What to do when your dog is vomiting

Uploaded by VetVid on 06.07.2010

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.