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Dr. Elaine
Dr. Elaine, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1388
Experience:  B.S.; D.V.M.; Small animal emergency and general medicine for 26 years
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My GSD had surgery two weeks ago intestinal obstruction.

Customer Question

My GSD had surgery two weeks ago for an intestinal obstruction. They removed 18" of her intestines. She seemed to bounce back fine, but has been regurgitating every so often. Yesterday I noticed she got into the laundry and ate some of a bath towel. She threw up part of it overnight, ate her bland diet this morning, and is drinking. Should I be concerned about the rest of the towel and the continued regurgitating?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Elaine replied 2 years ago.
HI there, this is Dr. Elaine
Any time a patient has a portion of the intestines removed, digestion and absorption changes. 18 inches is a significant amount of bowel, although depending upon where it was taken from, she may experience no after effects whatsoever. Your veterinarian can best address that.
As far as the regurgitation itself, if it is occurring daily this is obviously a concern. Not daily, not so much. However, it sounds like she has a real propensity for eating/chewing things that can cause her problems. Although obstruction does not have to be occurring to cause regurgitation/vomiting, just the act of taking in something she shouldn't can cause the body to essentially say "no way" and reject it--i.e. vomit it back up.
Regurgitation is very different from vomiting, although people often use the terms interchangeably. Regurgitation indicates the expelling of gastric (stomach) and/or esophageal (food tube from the mouth to stomach) contents with little warning, nausea, and wretching. It is quick and seemingly without warning. Often, true regurgitation can point to a problem within the esophagus itself. "Megaesophagus" is one such condition, not uncommon in large breed dogs, but uncommon to suddenly show symptoms in a dog over 1 year of age, since it is usually a congenital problem unless caused later in life by scarring of the esophagus. See the following:
Vomiting, as defined and as we as veterinarians recognize it, is the expelling of stomach (and sometimes upper small intestinal) contents. It is associated with wretching (heaving) and often prodromal signs--these include nausea, salivation. Vomiting is often seen when something has been eaten that is either indigestible or new to the individual, too rich, toxic, etc. Again, the body says "no no" and attempts to rid itself of the offending substance/item. Obstruction certainly can cause vomiting, although it becomes repeated, as the offending item is not moving through the digestive tract, so fluid/food accumulates above it and is expelled.
Her attitude is a big factor in how concerned you should be from an emergent sense. If she is willing to eat, drink, and is not depressed, then this is less concerning. If the vomiting is inconsistent (i.e. every couple days) then again, less worrisome from and emergent standpoint.
Either way, she should be re-evaluated. Soon if she is vomiting more than 2-3 times today or cannot go 24 hours without vomiting. There are medications that can be given (as long as she is not again obstructed) that can ease nausea, and improve the way her stomach empties, to make it (regurgitation/vomiting) less likely to occur. See the following for at home treatment of mild vomiting:
Hope this helps.
Dr. Elaine
Expert:  Dr. Elaine replied 2 years ago.
Hi there again,
If you have further questions attached to this one (there is no further charge) I will be able to answer after I return home at 3pm PST.
Dr. Elaine
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Well it looks like she just puked up the towel, or 97% of it at least. Her heads up and she seems to be doing ok.
Expert:  Dr. Elaine replied 2 years ago.
Oh my. Sounds like my own dog. Keep a close eye on her and remember anything further or lasting beyond 24 hour could warrant a visit to your veterinarian prior to Monday.
Dr. Elaine
Expert:  Dr. Elaine replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jason,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Penny. How is everything going?
Dr. Elaine