exam,
ask many of the same questions and possibly perform the same test as done in the acute
episodes. Diseases such inflammatory bowel disease, liver or kidney failure, and cancer
can all seem mild in their early stages. However, once in their advanced stages, they can be
much more difficult to cure or even treat. With respect to treatment, there are many
scenarios that will affect what your veterinarian decides to do. They may administer IV fluids
and medication for cases of pancreatitis or kidney failure. There are products such as
activated charcoal that may be given to help absorb any toxins. In cases such as a bloat
or obstruction, emergency surgery is necessary. The bottom line is simple, if your dog just
started vomiting, you need to call your veterinarian immediately for advise, don’t wait. I am Dr. Mike, I hope this information has
been helpful and thanks for watching.