Vomiting is the forceful ejection of stomach contents from the mouth. Acute vomiting is defined as vomiting of short duration (less than 5-7 days) whilst chronic vomiting has been present for longer. There can be many causes for vomiting and some are less serious than others. Recovery from non-serious causes, such as eating a different diet, is usually fast and requires little treatment. The presence of blood in the vomit, continued vomiting in a pet that is becoming quieter than usual or is unable to keep any food or water down will require examination and assessment. Very young animals can become dehydrated very quickly and they should be examined and treated early to prevent the dehydration from becoming severe.
If you are unsure whether your pet needs to be seen today, telephone our staff for advice. Whatever the time of day, our 24 hour emergency clinics are able to examine your pet and make recommendations for treatment. In some cases, investigation will also be recommended and this may be by means of blood and urine tests, x-rays and/or ultrasound examination of the abdomen. These can all be performed in our clinics and depending on the test results, we will either prescribe appropriate medical therapy, recommend examination and management by our internal medicine specialist or advise surgical treatment.
When vomiting is non-responsive to medical treatment or has been intermittent but chronic, the emergency veterinarian or your local general practice will recommend investigation into the underlying cause by the internal medicine specialist. Again this is likely to involve blood and urine tests, x-rays or ultrasound examination of the abdomen, endoscopy and biopsy of the stomach and intestines. In some cases, surgery will either be recommended to complete the diagnostic testing or to treat the cause of the vomiting (for example removal of a foreign object, such as a sock, from the intestines).
Treatment recommendations will be made on the basis of the test results. This may involve intravenous fluids if the patient is dehydrated, dietary changes and administration of medications (tablets or liquids to be given by mouth) or surgery.