hello , i have an 11yr old staffordshire bull terrier bitch Roxy she has been bringing up her food since yesterday. Shes not vomiting straight away ,but a few hours later. Shes been pooing ok , but this morning small part of it was black bit like a slug,then the rest normal . She seems spritely , plays with our other staffie ,and eats and drinks as normal, doesnt show any signs of illness. any idea of her problem . thank you
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
First, I do just want to make a small note about that bit of black feces you saw. I would advise not panicking about it at this stage but monitoring any further bowel movements. If you see any more black material, we would want to have a check up with the vet urgently. The reason is because black feces can be a sign of internal bleeding within the gut. So, if you see any more black feces, her vomit has brown coffee ground type material or fresh blood, or her gums start to pale, then these would raise worries about bleeding in her stomach or intestines and we'd not want to delay having her seen.
Otherwise, when dogs start low grade vomiting there can be a number of culprits. Most common of these includes bacterial infection, viruses, parasites, pancreatitis, foreign bodies, and toxins (the last 2 hopefully being less likely here at her age). In all of these cases, as long as she isn't dehydrated and keep water down, our first step is to rest her stomach if they are actively vomiting. Now usually I will ask people to rest their stomachs by withholding food but if we have any risk of a stomach ulcer present, this wouldn't be ideal. Therefore, instead or removing all access, I would suggest resting via stopping her normal diet and just giving small meals frequent meals of a light diet option. This will be easy on her stomach, hopefully allay her vomiting but also keep that stomach from being at risk.
Now when dogs her age suffer from vomiting of this nature, dehydration can come on quite quickly (and the dehydration is what makes them feel particularly poorly). Therefore, at this stage, it’d be ideal to check her hydration status. To check this and make sure she is not becoming dehydrated there are a few things we can test at home. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether she 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) They use a big dog but it makes it easier to see and the principles are exactly the same for any size dog). And if you had been seeing any signs of dehydration already, then that would be a red flag to have her seen urgently by the vet before this gets any further out of control.
Even if we can settle the vomiting by light diet, we do have to be concerned about associated nausea and that possible stomach ulcer lingering in the back of our minds. Therefore, do consider putting her on 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 (More Info/Dose) or Zantac (More Info/Dose). We tend to give these 20 minutes before offering food to give it time to be absorbed and it can be used 2-3 times daily. So this would be something to try Roxy on now.
Overall, when our dogs start vomiting there can be a range of potential causes. Therefore, if she is hydrated, not continuously vomiting, and is able to settle, then consider resting an antacid now and then try the above. If you initiate these treatments and do not see improvement over the next 12-24 hours (we don't want to let it go too long since she is an older lass), she just cannot stop vomiting, or you see more black feces then I would be prudent to take her to the vet so that they can make sure there is nothing worrisome afoot. The vets will be able to have a feel of her to make sure she has no sinister lumps or bumps or anything that shouldn't be there. As well, the vet will be able to cover her with antibiotics against bacterial gastroenteritis and anti-vomiting medication by injection to help settle her stomach and get her back on track as quick as possible.
And just to note if you do want to have her seen tonight, I wanted to mention that most veterinary practices here do have contingency plans for emergency care for their patients. This means that if you ring the practice, they will likely have a message to direct you on how to contact their emergency service. 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,
Hello Dr B , thank you very much for your reply. Since your answer ,Roxy has vomited again ,bringing up just a small amount ,with mucus. She does seem ok and shows no signs of dehydration. Her meal time is usually 5pm ,we wont feed her until early tomorrow morning, unless she goes to her bowl looking for her food,then we will give her a small amount. Just to say ,we did give her a different brand of food a few hours before she first vomited, maybe this is the cause. But on your advice we will feed her as you say and keep an eye on her drinking, and her poo . If the vomiting persists tomorrow we will contact the vet. thank you for your help ,much appreciated