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Our beagle Lucy has audible stomach sounds. When this

happens, she wants to eat...
Our beagle Lucy has audible stomach sounds. When this happens, she wants to eat a lot of grass. She did so again today and threw up. Now the stomach sounds continue. Any need to take her for urgent vet appointment?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Hopefully it didn't make a mess. Did Lucy eat anything unusual?
Customer: Not that I'm aware of
JA: How old is Lucy?
Customer: She's a rescue and our vet thanks she's probably 8-9 yrs old
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Lucy?
Customer: She was on Prozac, but we weaned her off and she's without it for at least 5-6 weeks now. We feed her Promal Raw Food (dehydrated) and she's been on that for 10-11 months
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Answered in 1 minute by:
3/19/2017
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,118
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Ok. Thank you

I am sorry to hear that Lucy isn't feeling herself today, with wanting to eat grass, vomiting, and increased noise from her stomach.

These noises are the result of ingesta moving through the gastrointestinal tract and gas bubbles. In most cases they are completely normal and seem to cause the dog no distress. But in cases where the dog acts uncomfortable it is likely that the pup is experiencing some reflux or abnormal motility, or painful intestinal spasms that are more than the usual. In severe cases this can be linked to pancreatitis which is a painful inflammation of the pancreas leading to increased enzyme leakage.

Likewise some dogs like the taste of grass, but also many dogs with nausea or gastroesophageal acid reflux often eat grass or foreign material to make themselves vomit. They will often swallow repeatedly and lick things trying to soothe their nausea and acid burn. If they can rid themselves of whatever is irritating their stomach that way then all is good. But when they continue to be uncomfortable then we need to stop them from eating any more grass. It becomes a vicious cycle where more grass irritates their stomach, and stomach acid refluxes and burns their esophagus, and the worse they feel, so they try to eat more grass.

Possible causes a lack of her symptoms include a change in diet, dietary sensitivities or allergies, or eating things that they should not like too many fatty table scraps or garbage, bones etc. Metabolic organ failures (kidney or liver disease), Addison's disease (hypoadrenocortisim), pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease or even infiltrative cancers are other possible causes of her symptoms.

Metabolic organ failure or infiltrative cancer seem less likely because her problem has been intermittent and her symptoms should be consistent with those disease processes.

I would be concerned most about inflammatory bowel disease, food sensitivities/allergies, pancreatitis, and Addison's disease because she is experiencing these symptoms more than once and they are intermittent.

Ideally I would recommend checking basic blood tests on her including a complete blood count, biochemistry panel and a blood test for pancreatitis called can spec PL (canine specific pancreatic lipase) which is highly specific for pancreatitis. If her electrolyte levels seem unbalanced (high potassium and low sodium) then testing for Addison's disease with a test called an ACTH response test would be advisable.

If those things are normal then the next step diagnostically would be an abdominal ultrasound when she is showing symptoms and endoscopy to collect intestinal biopsies.

Has she been fed anything different or gotten into anything different that you know of?

Did she just seem to come out of this herself with her last episode or was she prescribed medication by her veterinarian?

To help with gastrointestinal upset and reflux you can give either:

1) Pepcid ac (famotidine) at a dose of one 10mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 12 hours

OR

2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at a dose of one half of a 20mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 24 hours

These are acid reducers and should help her feel more comfortable. They are quite safe and can be used for a few days if needed. In some cases dogs remain on them long term if this is a repeated problem.

I would pick up all food for now and water for a couple hours to allow her stomach to settle after the acid reducers. In a couple hours when you give her water or low salt clear broths like low salt beef or chicken broth to drink but make sure it is in small amounts only. If she drinks too much too quickly that can lead to nausea and vomiting. To get some electrolytes in you can also offer her a 50:50 mix of pedialyte and water.

If she seems to feel better tomorrow morning offer a bland diet mix of 1/3 boiled, minced, white, skinless chicken or boiled, lean hamburger and 2/3 boiled, plain, white rice or pasta mixed with some low salt chicken or beef broth to make it easy to lap up and swallow as well as increase her fluid intake. If she refuses that you can offer a little meat baby food. Probiotics such as Fortiflora, Proviable, or Benebac can help replace appropriate bacteria. You can add those to the bland diet mix.

If things go well and she does eat and doesn't vomit feed her the bland diet for 2 to 3 days then slowly start to mix back in her regular food, a little more at each meal. It should take about 5 to 7 days to slowly convert her back to her regular diet.

If she continues to feel nauseous, begins to vomit, runs a fever (more than 103F rectally), has a tense painful belly then she is not a candidate for home therapy and must see a veterinarian for an examination, diagnostics, injectable anti-nausea drugs intravenous fluids and supportive care.

Since this has been a repeated problem for her if her blood tests come back normal consider cutting out treats and using food pieces as treats to keep dietary changes to a minimum.

If you go back to the original food and stop table food and treats and her episodes continue then you may wish to consider using a using a low irritant food, like Hills i/d or Purina Veterinary Diets EN, or a hypoallergenic food such as Hills z/d or Purina Veterinary Diets HA. She may have a dietary allergy or a sensitive stomach.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thank you. She just went outside to eat more grass and her stomach continues to gurgle. Other than that, she is acting normal

Poor girl, it sounds like her stomach is not comfortable. More grass is only likely to make her feel worse, so I would not allow her to eat any more.

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Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your pup. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****

Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,118
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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