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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19798
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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My dog has been throwing up. Went to the vet the next day.

Customer Question

My dog has been throwing up. Went to the vet the next day. He said my dog was tender in the abdominal area and saw trapped gas in his intestine. He said there may be something soft like cloth causing obstruction or maybe inflammation from a different cause. The next morning, he had more energy, so I thought he was improving. But then he threw up again, and now he won't eat and he's exhausted. What could this be?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What can I do right now to help him? Tomorrow should I get a 2nd set of x-rays or get an ultrasound, or is that overkill?
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 2 years ago.

Hello. I'm sorry for the long wait.

It sounds like it's probably an obstruction. If it had the look of cloth, then it may be a sock or underwear or part of a toy. Those are the more common foreign bodies that we remove from dog's intestines.

For right now, I would just have some water out in case he wants to drink. I would not try to give any food, as that may induce more vomiting and pressure on the obstructed intestine.

In the morning, they'll re-shoot x-rays. If the cloth looking thing is still in the same place in the intestine, then it's off to surgery. I don't see a need for ultrasound at this point. At surgery, we can usually just make an incision into the intestine and remove the foreign body. We then close it up and keep them for 1-2 days to monitor and keep on IV fluids. Once eating, they go home.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yesterday, the vet DID NOT see any cloth in the x-ray, just the trapped gas. Today, he was recommending a 2nd x-ray done to see if the gas had progressed or dissipated. He said the ultrasound, would be able to tell what kind of foreign body it is, if there is one. He recommended that we do the 2nd x-ray for $200 and then maybe the ultrasound for $400. From this logic, shouldn't we just go right to the ultrasound, and skip the 2nd x-ray?
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 2 years ago.

I would actually go with x-rays of ultrasound. Ultrasound is not very sensitive for picking up foreign bodies. If the x-ray pattern on the 2nd films is not much different than the 1st, then I would just go to surgery. Ultrasound is more sensitive for picking up masses in the kidneys, liver and spleen. It's also good for picking up intestinal wall thickness. I find it pretty difficult to find foreign bodies with ultrasound.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The vet didn't see a foreign body the first time he x-rayed, so would he just be seeing if the gas has moved, to determine if there is a foreign body.
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 2 years ago.

Yes, the 2nd x-ray is to see if the intestinal loops are moving or if they're getting more dilated with gas or fluid. If they're not moving and they're just getting more dilated, then that is evidence of an obstruction. Remember, an x-ray is just a snapshot picture in time. Having 2 x-rays a few hours apart tells us much more about whether or not those intestines are moving or obstructed.

Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 2 years ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about Barker. How is everything going?
Dr. Gary