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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 15144
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My dog is trembling and s stomach is grumbling

Customer Question

My dog is trembling and his stomach is grumbling
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Tommy isn't feeling himself today, with an increase noise from his stomach and trembling.

These noises are the result of ingesta moving through the gastrointestinal tract and gas bubbles. In most cases they are completely normal and seem to cause the dog no distress. But in cases where the dog acts uncomfortable it is likely that the pup is experiencing some reflux or abnormal motility, or painful intestinal spasms that are more than the usual. In severe cases this can be linked to pancreatitis which is a painful inflammation of the pancreas leading to increased enzyme leakage.

Possible causes of increased noise and abdominal pain include a sudden change in diet, dietary sensitivities or allergies, or eating things that they should not like too many fatty table scraps or garbage, bones etc. Metabolic organ failure (kidney or liver disease, diabetes), Addison's disease (hypoadrenocortisim), pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease or even infiltrative cancers (less likely at his age) are other possible causes.

If these symptoms continue ideally I would recommend checking basic blood tests on him including a complete blood count, biochemistry panel and a blood test for pancreatitis called can spec PL (canine specific pancreatic lipase) which is highly specific for pancreatitis. If his electrolyte levels seem unbalanced (high potassium and low sodium) then testing for Addison's disease with a test called an ACTH response test.

If those things are normal then the next step diagnostically would be an abdominal ultrasound when he is showing symptoms and endoscopy to collect intestinal biopsies.

For now though since this is new for him has he been fed anything different or gotten into anything different that you know of?

To help with gastrointestinal upset and reflux you can give either:

1) Pepcid ac (famotidine) at a dose of one quarter of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 12 hours

OR

2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at a dose of one quarter of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 24 hours

These are acid reducers and should help him feel more comfortable. They are quite safe and can be used for a few days if needed. In some cases dogs remain on them long term if this is a repeated problem.

I would pick up all food for now and water for a couple hours to allow his stomach to settle after the acid reducers. In a couple hours when you give him water or low salt clear broths like low salt beef or chicken broth to drink but make sure it is in small amounts only. If he drinks too much too quickly that can lead to nausea and vomiting. To get some electrolytes in you can also offer him a 50:50 mix of pedialyte and water.

If he seems to feel better tomorrow morning offer a bland diet mix of 1/3 boiled, minced, white, skinless chicken or boiled, lean hamburger and 2/3 boiled, plain, white rice or pasta mixed with some low salt chicken or beef broth to make it easy to lap up and swallow as well as increase his fluid intake. Probiotics such as Fortiflora, Proviable, or Benebac can help replace appropriate bacteria. You can add those to the bland diet mix.

If he refuses the bland diet you can offer a little meat baby food. If he refuses that too then he should see his veterinarian.

But if things go well and he does eat and doesn't vomit feed him the bland diet for 2 to 3 days then slowly start to mix back in his regular food, a little more at each meal. It should take about 5 to 7 days to slowly convert him back to his regular diet.

If he continues to refuse to eat though, begins to vomit, runs a fever (more than 103F rectally), has a tense painful belly then he is not a candidate for home therapy and must see a veterinarian for an examination, diagnostics, injectable anti-nausea drugs intravenous fluids and supportive care.

If you go back to the original food and stop table food and treats and his episodes continue then you may wish to consider using a using a low irritant food, like a pet store sensitive stomach food such as those made by either Royal Canin or Science diet. If that doesn't work then a prescription diet like Hills i/d or Purina Veterinary Diets EN, or a hypoallergenic food such as Hills z/d or Purina Veterinary Diets HA. He may have a dietary allergy or a sensitive stomach.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.