Vomiting is when the contents of the stomach and upper small intestine are forcibly ejected from the body. Vomiting normally follows symptoms like nausea, retching, excessive drooling and powerful contractions of the diaphragm and the abdominal muscles. There are many possible causes of vomiting in dogs including digestive system disease, kidney failure, liver failure, nervous system disorders, pancreatitis and ingesting irritating substances or poisons. Vomiting is different from regurgitation in that regurgitation expels undigested food and liquid which may have a cylinder shape similar to the shape of the esophagus and is not an active action. The animal may have breathing difficulties and coughing when regurgitating. There may be difficulty breathing or coughing when vomiting, but they are more often present with regurgitation. Occasional or short term vomiting is not usually associated with other conditions. Coughing or long term repeated vomiting can be in conjunction with weakness, weight loss, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance. Vomiting is treated by eliminating the cause and allowing the digestive system enough time to recover.
Short term or Occasional Vomiting
If your dog has been vomiting for less than three or four days and there are no other symptoms, the veterinarian may take a detailed history, examine the animal particularly the abdomen, examine the rectum and an oral examination. The veterinarian will ask questions regarding the animal’s access to garbage or possible poison access, the diet, and if the animal eats table scraps. as well as the age, general health and any previous incidents. The examination of the rectum may provide evidence of the ingestion of table scraps or inappropriate items. If no other conditions, disorders or diseases are found, the animal may only need treatment to alleviate the vomiting. Treatment for short term vomiting includes withholding food and limiting water access for around twenty four hours. It may be necessary to administer intravenous fluids if the animal is dehydrated or suffers from heart or kidney disease. If there has been no vomiting after twenty four hours, the animal can be given small amounts of food. It is recommended to offer around a teaspoon of easily digested food. If the animal does not resume vomiting then feeding can be slowly restarted. It is important for the owner to follow any instructions given by the veterinarian exactly as too much or too little food and water can be harmful to the dog.
Long term or Severe Vomiting
Vomiting is classed as long term if it occurs more than one or two times per day and there may be blood, abdominal pains, dehydration, fever, depression, weakness or other symptoms. The animal will need a detailed examination in these cases. The veterinarian will probably take x-rays of the digestive system, blood tests and urine tests. It may also be necessary for the animal to have an endoscopy, and a biopsy of the stomach and small intestine. Treatment of long term vomiting begins by identifying and eliminating the cause. Other conditions such as dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and acid based conditions that may have developed will also need to be treated. If the animal has persistent vomiting, weakness and dehydration, the veterinarian may prescribe drugs to control these symptoms. The overall health and condition of the dog will be evaluated before any medication or treatment is prescribed.