Saturday, November 28, 2015

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Treating Vomiting at Home, GI Foreign Objects, and more ...

GI Foreign Objects – A Big Pain in the Gut
Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

Ah, yes, foreign objects. One of the main reasons we got health insurance for JD. Often he'd come home from the farm and throw up a bunch of sticks, hay and horse poop the next morning. And he wouldn't stop there. Surgery to remove a foreign object was high on the list of health risks with him.

Jasmine generally only munched on things generally eatable, such as horse poop and a little bit of grass. Only when she was little she once swallowed a sock by accident. She didn't mean to eat it, she was hiding it in her mouth from a pestering dog. Further and further until it made its way all the way down. I didn't even know that happened, I thought she got tired of hiding it and just left it somewhere so she could play with the dog. It wasn't until she threw it up when I remembered where it came from.

Cookie is learning to discriminate but she ate her share of rocks and other non-food things. She's getting much better at it, particularly since we made it a game. She can chew and shred things as much as she likes, but has to spit out the pieces. Then she immediately gets a treat as a replacement. She likes the game.

X-ray of foreign object in the stomach.
Photo criticalcaredvm

The variety of things dogs eat or swallow is quite amazing; there is even a annual competition for the weirdest or craziest things animals ate in the past year.

Depending on the size and type of object, sometimes they just come out on their own, on one end or the other. Sometimes, though, they can cause big trouble. In ideal world, dogs would not eat things that are not meant to be eater. We can do our best managing their environment to prevent as much of that as possible. But when it does happen, find out when you should worry. Sometimes foreign objects can cause a life-threatening situation.

When Your Dog's Panting Might Mean Trouble
Dr. Karen Becker/Mercola Healthy pets

I have already written on excessive panting in the past. Recognizing and understanding your dog's symptoms is one of the most important jobs of a dog parent.

Some of the causes of excessive panting are self-explanatory but it doesn't make them any less of the problem. Such as excessive panting from overheating, which can lead to heatstroke. Obesity or breed predisposition can make a dog's life quite miserable. Just imaging struggling for every breath every day of your entire life.

Pain is quite a common, and usually underappreciated, cause of panting.

Heart or lung disease, Cushing's disease, anemia, anxiety or stress, these are all things that can lead to increased panting. None of those are good things. If your dog starts panting more than usual, without an obvious reason such as he just chased a bunny or is excited to see you, do take it seriously.

Client Handouts: Pain Management for Dogs and Cats
American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)

Speaking of pain, AAHA as published a great client handout, listing sings of pain as well as treatment suggestions.

Signs pain can range from changes in vocalizations, facial expressions, posture, activity level, daily habits and changes in behavior. Please make pain a high suspect behind any changes that you might observe in your dog.

A Guide for Using Diet to Treat Vomiting in Dogs
Dr. Jennifer Coates, petMD

Dogs are build to vomit and when it happens once or twice because the stomach is trying to purge something that didn't agree with it, it can be a perfectly normal and natural thing.

When Cookie ate a whole partridge, including most of the feathers, and then started heaving, I figured the whole thing was coming back out. I was quite surprised and amazed that she threw up only the feathers and a bit of a gut and the rest stayed in. Who would have thought that her stomach could be so smart?

Unless something really suspicious comes out, or there is the potential my dog got into something toxic, my rule of thumb is one vomit, no vomit.

If a dog starts vomiting, the main question to figure out the answer to is how sick your dog is and how much danger are they in. That depends on their age, general health and other warning signs.

If your dog is a healthy adult and seems perfectly normal otherwise, you might try to help them out yourself. Such as when Cookie threw up the partridge refuse, she didn't even need help at all. The stomach dumped what it didn't want and all was well.

In any other situation, though, or when in doubt, see or at least call your vet.

Find out when and what to do in Dr. Coates' article.

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