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Dr.Fiona
Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
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My dog is throwing up bile and wont eat

Customer Question

My dog is throwing up bile and won't eat.

He is drinking water but can't keep it down.

I just tried to take him to the emergency vet in our area, but they closed 15 mins before i got there.

He is very lethargic and his eyes are very glassy.

Cant get him to a vet until 2pm tom.. Is there anything i can do for him tonight?

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.

Welcome to Just Answer!

I would like to help you and your dog with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

When did Zeus start vomiting?

What color is the vomit?

How many times has he vomited in the last 24 hours?

Fiona

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you Dr. Fiona for the reply. Zeus started vomiting early yesterday morning. The vomit is a very bright yellow, almost neon. It also has a very strong odor. I would estimate the last 24-hours he has probably gotten sick 10-times.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.
For me it is Sunday morning... but I think for you it is still Saturday night, right? So he started vomiting about 36 hours ago, or so?

Any diarrhea?

Anything in the vomitus that looks like coffee grounds, chocolate or streaks of blood?

Is Zeus on any medications?

Has he had anything high in fat to eat in the last week (burgers,cheese, pizza, etc)?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
It's been a bit over 36 hours, it's very early Sunday morning here.

No diarrhea, he is continuing to go outside to pee. But, also no bowel movement.

Nothing in the vomit as he hasn't eaten anything in that time period. It's 100% bile.

No medications

We have a grill/gridle we use to make pancakes/bacon. It has a drip pan which catches all the fat. Zeus knocked it off the counter and drank the fat. Small amounts, say a table spoon or so. That was early in the week. Say Monday or Tuesday.

Do you think this could be causing it?
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.
Hmm.... that might be contributing yes!

How much does Zeus weigh?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
He was right at 90 lbs at his last check up.

Can we give him anything to soothe his stomach until we can get him into the vet tomorrow? Thank you very much for your assistance!! I greatly appreciate it.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.

Ok!

There are a lot of different possibilities for what may be going on with Zeus to cause his on-going vomiting. The ones that I would be considering if he came to see me are:

1. One of the things that I think of first in a dog is that he may have a Gastrointestinal Foreign Body.

Dogs eat the strangest things - plastic bags, children's toys, bones, bits of towel, socks, rocks and other things. Often, these foreign bodies pass through the intestinal tract, but sometimes they do not. They may get caught in the stomach or the small intestines.

The symptoms of a GI foreign body are generally vomiting, loss of appetite, depression and dehydration. If your dog consumed an object that is caught in the stomach or small intestines, it might explain the symptoms that you are seeing. This would be particularly true if the object were something like a ball that could bob over pylorus (outflow from the stomach) and then move away again. Thus, water could pass through but not food.

In the case of an obstruction, surgery is often needed to remove the foreign object. I will include further information about GI foreign bodies:

http://www.michvet.com/library/surgery_gi_foreign_body.asp
http://www.petplace.com/dogs/gastrointestinal-foreign-body-in-dogs/page1.aspx

If I examined your boy and was concerned about a foreign body, I would probably recommend x-rays to see if a foreign object were visible. A rock would show up very well on x-rays. A plastic bag would not show up on x-rays. It does, however, show up very well if the dog is given some barium (a type of milkshake like drink) by mouth. Then a determination can be made about how best to get this out of the dog, or whether it might move through on its own.

I would be much more concerned about this if Zeus were 10 months and not 10 years. Usually, older dogs are wiser and less likely to eat non-food items.

2. It is possible your dog simply has gastroenteritis from eating something he shouldn't have. The griddle fat or twigs and leaves could be the culprit!

Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines and can be caused by a large number of things, including sudden dietary changes.

3. A bacterial infection:

Dogs can be affected by overgrowths of bacteria in the intestines. In an adult dog these might not be more than a nuisance. The 3 most common are Campylobacter, Salmonella and E.Coli.

Here is a link with more information:
http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2232

4. Pancreatitis:

THIS IS WHAT I AM MOST CONCERNED ABOUT!

This is an inflammation of the pancreas, often triggered by a high fat meal. With "acute pancreatitis" dogs are very sick, with severe vomiting, painful belly and fever.

However, with a low-grade, chronic fulminant pancreatitis it is basically a "slow burn" version of acute pancreatitis. The pancreas remains inflamed, with periods of pain and nausea, and vomiting intermittently.

I'm concerned that the griddle fat might have triggered pancreatitis. The timing is right for this as it often starts 24 to 72 hours or so after a high fat meal.

Pancreatitis is a serious medical problem and is diagnosed by having bloodwork done and possibly x-rays. Dogs with pancreatitis may need to go on a course of antibiotics to treat the chronic pancreatitis and may need a prescription food to "put out the fire" of this chronic problem. Typically the diet is ultra-low fat. At first dogs may not want to eat it because of feeling nauseated and it does not tempt her. But with medications they soon feel *much* better and keep feeling well if they stays on an appropriate food.

For more information:
http://www.judithstock.com/Speaking_of_Animals/Pancreatitis_in_Dogs/pancreatitis_in_dogs.html
http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=2&cat=1580&articleid=335
http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2214

So, with Zeus, if he is feeling unwell at the moment, there are some things you can do at home until you can get him in to the vet:

1. WITH-HOLD FOOD until it has been 24 hours since he last vomited. This gives the intestines a chance to rest and heal.

2. When he is fasting, he can have lots of clear fluids.

Wait until it has been 4 hours since he last vomited, and give small amounts of plain water to start.


So, water is fine, but if he keeps that down for 2 hours, he can then have pedialyte, Gatorade, apple juice diluted 50:50 with water, or chicken or beef broth diluted 50:50 with water. Give the fluids in small amounts frequently.

For a dog this size that means about 1 cup an hour.

3. After 24 hours without vomiting, you can start your dog back on a bland diet.

For patients that I see, I recommend a mixture of 75% cooked white rice, and 25% low fat protein. For the protein you could use extra lean ground beef, boiled with the fat scooped off, or chicken breast boiled with fat scooped off or even scrambled egg cooked without fat in the microwave. Feed small frequent meals. For a dog this size, I would suggest 2 or 3 tablespoons every 3 to 4 hours.

4. After 1-2 days on the rice mix, you would gradually change your dog back to the normal dog food.

So, on day 3, give the rice mixture, but bigger meals, spaced further apart. On day 4, mix a little tiny bit of the normal food in there, and decrease the frequency so it is down to 3 meals or so. And so on.

5. Keep your dog as quiet as possible - just out to relieve himself and back in.

6. When treating for gastroenteritis and pancreatitis, for patients that I see, I usually have them on something to block stomach acid production.

The drugs I usually reach for in dogs are either famotidine (which is Pepcid) or ranitidine (which is Zantac). You can buy them at your local pharmacy. Legally, I cannot prescribe medications for a dog that I have not seen!

Here is more about ranitidine, including dose:

http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/ranitidine-hcl-zantac/page1.aspx


Here is more about famotidine, including dose:

http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/famotidine-pepcid/page1.aspx

In a 90 lb dog that I had examined, if I used Pepcid, I would use 2 to 3 of the 10mg tablet every 8 hours for 4 days.

Then, I would drop to 2 to 3 tablets every 12 hours for 3 days.

If your dog continues to vomit, develops blood in the stool, is lethargic or shows signs of abdominal pain, please contact a veterinarian promptly.

I hope that this helps you to help Zeus!

Fiona

Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience: Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
Dr.Fiona and 5 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you Dr. Fiona for your thorough explanation!
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.
You are very welcome!

I hope that Zeus feels much better soon, poor guy!

Fiona

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