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petdrz, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7356
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience caring for dogs and cats
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My 4 yr old 98 lb Lab/Rottie mix Libby has had nausea

Customer Question

My 4 yr old 98 lb Lab/Rottie mix Libby has had nausea vomiting in August for the last 2 years. The first time or vet thought just a virus. This year he said maybe something she's allergic to in bloom this time of year; we have a large fenced yard with woods surrounding. Now it seems is every weekend only. She will eat grass, lick the carpet, excessive drool then vomit. The antiemics help but that is not solving the cause. I noticed last week once that her stool looked loose and whitish, today my son stated he thought he saw the same thing this morning. Unfortunately due to the size of the yard and leaf fall we were unable to locate the stool. Of note none of our other 3 dogs have this. I am a nurse and know in humans whitish stool can mean liver failure. I am going to call my vet again tomorrow about the 2 episodes of white stool, one last week and one this week, but would love a second opinion, up until the new addition of the white colored stool noted twice, which is a new symptom, he is aware of symptoms and is miffed as to the cause. After a a few to 24 hours she is back to normal. I am worried and afraid we may be missing something.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Meant to hit the high urgent instead of low urgency.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Btw. Her appetite is never affected.
Expert:  petdrz replied 9 months ago.

Hello. Welcome to JustAnswer. I am Dr Z. I'm reviewing your question now, and will post back with a reply ASAP.

Expert:  petdrz replied 9 months ago.

Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and Libby today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 30 years of experience and would be happy work with you, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you if you don't mind.

Has any blood work been run on Libby?

Has she had a recent stool sample checked for intestinal parasites?

Any xrays or other imaging studies like an ultrasound performed?

Thanks and I will respond further after you reply. There may be a slight delay while I formulate and type a thorough response or I may be offline, but if so, I will respond as soon as I am able.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
No recent blood work. Stool was not checked recently either as none of my other 3 have any symptoms and they are not around other dogs he felt if it was a parasite the symptoms would be more frequent and other dogs would have symptoms with "hinny" licking and sharing the same yard and living spaces. We stopped walking them and instead exercise then in our 1/3 acre yard when we found out they could get viruses just from walking where other dogs are who are sick. No x-rays as she has no tenderness to palpation and her exams are always normal. My vet has known her since she was a puppy and would recommend those normally but being as it only seems to happen every few weekends and I do mean weekends only and usually for only a few hours he felt xrays/blood work would not be helpful. The whitish stool is a new development and only seen twice so I will be calling and scheduling an appointment but was concerned today and wanted another opinion.
Expert:  petdrz replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for the prompt reply.

What is sound like you might be describing with the very intermittent GI signs could be a case of colitis, or inflammation of the large bowel. The signs can be VERY intermittent and would explain why she returns to normal and then the signs recur. The signs with this condition can vary in severity, from normal stools to mushy to very soft, all even within one day at times. Seeing mucus or blood is not unusual as well in some cases, but often there are only changes noted in the character of the stool (softer or discolored) There can be a sense of urgency to move their bowels and many of the pets will strain when having a BM, which to the owner can almost look like they are constipated. Many pets with colitis have GI discomfort and some will even vomit.

Colitis can have many causes including intestinal parasites, dietary indiscretion, food allergies or intolerances, metabolic disturbances from internal organ malfunctions, viruses, toxins, cancer or even stress. It is not accurate to assume that because none of the other dogs do not exhibit the signs, intestinal parasites may not be involved. Intestinal worms, particularly whipworms, are very commonly involved in leading to low grade inflammation in the bowel, with intermittent signs. They can be a challenge to confirm as the worms are not proficient egg layers and do not pass eggs daily, so if a fecal sample is checked on a day they are not passing eggs, it can be missed. It is for that reason, that when GI signs are present, it is very common to threat with a therapeutic deworming just so we don't miss it.

You are correct that in most cases of GI disease, bloodwork can be completely normal, but it does help to rule out other metabolic diseases that can have an effect on the GI tract, such as liver, gall bladder and pancreatic disease. Xrays may or may not be helpful, but again, rule out other possible non-GI diseases that can affect the GI tract. White stools can be caused by lack of bile pigment, so an ultrasound evaluation of the gall bladder and bile duct may be helpful to rule out possible obstruction. Being that she is a fairly young dog still, food allergy has to be on the list, and perhaps a food trial to rule that out may be a good idea.

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please reply so I can clarify for you.

My posted replies are for general education only and not meant as a diagnosis. Only after a thorough veterinary examination can a diagnosis for your pet be made and specific treatments be advised or medications be prescribed.

Dr Z

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you. I will be scheduling an appointment with my vet again tomorrow. The white stool has me so scared as we lost it 14 year old lab mix last year to liver cancer and this seems to be a new symptom. We are so worried.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The mind boggling thing is the timing only being on weekends.
Expert:  petdrz replied 9 months ago.

You are welcome. The odds of liver cancer are much less in a younger dog, so there is a good chance that it is something more common and less serious. Good luck and please keep me posted as to how things progress.

Expert:  petdrz replied 9 months ago.

If it is colitis, it can be triggered by changes in the family schedule leading to anxiety or excitement. I have even seen dogs whose symptoms only occur when they get more exercise or activity, so maybe it has to do with something to do with something she does or does not do on the weekends, that is different than on weekdays.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Sorry was unable to reply until now. Her stools are usually not a problem, just the 2 times I mentioned that they were loose and white, it is mostly the nausea and vomiting and this has been going on since August and not every weekend either but when the nausea hits is terrible for a few hours, again eating grass/licking carpet/vomiting. Is that also indicative of colitis?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I'm sorry if I am asking too many questions. Just concerned and want to have an idea of what we should bring up to her doctor tomorrow. Our pups are just as important to us as our 2 leggeded children, they are family.
Expert:  petdrz replied 9 months ago.

Colitis is inflammation of the large bowel. If there is more widespread inflammation of the GI tract, as is seen in inflammatory bowel disease, it could also lead to intermittent nausea.

Expert:  petdrz replied 9 months ago.
Hi Anna,

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