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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22459
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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I have an 11 year old lab, who vomited this morning and

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Hi I have an 11 year old lab, who vomited this morning and has been lethargic all day not behaving normally. He has wanted to spend most of the day outside, wandering around the garden and lying in different places. Will not come in to command. Vomit was chicken still recognisable from previous day in a white spiderweb type substance. Has not eaten or drunk all day.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Is he drinking? Can he keep water down?
Are his gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?
If you press on his belly, does he have any discomfort, tenderness, or tensing?
Could he have eaten something he should not have (ie bones, toys, plants, chemicals, etc)?
Has he had any diarrhea?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No not drinking, his gums are pink and moist. No tenderness or signs of discomfort when I press his belly but he does seem to be tense with tail tucked between his legs. Not aware of home eating anything he shouldn't have but has been prone to stomach upsets in paste what is different this time is wanting to stay outside even in the rain. Loose bowel this morning but no further movements even when trying.
Thank you,
You noted he is trying, are you sure he is posturing to pass stool or trying to urinate? Is he urinating normally?
What did the loose stool look like, any mucus or blood?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Confident it was to pass stool and He has been urinating normally. First stool this morning was normal, later stool was wet but no blood or mucus. Normal for him to pass a few stools per day.
Good, I am glad that he is passing urine normally since urinary blockages are emergencies when they arise. As well, I am glad to see that he has moist gums, as that tells us that his hydration is adequate just now even though he hasn't been drinking. Though if he is straining to pass stool when he doesn't need to go, this does raise concerns of a possible
Now based on the signs we are seeing, we do have a few concerns. Specifically, we'd have to consider that this may be being triggered by a bacterial or viral gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, parasites/protozoa infections, or general dietary indiscretions. Furthermore, with the fecal straining, we do have to consider that we could have a colitis causing all of this (since inflammation of the colon can cause straining but also trigger the vomiting center in the brain). And if he is feeling rough with this, then the withdrawal behavior isn't unexpected.
With this all in mind, since he isn't vomiting profusely, we can try some home supportive care to try to settle his stomach. To start, if he hasn’t just vomited (since otherwise we’d need to rest his stomach for a few hours first), then you can consider treating him with an antacid. Common OTC pet safe options would be Zantac (More Info/Dose @ or Milk of Magnesia (0.5 tsp every 8 hours). Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before offering food to allow absorption. Of course, do double check with your vet if he has a known health issues or is on any medications you haven't mentioned. Just to note, if you give this and he cannot keep it down due to nausea that is usually a red flag that we need to bypass his mouth with injectable anti-vomiting medication from his vet.
Once that is on board, we can then start him on a light/easily digestible diet. Examples you can use are cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, cottage cheese, or scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk). There are also OTC vet diets that can be used (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity) too. The aim of these diets is that they will be better tolerated/absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset and help firm up the stool. You can even add a bit of weetabix to this as fiber can help bulk up stools as well. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise continuing this until the signs are settled, and then weaning him slowly back to his normal diet.
Since dehydration is a risk here, we need to keep an eye on his hydration. To check this and ensure he’s not becoming dehydrated, there are a few things you can test. Further to checking for gum moisture, you will want to make sure his eyes are not looking sunken and that he doesn’t have a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a good video HERE ( If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, then that would be our cue to have him seen before this becomes an additional issue for him (especially as it is often dehydration that makes them feel unwell).
Furthermore, while we'd hope he would drink for us once the antacid has taken effect, we would also want to encourage him by offering fresh water but can also flavour this with a bit of low salt chicken broth to get him to drink for us.
Overall, a wide range of agents could trigger the GI upset we are seeing but his signs tell us that both the upper and lower GI are involved and causing enough discomfort that he feels he needs to withdraw. Therefore, in his case, we’d want to start supportive care to settle his stomach. If he doesn’t respond to the above within 12-24 hours; then we'd want to get his vet involved. They can assess his hydration, rule out fever, make sure there is nothing in his stomach that shouldn't be there or any sinister viruses present. Depending on their findings, his vet can treat him with injectable anti-nausea medication, antibiotics, +/- appetite stimulants to settle his stomach, and get him back feeling like himself.
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! : )
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