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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 16154
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Our dog is 18 weeks old and is a jack russel/border terrier

Customer Question

Our dog is 18 weeks old and is a jack russel/border terrier cross (female). The day before yesterday she ate all of her food and seemed normal but yesterday she ate none apart from a couple of dog biscuits. She slept a lot yesterday in comparison to what she normally does. She vomited in her cage over night (quite yellowy) and remains lethargic and off her food today. She is not really drinking either. As we do a lot of walking on the beach, is it possible she has eaten something she shouldn't have and what do I do now? It's Saturday and our regular vet is not open.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

As Socks is a young dog, that likely puts all sorts of things in her mouth and challenges her naïve immune system, we can see lethargy, nausea (the likely reason for her appetite decline), and vomiting for a number of reasons. The most common reasons for a dog her age to vomit are dietary indiscretion (eating something she shouldn’t have), ingestion of a foreign body (ie toys, bones, trash, etc.), toxins, viral infections (ie parvo, distemper, etc), intestinal parasitism, and a bacterial gastroenteritis. And as she is a mischievous wee soul, we do have to consider toxins and foreign bodies with her and this means that we do need to monitor her closely since these often require urgent attention.

So, if you think she could have picked up something non-edible at the beach that could be lodged in her gut or if she has any belly pain or restlessness, then I'd suggest having her seen today. Most vets here do have Saturday hours (ie my practice is open until 5pm on Saturdays) but at the very least they will have an on-call service. So, if we do need to have her seen, there will be options.

That said, if you don't think she has eaten something that could be a physical obstruction, then you can try and settle her stomach at home. First, you can try to settle her stomach by resting it by withholding food for 6-8hours since the last vomit. She should have access to water at all times, but in small amounts since over drinking can induce vomiting as well. (f she does have a reasonable amount of water and cannot keep that down, then we'd have to consider having her seen sooner so that she can be treated with anti-vomiting/sickness medication.)

If you haven’t seen further vomiting by that point, then I would advise giving her a small volume of a light/easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be boiled chicken with rice, boiled white fish and pasta scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), or cottage cheese with rice. There are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis, (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity).

You want to offer a small amount (1 tbsp) and if she keeps that down, a bit more can be offered about thirty minutes later. If no vomiting is seen, then you can increase the volume you are feeding. I usually advise that the diet be continued until the vomiting is settled, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet over a week.

If you are concerned that she is become dehydrated, then you do want to check her hydration. When checking a pet's hydration status, there are a few things we can test. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether the pet has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE. If she is already showing signs of dehydration, then we’d want to have her seen urgently since this often requires more then just home treatment to get them back on track.

If after resting her stomach, the vomiting has settled, you may be able to offer or even syringe feed her pedialyte. A typical maintenance rate for hydration in an animal is 48 milliliters per kilogram of body weight per day. This value will give you the total she needs for the day (though doesn’t take into account vomiting losses) and is a good starting point to give you an idea of her daily requirement. If she vomits when you have given pedialyte, I would discontinue this as a therapy. (since we don’t want her vomiting more because of our intervention). As well, if her vomiting hasn't settled, then syringing won't be an option without anti-vomiting medication from her vet.

To address her likely nausea, which is likely playing a role in her vomiting and her lack of appetite, you can try her with an antacid. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to recommend are Pepcid (LINK) or Zantac (LINK). This medication of course shouldn’t be given without consulting your vet if he does have any pre-existing conditions or is on any other medications. Ideally, it should be given about 30 minutes before food to ease her upset gut signs.

If you initiate these treatments and do not see improvement over the next 12-24 hours (especially as she a younger with little body reserve) or she cannot keep water down, then I would advise following up with her vet so that they can address possible causes of vomiting. The vet can have a feel of her stomach and just confirm something is not stuck. As well, they can treat her with injectable antibiotics and anti-vomiting medication to settle her stomachs and help her get back to feeling like herself.

And just as I noted above, even if your vet doesn't have normal open hours at the moment, they are legally obligated to provide after hours care. This means that if you ring the practice, they will likely have a message to direct you on how to contact their emergency service (either one of their vets doing on call or a nearby ER practice). And if you don't have a vet you can find one local to you, you can check RCVS register (LINK). or you can check here to find your local Vets Now (LINK) who are open all nights/weekends.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The response I needed from you was not quick enough as the vomiting continued and I became really worried. I did in fact phone our local vet and got through to an emergency number. I took 'Socks' straight away to the vet hospital, as advised by them, where they gave her anti-sickness medication and hooked her up to a drip. They have x-rayed and are keeping her in over night for observation. Hopefully, she will come home tomorrow.

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