Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Can you tell me if Keeley could have eaten anything she should not have (ie bones, toys, rocks, plants, chemicals, etc)?
Have you offered her a sip of water this morning or has she just not been keen to go to her bowl?
Are her gums pink or pale/white?
If you press on her belly does she have an tensing, discomfort, or pain?
Has she had any diarrhea?
Thank you Sally,Now as I am sure you can appreciate, just like people, dogs can have GI upset with vomiting that is caused by a range of agents. If she has been in the sea for the past few days, then it is quite possible that swallowing sea water has lead to her stomach upset (either due to the irritative of sea water on the GI itself or due to her swallowing bacteria that has now induced a gastroenteritis). Otherwise, we have to consider that we can also see these signs with general bacterial infections, viruses, parasites, toxins, foreign body ingestion, and general dietary indiscretions. (Though in your lass’s case, toxins and foreign bodies are hopefully less likely at her age. That said, if there is any chance she could have eaten something she should not have, then we'd want her checked urgently).
Now I appreciate she isn't keen to eat or drink after last night's vomiting. And it is worth noting that this is a sign (despite not having further vomiting) that she is still nauseous and has belly ache. Often nauseous animals will stop eating and drinking in the hopes that they can avoid vomiting. With this in mind, we will want to take a few steps to see if we can settle her stomach, but need to be aware that may be too nauseous for oral medications or even water, then that is often a red flag that we will at least need to get her on injectable anti-vomiting medication to settle her stomach and tackle this. Now to start, since she is still nauseous, you can consider treating her with an antacid to settle her stomach. 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 use are Pepcid (More Info/ Dose) or Zantac (More Info/Dose). These are usually given 20 minutes before offering food (to allow absorption) and of course you want to double check with your vet if your wee one has a pre-existing condition or is on any medications you haven't mentioned.
Once that has had time to absorb, you can consider temoting her on a light/easily digestible diet. If you do so, start with a small volume (a spoonful) to start. Examples would be cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, or scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk). There are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity). When you offer that spoonful, give her 30 minutes to settle. If she keeps the food down, you can give a bit more and so on. As her tummy stabilizes, you can offer more. The aim of the easily digestible diet is that it will be better tolerated and absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset. Also by feeding this in small frequent meals, it will reduce the stress on the gut. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise that the diet be continued until the GI upset is settled, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet over a week.Now you noted that she hasn't drunk since last night, but I would note that this isn't yet a stage for alarm. Especially since she hasn't been profusely vomiting through the night. That said, we do need to keep an eye on her hydration. The reason is because dehydration is what makes them feel poorly as GI upset issues progress. To check her hydration status to make sure they are not becoming dehydrated 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 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. If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, since she is older, then you do want to have her seen by the vet before this becomes an additional issue for her.
After checking, if you are concerned that she is becoming dehydrated, you can try and encourage her to drink but offering fresh water or even low-sodium chicken broth. Furthermore, you can offer rehydration solutions like Pedialyte. Pedialyte is nice (though aim for a flavorless one) because it will get some of those lost electrolytes back into her as well. Do note that you should not give this via syringe if her vomiting doesn't settle first. But since she hasn't vomited since last night, you will have the option to syringe fluids if need be. If you do, a typical maintenance rate for hydration in an animal is 48mls per kilogram of weight a day. Of course, if she were to vomit when you offered fluids via syringe, you would need to stop (since we'd not want to cause vomiting with our intervention).
Overall, GI upset of this nature can be triggered by a wide range of agents. Drinking sea water is a common cause of stomach upset in dogs but we do have the other considerations I noted as well. Therefore, we'd want to consider supportive care to settle her stomach at this stage. If you try this over the next 24 hours and don't see improvement, you find she cannot keep the above down, or she is appearing dehydrated, then we'd want to consider getting her vet involved. They will be able to assess her hydration, make sure there are no sinister lumps or bumps or things that shouldn't be in her stomach. Depending on the exam findings, the local vet can treat her with an injectable anti-vomiting medication, antibiotics, +/- appetite stimulants if need be to address this for her, settle her stomach, and get her back to eating for you.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
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