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Pet Doc
Pet Doc, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7567
Experience:  Veterinarian - BVSc
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My 11yr old lab mix just started walking around doing a gag

Customer Question

My 11yr old lab mix just started walking around doing a gag vomit. I went to him and his stomach is hard
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. This sounds like it might be serious. I'll let the Veterinarian know what's going on ASAP. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the dog?
Customer: no
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 2 months ago.

Hi there,

Thanks for your question regarding your lab mix who has dry retching with a firm stomach. I am currently typing up a response and will have something for you in the next few minutes.

Thank you for your patience.

Kind Regards,

Dr E

Expert:  Pet Doc replied 2 months ago.

Hi again,

Thank you for your patience. There are a number of things that could be going on here with your Lab mix boy this evening to cause this dry retching and gaggin, and we need to consider anything from an infectious gastroenteritis, to a toxicity (hopefully there isn't anything that he could have gotten into), to intestinal worms or even a foreign body obstruction. If he appears bloated with a firm abdomen, we even have to consider bloat or a stomach twist which would be treated as an emergency. Whatever the case, you will definitely need to continue to keep a close eye on him, and if this dry retching continues, then you will need to get him seen by your local ER or after hours vet tonight. Likewise, if he seems particularly lethargic or bloated at all now, you are best to try and find a local after hours vet to check him over straight away.

For now, make sure he has plenty of fresh water available and encourage him to drink. The biggest concern right now is that he could become dehydrated. If he won't drink or can't keep water down, then you are best to get him seen by your local ER vet tonight where they can start him on some intravenous (IV) fluids. You can with hold his food until the morning now, and from then you can start him on a bland diet of cooked, boneless, skinless chicken breast and boiled white rice. Don't worry about getting him to eat tonight, but definitely encourage him to drink now and over night. If he isn't interested in drinking, then you could try making him up a fresh chicken broth. For this, just boil up some fresh chicken until cooked, scoop off the solids, allow the liquid to cool, then feed him this luke-warm broth.

Over the next few hours, please keep a close eye on his mucus membranes, capillary refill time and respiratory rate as follows:

Mucus membranes - flip his lip and look at the color of his gums. They should maintain a nice salmon pink color. Get him to the emergency Vet if they appear white or very pale pink, or if they are a dark deep red color.

Capillary Refill time - this measures blood perfusion and test this by putting your thumb on his gum to apply pressure. After you release your thumb you will see the gum blanch. Capillary refill time is the amount of time it takes (in seconds) for the gum to return to a healthy pink color from the blanched white color. If 2 seconds or less don't worry - if it is taking significantly more time, again - off to the emergency Vet.

Respiratory Rate - if he is continuously panting throughout the night, this is a sign of shock and or pain and a signal for a trip to the emergency Vet.

As he is likely quite nauseous right now, you may also want to try him with a little pepcid. The typical dose for this type of situation is 0.25mg per pound of body weight up to twice daily. You can read more about the use of Pepcid in dogs online here: http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/famotidine-pepcid

Best of luck with your boy and hopefully these symptoms settle in the next few hours. As above, if he can't keep water down, seems very lethargic, or if any of the parameters above don't seem right, then definitely play it safe and get him seen tonight. I hope all of the above makes sense? If you have more questions or if I can help in any other way, please do not hesitate to ask! If you would like to accept my answer, please press RATE OUR CONVERSATION (I am not compensated in any other way). Bonuses are always welcome. Thanks! I hope to work with you again soon!

Kind Regards,

Dr E

PS: If you have additional questions after you rate the question, you are welcome to request me for additional conversations if I am on-line or by beginning your question "Dr. E..." or "Pet-doc..." and others will leave the questions for me.

Expert:  Pet Doc replied 2 months ago.

Hopefully that message came through ok? Let me know if you have any further questions.

Dr E

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
He has been laying down in our yard with me unable to get him up to go inside or anything. He finally just got up and vomited twice. Vomit was liquid light brown and what looked like bright red blood.
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 2 months ago.

It sounds like he's quite lethargic and the fresh blood in the vomit is also a worry. If the vomiting continues and he can't keep water down, or if he becomes very lethargic and you're unable to get him to move again, then you really are best to play it safe and have him seen tonight if that's possible.

Dr E

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
When he got up and was vomiting i felt his stomach. It wasn't hard as a rock or drastically extended. He also is doing the slight rapid hard breathing anymore. Where it sounded painful. After getting up two more times to walk and vomit just mucus and saliva he is laying down. He is laying "normal" and not on his side.
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 2 months ago.

If it looks like he is improving, do continue to keep an eye on him for another hour or two. If his breathing has deteriorated, definitely get him seen by your local ER vet.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
He also randomly doing stretches like he started doing before he got up to vomit the blood. Before he initially got up to vomit he was only stretching one back leg. I just assume to help stretch and move his stomach. Now laying down he can also do a full stretch with his front legs and back leg while laying down. He also is no longer doing the slight moan cry anymore. That means a lot because his playful whines as a puppy Yogi never whines
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
He still hasn't drank any water yet
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 2 months ago.

Yes - that stretching is a sign of abdominal discomfort. Continue to offer him water and hopefully he can keep that down. If he refuses water, try him with the chicken broth as above. Good to hear his whining has settled.

All the best,

Dr E

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
When I checked his gums earlier after you first said to while he was still in bad shape, the color came back immediately. Hours before anything happened he was eating and drinking as normal. So besides possible dehydration or foreign object is there any other cause that would produce these symptoms? He is a 90+lb lab mix who will be 12 in November. He has never had any health issues including arthritis. He plays sometimes but mainly just lays in whatever room me and the kids are in.
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 2 months ago.

A toxicity (hopefully there isn't anything he could have gotten into), a primary infectious gastroenteritis, or even an internal organ or endocrine problem are all potential issues here, especially given his age. We have to consider all of these possibilities here. A full physical exam and senior canine blood test would help to rule out some of these possible causes.

Dr E

Expert:  Pet Doc replied 2 months ago.

Hi again,

I thought I would quickly check in to see how you are doing with your boy. How is he doing at the moment? Did you get a chance to follow up with your vet as yet?

It would be great to get an update when you get a chance.

Kind Regards,

Dr E