By Dr. R.Selvakkumar., Ph.D

Forceful ejection of the stomach and small Intestinal content (Upper part of the small intestine) is called vomiting and colloquially as throwing up. The vomiting may be due to any gastrointestinal disorders, failure or dysfunction of any vital organs like kidney or liver, nervous dysfunction or may be due to accidental ingestion of toxic or irritating substances. In some circumstances, confusion may arise in differentiating the regurgitation and vomiting and thus, will affect the diagnosis and treatment process. Hence, we must differentiate the vomiting and regurgitation before going for further diagnosis and analysis.

Signs such as nausea, excessive salivation, retching, and forceful contraction of the abdomen are noticed after vomiting. But regurgitation is a passive motion and it does not require effort or contraction of the abdominal muscles to expel the content.

Further, the regurgitated content is undigested. On the contrary, the vomiting contents may be partially digested and have a sour smell.

Regurgitation may be followed by eating too much food or eating the food too fast or due to some irritating sensation in the food pipe.

Factors behind the vomiting may be from simple indigestion to some life-threatening illness. Hence, proper diagnosis and opt-in treatment is a must to save our pet. Vomiting in apparently active and healthy dogs, one or two times a day or a couple of days may be normal. But if your pet is vomiting with the below-mentioned symptoms, it is time to call your vet.

  • Frequent vomiting
  • Chronic vomiting
  • Vomiting a lot at one time
  • Vomiting with fever, weight loss, lethargy, anaemia, and weakness.
  • Blood mixed vomiting
  • Vomiting symptoms without the ejection of content
  • Severe vomiting with bloody diarrhoea

Based on the frequency, symptoms and severity, vomiting can be broadly divided into two categories:

  • Chronic/ longtime vomiting
  • Acute/ Short time vomiting

Chronic/ longtime vomiting

Symptoms like prolonged time of vomiting, daily vomiting one or two times, vomit content accompanied by blood and mucus, colic symptoms, depression, pronounced weakness, pyrexia, and weight loss are noticed in the chronic type of vomiting. When compared to acute or short-term vomiting, chronic vomiting is a serious one and needs immediate and detailed diagnosis and treatment. Identifying and eliminating the root cause will be helpful in the recovery of the dog from chronic vomiting.

In the below listed conditions, dogs may be affected by frequent or chronic vomiting:

  • Intestinal obstruction by a foreign body or worm overload
  • Cancer in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Parvoviral infection
  • Colitis
  • Megacolon
  • Constipation/ Obstipation
  • Renal and hepatic dysfunction
  • Systemic disease
  • Intestinal inflammation
  •  Inflammation of pancreas
  • Uterine infection

      Acute/ Short time vomiting

      Vomiting a few times per day in a healthy dog, lasting for 1 or 2 days is considered as acute or short-term vomiting. The line of treatment may include a physical examination of the oral cavity, enquiry about the suspicious intake of anything or a sudden change of food regimen will be helpful in finding a way to treat the animal. In severe cases, blood, urine, and faecal tests may also be appropriate. If nothing is found serious, symptomatic treatment is enough to save the pets. Withholding food and water for a short period (24 hrs) is helpful to most of the affected animals to recover from the vomiting nuisance. But at the same time, the animal must be rehydrated parentally. When the vomiting symptoms subside, go for a light and easily digestible diet.

             Acute vomiting may be noticed in one or a few of the below-listed situations:

      •  Ingestion of substances which irritate the gastrointestinal tract.  
      • Ingestion of Toxic or contaminated ingredients
      • Inflammation of pancreas
      • Renal failure
      • Hepatic dysfunction failure
      • Sudden change in food regimen
      • Parasitic burden
      • Viral or bacterial infection
      • Drug reaction

       Treatment and care of vomiting animals

      • Vet will start the line of treatment only after ruling out the cause and until then he will start the symptomatic treatment for the affected animals.
      • Use of antiemetic drugs, parenteral rehydration, probiotic supplementation, and oral administration of electrolytes are used as a symptomatic treatment in vomiting animals. Once the primary cause is ruled out, then go for specific treatment.
      • Fasting animals for a while (24 hrs) will provide rest to the GI tract and can be helpful in the recovery.
      • If vomiting symptoms subsided, then start the diet which has soothing properties on the stomach and intestine. Avoid spicy food for the affected dog.
      • Use of a carminative mixture is also helpful in some situations since ittreats heartburn, acidity or indigestion, and stomach ulcers. They work by neutralizing excessive acid in the stomach. 
      • If the vomit is green in colour, it may be due to the ingesting grass. The garden should be maintained without grasses or the grass field by proper trimming.    
      • Chocolate toxicity in dogs can also show the symptoms of vomiting. Chocolate is toxic for dogs since it contains both caffeine and theobromine that cannot be metabolized by the dogs.
      • Gradual change of food regimen is a must to avoid food-related vomiting.Sudden dietary change is the common cause of intestinal upset in dogs. Ascertain the quality of food given to the dog to avoid the provision of spoiled and allergic foods.
      • Periodical faecal examination and proper de-worming should be done to avoid worm load-related vomiting problems.
      • Provide enough potable water for your pet to avoid drinking of contaminated or polluted water.
      • Avoid giving toys that can be swallowed or chewed into pieces, thus causing GI irritation or obstruction.
      • Puppies are at an increased risk of contracting serious diseases like parvo viral diarrhoeaand in which vomiting and diarrhoea are the predominant signs. Hence vaccinating the female dog and pup at the proper time is a must to avoid this deadly illness.
      • Don’t feed the table scraps to the pets, since some of them are unsafe for dogs and create vomiting.
      • Care must be taken to prevent accidental ingestion of any objectionable things while bringing your dog for outdoor walking.

      Thus, by following the above-listed stuff, our pets can easily get rid of the vomiting problems. 

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