Also called sudden onset of vomiting in dogs.

Occasionally you will find that your dog will vomit for no reason. These occasional episodes of vomiting are usually nothing to worry about. The time to worry, though, is when your dog's vomiting does not stop vomiting. This type of acute vomiting in dogs continues until the stomach is empty and the animal then begins to throw up bile (a yellowish fluid). At this point it is important to take your animal to the veterinarian's clinic to determine the cause of such acute vomiting.

Most of the time vomiting will have a simple and straightforward cause. However, sometimes it could be an indicator of a far more serious problem. Acute vomiting in dogs is a condition that can have a very wide range of causes which can make this a complicated problem to solve.

Symptoms of Acute Vomiting in Dogs

The symptoms of acute vomiting in dogs may include some or all of the following:

  • Vomiting that will not stop
  • Signs of pain and distress
  • General weakness
  • Brightly colored blood in the vomit or stool (hematemesis)
  • Dark blood in the vomit or stool (melena)

Causes of Acute Vomiting in Dogs

The following are the major causes of acute vomiting. However, this condition can have other causes which are not listed here.

  • Dietary indiscretion
  • Change in diet
  • Gobbling food/eating too fast
  • Intolerance to a particular food (i.e., be careful feeding pets food intended for humans)
  • Allergic reaction to a particular food
  • Obstructing objects
  • Acute inflammation of stomach (gastroenteritis)
  • Parasites (e.g., whipworms, roundworms, giardia)
  • Dislocation of the stomach (prone in deep-chested dogs; very critical)
  • Tumors
  • Metabolic disorders (e.g., kidney disease)
  • Liver disease
  • Heat stroke
  • Adrenal gland disease

How Is Acute Vomiting in Dogs Diagnosed

The first step of the pet owner is to gather a sample of the vomit and bring it to the veterinarian. Mucus in the vomit could be an indication of an inflamed intestine. If there is undigested food in the vomit the animal could be suffering from food poisoning, anxiety, or overeating. Bile in the vomit usually indicates a form of inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis (an inflammation of the pancreas). Bright red blood in the vomit could indicate and ulcerated stomach while brown blood could indicate an intestinal problem. Also, if there is a strong odor to the vomit this could be an indication of an intestinal obstruction.

The first thing that the veterinarian usually does is check the dog's mouth and throat for any foreign objects. Dogs that have something stuck in their throats or embedded in their mouths will vomit to try to rid themselves of the foreign object. After that the veterinarian will examine the abdomen of the animal to rule out any serious medical condition. He will also take the animal's temperature to help rule out other forms of infection that may cause vomiting.

If the veterinarian cannot find the cause at this time he will ask you to place the animal on a clear fluid diet and to collect stool samples for a couple of days. Sometimes animals will pass the underlying cause of acute vomiting in their stools and the animal should return to normal health after that.

It is also important to note that sometimes an animal will go through the acute vomiting process to clear the intestines of any toxins that may be present there. This is a normal process and not dangerous.

Treating Acute Vomiting in Dogs

Treating this condition is dependent on the underlying cause of the vomiting. Some possible treatments include:

  • Dietary changes
  • Medication to control the vomiting (e.g., cimetidine, anti-emetic)
  • Antibiotics, in the case of bacterial ulcers
  • Corticosteroids to treat inflammatory bowel disease
  • Surgery, in the case of tumor-caused vomiting
  • Special medications for treating chemotherapy induced vomiting

Living With and Managing the Condition

Animals the undergo acute vomiting need to be watched carefully. It is very important that you listen to and follow the instructions of your veterinarian. Do not try to remedy the problem with medications other than what the veterinarian prescribes. Also, do not change the food the animal eats unless your veterinarian instructed you to.

When an animal suffers from prolonged acute vomiting without any signs of improvement you will need to return the animal to the veterinarian for further examination.

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