Treating Chronic Vomiting in Dogs

Chronic vomiting can have a variety of causes in dogs and treatment usually depends on the cause. If your dog is vomiting frequently, pay attention to when it occurs and what type of vomitus appears. This can help your veterinarian diagnose the cause.

Causes of Chronic Vomiting

Chronic vomiting has a wide range of causes, varying from mild to severe. Perhaps the most easily treated is chronic vomiting caused by diet. If your dog is allergic to his food or has a sensitivity to it, he will probably vomit soon after meals, throwing up food that has not been completely digested. He also could have digested garbage, a decaying animal or some type of poison. If the vomiting appears suddenly, this may be the culprit.

Your dog could also have a gastrointestinal blockage or foreign object stuck somewhere in his digestive tract. This type of vomiting would also appear suddenly as the dog tries to gag up the blockage. If the blockage is caused by a tumor or defect, it could persist for long periods of time.

Many types of infections and diseases can cause vomiting. Diseases that can cause chronic vomiting include pancreatitis, kidney or liver failure, uterine infection, diabetes, Addison's disease, distemper, parvovirus or inflammatory bowel disorder. Other symptoms may also appear because of the infection, which will help the veterinarian reach the correct diagnosis.

Some types of parasites, such as roundworms, whipworms and hookworms can also cause chronic vomiting. In this case, your dog will probably also have diarrhea or other symptoms, and blood or worms may appear in the stool or vomit.

The chronic vomiting may also be caused by something more serious such as certain types of cancer or stomach ulcers. Tumors from different types of cancers may result in chronic vomiting, but other symptoms, such as lethargy, depression and lack of appetite, may also be apparent.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis and treatment of chronic vomiting often depend on the cause. If your dog is experiencing chronic vomiting, it's important for you to notice patterns or additional symptoms. Alert your veterinarian if your dog is taking any medication, as that may cause the vomiting.

Some veterinarians may ask you to save some of the vomit. If you notice fresh blood or the appearance of granules that look like coffee grounds, consult your veterinarian immediately as this could be caused by cancer, ulcers or internal bleeding.

X-rays may be required to look for foreign objects or tumors, and tests such as blood or urine tests may also be required.

Treatment will also depend on the cause of the vomiting. Often, simple anti-nausea medication or antibiotics to cure an ulcer or infection is all that is required. If the vomiting is caused by the dog's diet, a change is in order. If the vomiting is caused by parasites, those must be treated.

In more serious cases, surgery may be required to remove a tumor or foreign object. In the instance of a serious disease or cancer, your dog may require further treatment through lifelong medications, chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

If your dog is experiencing chronic vomiting, there could be many causes, so be aware of symptoms and patterns that might reveal the diagnosis.