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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22463
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My 13 year old choc Labrador was sick several times last night.This

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My 13 year old choc Labrador was sick several times last night.This morning she had diarrhoea is lethargic and has not passed urine.finding it hard to get her to drink any water advise would be a great help. Thank you

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Poor wee lass!

What is she bringing up in her vomit?

What does her diarrhea look like (ie color, consistency, any blood or mucus)?

Can you tell me if when she did last pass urine?

Are her gums nice and pink, not white/pale?

Any belly pain or tenseness?

Is she also refusing food?

Is there any chance she has eaten something she should not have (ie trash, toxins, plants, toys, bones, etc)?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Vomited her morning food and then just bile,refused her evening meal before the vomiting.diarrhea was very dark brown like gravy consistency.last passed urine last night. Not eaten anything unusual..gums seem paler than usual.

Thank you,

Now if she hasn't urinated since last night, then this is something to monitor but not be panicked about at this stage. We are likely seeing a decrease in production related to the loss of fluids in her vomiting, diarrhea, and refusal to drink. So, we would want to see at least some urine in the next 12-24 hours, but this is reduction is likely just a side effect and not a sinister issue on its own.

Now as I am sure you can appreciate, just like people, dogs can have GI upset causing vomiting and diarrhea due to a range of agents. These include bacteria, viruses, parasites, (worms but also protozoa like Giardia, Coccidia, Tritrichomonas), toxins, pancreatitis, cancer (ie GI lymphoma --which is a concern at her age), inflammatory disease (ie IBD), foreign bodies, organ disease (ie liver, kidney, etc) and general dietary indiscretions causes. (Though in her case and with your history, hopefully toxins and foreign bodies are less likely). It can be daunting to get to the bottom of which differential is to blame but we can take a few steps to see if we can ease her signs and at least address some of these.

First, if we are seeing vomiting and anorexia, then nausea is a prime suspect for these signs. To try and address these, y
ou can consider trying 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 (More Info/Dose) or Zantac (More Info/Dose).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. Be warned that if she cannot keep this down or tries to drink water and vomits, then those are usually signs that the nausea will require injectable anti-vomiting treatment from her vet to halt the vomiting long enough to give us a chance to treat her orally.

Once that is on board, you can then try to tempt her to eat again. To do so, you will want to try her with a small volume of a light/easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled egg (made with water not milk), or cottage cheese. 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 with her refusal to drink, 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 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 do see any of these signs of dehydration, then that would be a red flag that we'd want her seen by her vet before this gets any further out of control. This is especially the case with vomiting dogs since syringing oral fluids to keep them hydrated would be contraindicated since it would just induce more vomiting (which would be counterproductive for her).

Further to this, you can consider trying her today on a dog safe anti-diarrheals. As I am sure you appreciate, these would not be a cure if her diarrhea is being caused by an infectious agent (ie bacteria will require antibiotics, parasites or protozoa will require anti-parasitic treatment, etc). Still it can slow the diarrhea to aid the body to absorb more water/nutrients then it would have if the diarrhea were unchecked. Furthermore, these treatments will coat the GI and could just settle the GI upset. In regards ***** ***** options for your wee one, the one we most commonly use in dogs is Kaolin/Kaopectate (More Info/Dose) available from your local pharmacy (avoid Pepto Bismol if she isn't eating since the aspirin component could cause further GI upset or even stomach ulcers). Furthermore, Protexin Pro-Fiber (which is available OTC at vet practices; example) would be another option. All will slow diarrhea and the Pro-Fiber has the bonus of providing support to the delicate good bacteria of the GI. So, you can consider trying these as a short term means of trying to soothe her upset GI.

Finally, I would advise keeping an eye on her gum color. If she is slightly pale and her feces are dark brown (not black --since that would raise worries of GI bleeding and be a sign to get her seen urgently), then this may not be significant. But if we see any further paling from this, then it'd be best to have her checked urgently to just make sure there is no associated anemia or internal bleeds here.

Overall, there are a range of issues that be triggering her signs. Furthermore as a lab, we do have to appreciate that GI disease needs to be quite severe to put them off their food and water. Therefore, I would advise the above supportive care for her. But if she is paling any further, if her stools turn black, or she doesn't respond to your supportive care over the next 12-24 hours, then it'd be ideal to follow up with her vet at that stage. They can assess her hydration and make sure there are no sinister lumps, bumps, or anything that doesn't belong in her GI. Furthermore, since she is an older lass, you can have them check a blood sample to make sure this isn't being precipitated by any organ issues. Depending on the vet's findings, they will be able to advise you if there is something seriously amiss and/or be able to cover her with appropriate treatment (ie injectable anti-vomiting medication, antibiotics, +/- appetite stimulating medication) to settle her gut and clear this for her.

I hope this information is helpful.

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

All the best,

Dr. B.


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