Gastroenteritis (Vomiting and Diarrhea) in Dogs and Cats


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.

Gastroenteritis: General Info

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.

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.

cat vomiting, no blood

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.



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