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As an emergency critical care specialist, vomiting is the #1 reason why I see dogs presenting to the animal ER. Justine has more than 18 years of experience in the veterinary industry and is a board-certified emergency critical care veterinary specialist and toxicologist as well as the CEO and founder of Vetgirl. Vomiting usually indicates irritation in the stomach and upper small intestine, while diarrhea can mean irritation anywhere along the intestinal tract. Foreign material such as bones, sticks, leaves, grass, toys or garbage contents may be seen in vomited material when dogs and cats eat indiscriminately. Diarrhea that is watery or covered with mucus typically means a problem in the colon, which is the organ responsible for absorbing excess moisture from the stool.

If gastroenteritis has been severe, long lasting, or accompanied by other signs of illness your vet may give fluids intravenously or under the skin to protect against dehydration. Intestinal obstruction can be associated with intense pain, vomiting, and straining to defecate but passing only small amounts of runny stool, often with blood.
This is one of the most common signs for the life-threatening condition, gastric dilatation volvulus (or “bloat”).
There are many possible causes for these conditions, including viruses and parasites, something very simple like having eaten something bad, or something more complicated like cancer or organ problems (such as kidney failure).
Withholding food for 24 hours to allow the gastrointestinal tract to rest may be recommended.

If you have a young puppy or kitten or a pet that already has another medical problem, ask your veterinarian if it is safe to withhold food. Your vet will also need to know whether your pet is drinking normal amounts of water, has a normal appetite, and is otherwise acting okay.

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