Vomiting and diarrhea are the most typical signs of intestinal upset. There are numerous possible causes for these conditions, consisting of infections and parasites, something really simple like having actually consumed something bad, or something more complicated like cancer or organ problems (such as kidney failure). Ideally, treatment is targeted at the underlying issue, and can be as easy as momentarily keeping food or as complex as surgery or chemotherapy.
What Is Gastroenteritis
Loosely equated, the term gastroenteritis means an upset or irritated stomach and intestinal tracts. As in people, gastroenteritis in pets can be caused by a plethora of underlying problems varying from minor to serious and harmful.
Vomiting generally indicates irritation in the stomach and upper small intestine, while diarrhea can suggest inflammation anywhere along the digestive tract. However these are simple generalizations, obviously.
A considerable percentage of calls are for gastrointestinal issues. If your dog starts to vomit, but is still acting normal, and WANTS to eat or drink, I’m generally less concerned. As a matter of reality, though these dogs want to consume or consume, it is best not to let them. Typically, when that stomach goes through the rigors and smooth muscular contractions related to throwing up, not to mention the potential irritation to the stomach wall itself, it is primed for more throwing up.
So, anything that enters into that stomach, even something as benign as water, which will extend that stomach wall, and can quickly induce more throwing up.
Merely stated, throwing up breeds throwing up. What we recommend is to keep these dogs without food for at least 12 hours, and preferably of allowing them access to water, place a couple of ice cubes or ice chips in his/her water bowl to minimize the amount of water that can be consumed at one time. This will avoid the stomach from extending. Now, if the vomiting continues in spite of all of this, or your dog seems to be becoming more depressed or listless, begins to dry-heave frequently, or you note his/her abdominal area beginning to expand and tighten up, then it is time to call your veterinarian or a local emergency hospital.
As far as diarrhea is worried, we usually see two types– small digestive tract and large intestinal tract. Small digestive tract diarrhea is generally characterized by very loose or watery stool. These dogs are typically more depressed or lethargic and appear “sick.” In contrast, large intestinal diarrhea is frequently more soft or “mushy,” more like “cow patties,” and can even seem enclosed in mucous and even frank, or red, blood. Dogs with large intestinal tract diarrhea are, most of the time, still pleased and animated. Though this stool with blood may look frightening, it’s usually not something to worry about.
If dogs with the very watery, small intestinal tract diarrhea, are still acting all right and will eat, we suggest feeding them a very bland diet, state boiled breast meat chicken, or low-fat cottage cheese, mixed with white rice, mashed potatoes, or pasta.
This is relatively easy to absorb and will act to help bind them. Dogs with the big digestive soft/mushy stool will generally still wish to eat but must be fed bland food high in fiber. The dull chicken or cottage cheese is still suitable, however, for the carbs you want to feed high fiber, like prepared oatmeal, bran or bran flakes (no Raisin Bran, obviously), or canned pumpkin. You can even include some psyllium powder.
Again, if the symptoms continue past a couple of days, really intensify, or if your dog’s general mindset, energy, or appetite lessen, it’s time to see your vet.
Signs and Symptoms of Gastroenteritis (Vomiting and Diarrhea) in Dogs and Cats
You can inform a lot about the nature of the problem from the character of the vomiting or diarrhea. For example:
- Foreign product such as bones, sticks, leaves, grass, toys or garbage contents may be seen in vomited product when dogs and felines eat indiscriminately. Vomitus that contains dark, gritty product that appears like coffee grounds can indicate irritation or bleeding in the stomach.
- Feces that are dark or look like tar can indicate bleeding in the stomach or high up in the intestines. The blood is digested prior to it’s passed, which is why it handles such a dark color.
- Diarrhea that is watery or covered with mucus typically suggests a problem in the colon, which is the organ responsible for soaking up excess moisture from the stool.
- Streaks of red, undigested blood in feces tends to indicate a problem lower down in the digestive tract, normally the colon or anus.
Due to the fact that your animal cannot talk, your vet relies on you for crucial info, like the signs kept in mind above. Enjoy your pet’s gastrointestinal activity so you can describe the amount, frequency, and look of the vomiting or diarrhea. If possible, take a sample of the product to show your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will also have to understand whether your family pet is drinking regular quantities of water, has a regular appetite, and is otherwise acting alright. After doing a physical exam, the vet might have to run some diagnostic tests. These might include:
- Blood work to try to find organ problems like kidney disease
- Fecal testing to look for digestive tract parasites or other problems (inspecting several samples is frequently needed).
- Abdominal X-rays to look for masses, foreign bodies, or signs of obstruction.
- Abdominal ultrasound assessment to look closer at the intestines and other abdominal organs.
- Depending on the results of these tests, more particular diagnostic tests may be suggested.
Treatment for Gastroenteritis in Dogs and Cats
Cases of mild vomiting and/or diarrhea generally respond well to TLC and fundamental home care. Withholding food for 24 hours to permit the gastrointestinal tract to rest may be suggested. If you have a young puppy or kitty or a pet that already has another medical issue, ask your vet if it is safe to withhold food. If the signs fix, your family pet can then be begun on small amounts of bland, highly absorbable food, such as boiled chicken and rice, or a prescription intestinal diet. (See the entry on both vomiting and diarrhea as symptoms for additional information on how this condition is best treated.).
If parasites are the issue, medication can typically be recommended to treat the condition.
If gastroenteritis has actually been severe, long-term, or accompanied by other signs of disease your vet may give fluids intravenously or under the skin to secure against dehydration. Medications are often recommended to soothe the gastrointestinal tract and decrease the desire to vomit. In many cases, hospitalization for continued treatment and observation is advised. If the underlying issue can’t be determined, your vet may suggest helpful treatment (like fluids and medications) to help your family pet through the illness and give the body a possibility to recover.
Regrettably, not all cases of vomiting or diarrhea are simple and simple to treat. These conditions can often suggest more serious problems, such as liver or kidney failure, diabetes, inflammation of the pancreas, severe viral infection, or allergic bowel disease. Some types of cancer can also cause vomiting and diarrhea, especially if a growth pinches off the bowel and causes digestive tract obstruction or harms the structures of the stomach or intestinal tracts.
Intestinal obstruction can be related to extreme pain, vomiting, and straining to defecate however passing just small amounts of runny stool, typically with blood. This is a true emergency that needs instant surgery to eliminate the clog before the bowel ruptures or is irreparably harmed.
When in doubt, call your veterinarian if you notice vomiting or diarrhea in your family pet.