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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20631
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My 25 pound 5 year old Beagle mix was throwing up grass

Customer Question

Hi, my 25 pound 5 year old Beagle mix was throwing up grass and bile on Thursday night. We kept an eye on her and Friday she seemed fine so I gave her a small amount of her regular food for dinner. Saturday (yesterday) she started throwing up again and eating the carpet. She picked off about 6" before we caught her, no long strands as far as I can tell. I didn't feed her yesterday although she was still wanting food and water and behaving normally except for wanting to lick/eat the carpet which she has NEVER done before.
Today is Sunday and she hasn't thrown up since about noon yesterday but now she is heavily wheezing.
Does this sound like she has an obstruction? I am calling her vet first thing tomorrow morning just wondered what I need to do in the meantime.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Can you confirm that she hasn't been syringe fed the olive oil at any point?

Can you take a breathing rate for me (just count her breaths for 10 seconds + multiply by 6)?

Are her gums nice and pink (not white/pale)? Moist or sticky?

Can she keep water down?

If you press on her belly, does she have any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?

How are her stools? Regular in appearance and frequency? Any straining to go?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No syringe feeding, I just poured a teaspoon over her food. Gums and eyes look good, she doesn't throw up water and is urinating normally. I don't know about the last.couple days as she was just let outside as normal but I just walked her outside and she pooped normally with no straining and it's normal poop in color and consistency. Her breathing rate is about 30 per minute. (5 breaths in the first 10 seconds, 4 when I did it a second time)

She let's me push fairly hard on her tummy with no signs of discomfort although she does appear slightly bloated to me and is walking just a tad slower than usual. Tail is wagging and she is moving around as much as usual, but she is still wheezing. She has never wheezed in the past, even at night.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you, Raychell.

I am glad to hear that no one did force olive oil down her throat, since that can cause respiratory issues and wheezing. If that isn't an issue, then we'd have to be suspicious that she may have aspirated a bit of vomit into her airway or that her throat is just very inflamed due to the vomiting. In any case, as long as her respiratory rate is <30 bpm as you have noted and we have nice pink gums, then we'd just want to keep an eye on that as we address the other signs. Of course, any worsening and we'd be concerned about aspiration pneumonia and would need to have this addressed by her local vet (as some will need antibiotics, bronchodilators, and oxygen).

Next, I do want to note that the carpet eating is not abnormal with severe nausea in dogs. Often we see licking or actual chewing/ingestion of carpets when the dog doesn't have access to grass (which is something they eat when nauseous to try and make themselves vomit). So, if we can address the nausea and any complication from the carpet parts she already ate, this behavior should settle.

Now in regards ***** ***** could trigger her nausea, as I am sure you can appreciate, we do have a range of concerns. This includes bacterial infection, viral disease, pancreatitis, dietary indiscretion, metabolic disease, organ troubles, and toxin and/or foreign material ingestion. And I would note that because we have had some carpet fiber ingestion, we do have the risk of a possible foreign body situation secondarily to the original issue.

With all that in mind, if its been a few hours since she has vomited, then we can try some steps to keep that stomach settled and then see if we can get some food to stay down. To start, you can then address her nausea by treating her with an antacid. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the ones I tend to recommend are Pepcid (More Info/Dose), Tagamet (More Info/Dose) or Zantac (More Info/Dose). This medication of course shouldn’t be given without consulting your vet if he does have any pre-existing conditions or is on any other medications. Ideally, it should be given about 30 minutes before food to ease her upset gut signs.

Once that is on board, then I would advise giving her a small volume of a light/easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), or cottage cheese. There are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity). You want to offer a small amount (1 tbsp) to start and if she keeps that down, a bit more can be offered about thirty minutes later. If no vomiting is seen, then you can increase the volume you are feeding. And once she is more steady, you can add a fiber supplement (ie tinned pumpkin) and/or GI lubricant (ie cat hair ball treatment, lactulose or Miralax --all better options since they are not as readily digestible as olive oil is) to help keep everything moving int he GI and encourage any carpet to pass. I usually advise that the diet be continued until the vomiting is settled, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet.

Just to note, if you are concerned that she is become dehydrated, then you do want to check her hydration. When checking a pet's hydration status, there are a few things we can test. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether she has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE. If you are seeing signs of dehydration, then that would be a cue to have her seen by her vet to address this before it can make her feel even more poorly. And just to note, if we have active vomiting, syringing fluids would be contraindicated as it can cause more vomiting.

Finally, since we have that extra foreign body concern, I do just want to note the signs we need to monitor for that causing issue as well. Red flags of trouble or obstruction include restlessness, lethargy, vomiting with blood or coffee ground type material, inability to keep any food or water down, anorexia, pale gums, straining to pass feces or passage of black feces (digested blood). If you see any of these signs, then having her vet feel her belly +/- an xray would be indicated.

Overall, your lass's situation sounds to be triggered by an ongoing nausea that is leading to vomiting and grazing behavior targeting the carpet. In this case, we need to address the nausea, start a light diet, and monitor for signs of blockage, worsening of bloat (since it sounds like she is only mildly so, not dangerously so), and her breathing. If you initiate these treatments and do not see improvement over the next 12-24 hours (especially since we have her wheezing and risk of aspiration pneumonia lurking) or she shows any of those red flag signs, then I would advise following up with her vet so that they can assess her hydration, rule out fever, listen to her lungs, and check her belly for any lumps, bumps, distension, or things that shouldn’t be in there. Depending on their findings, they can treat her with injectable antibiotics, anti-vomiting medication, and supportive care for her breathing if needed to settle all her signs and help her get back to feeling like herself.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hi Raychell,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Raychell. How is everything going?