If your pet is bright, alert and feeling great, but vomited once, they may have a mild upset stomach. However, multiple vomiting episodes, or additional symptoms like lethargy, depression, diarrhea, blood in the vomit, or loss of appetite, could be signs of a more serious problem and indicate that your pet needs to be seen by our doctor.
Most products you give to vomiting pets orally like pepto bismol, will likely only produce pink vomit. If your pet has no other symptoms (diarrhea, lack of appetite, depression) and is otherwise feeling good and you want to try something at home, take up food and water and give the stomach a rest with nothing orally for 6 - 8 hours. If the vomiting continues, your pet needs to be seen imediately. Otherwise, try clear liquids like water or pedialyte in small amounts. If vomiting returns, your pet needs to come in, otherwise, slowly increase the clear liquids and try bland food like chicken and rice or gerber strained chicken in small amounts. If the vomiting returns, your pet needs to be seen, otherwise, increase the bland food slowly and start mixing it half and half with your pet's regular food.
If your pet's vomiting persists or is accompanied by any other symptom, then it is time to get our doctors involved. Vomiting (frothy, yellow, green, brown or bloody) and diarrhea (mucoid, yellow, watery, black or bloody), or any combination of the two comprise the most common presentations for patients at our Emergency Animal Hospital. There are a wide variety of causes behind gastrointestinal upset in pets ranging from: dietary indiscretion; viral, bacterial, rickettsial, or mycotic infections; metabolic diseases of the liver, pancreas, or kidney; inflammatory bowel diseases; or foreign body ingestion. Often, narrowing down the specific cause in a particular pet requires a little detective work and a series of diagnostic tests.
Blood work can give insight into the function of the major abdominal organs. White blood cell counts may incriminate infectious diseases. Imaging, such as radiographs (x-rays), ultrasound, endoscopy or contrast series (putting radiographic dye in the system and taking serial x-rays over several hours), can sometimes help visualize presence of foreign bodies or masses. They also may help evaluate diseases of gastrointestinal motility. Fecal tests can often identify parasites and some infectious agents, both viral and bacterial.
Sometimes wading through the barrage of diagnostic tests can take time. It is often necessary to start the patient on supportive care, to help keep them from getting worse until a cause can be identified. This usually involves the use of fluids, nausea medications, and often antibiotics if there is evidence of bleeding in the system.
Fluids can be given several ways, including outpatient subcutaneous fluids. However, often the most efficient way is through an intravenous catheter (IV). This ensures fluid absorption and allows the rate to be altered to meet changing patient needs. Additionally, with an IV catheter, all the other medications can be given straight to the system, speeding onset of action over other routes of administration. This does however involve hours of hospitalization, typically 12-24.
So much information at one time could make anyone ... nauseous, hopefully this helped you chew through it all. If you need any further help with vomiting or any other pet health issue, please don't hesisitate to give our office a call.