Pet First Aid for Pet Professionals Level 3 (VTQ)

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Different Types and Causes of Vomiting

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Vomiting in Animals: Understanding the Causes


When animals vomit, it can signal a range of underlying issues, from mild food poisoning to potentially life-threatening conditions like Pancreatitis. Deciphering the severity of vomiting is crucial, determining whether a vet's expertise is required or if it's manageable at home.

Common Causes of Vomiting

  • Infections
  • Dietary Changes
  • Consumption of Outdated or Spoiled Food
  • Parasitic Infections (e.g., Worms)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Excessive Exercise or Excitement
  • Gastric Issues (e.g., Twisted, Swollen, or Flipped Stomach)
  • Food Allergies or Intolerances
  • Ingesting Non-Digestible Items (e.g., Toys)
  • Kidney Problems
  • Liver Problems
  • Gastritis
  • Eating Too Quickly

Assessing Vomiting Severity

Key Indicators

  • Elevated Temperature: A temperature check is essential. A dog's average temperature ranges from 38 to 39.1 degrees Celsius. Elevated body heat may warrant a vet visit.
  • Examining Vomit: Different types of vomit can indicate various issues.
    • Yellow Vomit: May result from ingesting disagreeable substances.
    • Mucus in Vomit: Suggests potential inflammation or ulceration.
    • Blood or Dark Patches in Vomit: Signifies stomach damage and requires veterinary attention.
  • Documentation: Capture photos of the vomit with your phone and collect a sample for vet analysis.
  • Behavioural Changes: Note any alterations in appetite, gum colour, vocalization, temperament, and the timing of vomiting concerning meals, exercise, or walks.

Veterinary Assessment and Treatment

Consulting the Vet

If you suspect a severe issue, it's advisable to consult your vet. They may employ various diagnostic methods to determine the cause, and sometimes, the cause remains unknown.

Recommended treatments may include:

  • Dietary Modifications: Transitioning to bland foods like cooked chicken and rice.
  • Medications: Antibiotics for bacterial infections or anti-nausea drugs, often administered by injection to prevent re-vomiting.
  • Fluid Management: Addressing dehydration, potentially through intravenous drip therapy.
  • Allergy Management: Adjusting the diet under professional guidance.

Potential Complications

Risks of Persistent Vomiting

Continual vomiting can lead to serious complications, such as aspiration pneumonia (vomit inhalation into the lungs) and metabolic acidosis, underscoring the importance of prompt veterinary attention.