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Vomiting Dog

Species: Dog
Breed: Golden Retriever
Age: 8-11 years
My dog isn't eating, and when she drinks water, she throws it up. Her stomach seems enlarged. Our vet isn't in until Tuesday. IS there something I can do for her?

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear that Cayenne is not feeling well. I have some questions for you that will help me answer your questions:

1. How long has she been unwell for?

2. Take a look at her gums. Do they look dark pink, pale pink or white?

3. How is her activity level? Quiet or active?

4. Is she spayed?

Thanks! I'll be waiting for your replies.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

She has been a little slower for a few days, but it was Friday before I realized that she didn't feel well. Her gums are a little bit of a combination of dark & pale. This weekend, she is very quiet. She normally follows me around the house, and is moving a lot less now. She is not spayed, but has had no contact with another dog that I know of.

Also, she has alergies, and there is a cyst-like thing by her tail. It seems difficult for her to sit down.

My daughter just got her to eat a few small chunks of bread and a dog treat(the first things all day), but she refused her food.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

OK, thanks for those answers. While I won't be able to give you an exact diagnosis online, I can tell you that I am concerned about what you are describing in Cayenne.

Here are a few possibilities:

My first concern is that she may have an infection in her uterus called pyometra. This is very serious. It usually happens about 2 months after a heat cycle (but it doesn't have to be exactly at this time.) The infection can cause the uterus to be extremely filled with pus. This could account for the large belly. If she has pyometra this is a life threatening emergency. The treatment is for her to be spayed immediately.

Some dogs with pyometra will have a yucky vaginal discharge, but not always. When dogs have a "closed" pyometra there is no discharge and the pus builds up in the abdomen. Most dogs with pyometra will be extra thirsty, but not always.

Another possible reason for a large belly in a dog is bloat. Usually though, dogs with bloat will be trying to vomit and nothing can come up. Bloat happens when the stomach fills up with air and then twists on itself. Again, it is life threatening and needs emergency treatment.

Another possible reason for a large abdomen is if she is bleeding into her abdomen. This could happen if she had a tumor on her spleen. If this is the case, then most dogs will have pale gums.

Another possibility is pancreatitis. Dogs sometimes get pancreatitis from eating fatty food, but sometimes we don't know why they get it. It shouldn't cause a big belly though (but then you said you weren't certain if the belly was big). It is a serious condition and needs to be treated with intravenous fluids given by your vet.

We do sometimes see dogs who can get mild vomiting just because they have eaten something that disagrees with them. But, this really shouldn't make her this quiet and she really shouldn't be vomiting when she drinks water. And, it definitely wouldn't cause a big belly.

Unfortunately it really sounds like Cayenne needs to see an emergency vet as soon as possible. Hopefully there is one nearby! In the meantime you can try giving her some unsweetened pedialyte (you can buy this at the pharmacy) which may help with any dehydration). But really she does need to see a vet.

I hope she is ok!

Dr. Marie

Customer reply:

Hi Dr. Marie,
I rushed Cayenne into an animal hospital for emergency surgery right after reading your response. You were right; it was pyrometra. My having the information before going to the vet was very helpful. Plus, I would have waited until Tuesday without your advice. The vet said that it was a good thing we caught it early because she probably wouldn't have made it another day. Surgery went well, but she's staying there for a couple of days. Thank you!! I wouldn't want to loose her.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Wow! I'm so glad you were able to take her in! Let's hope for a full recovery!

Thank you for the nice feedback you sent. I was wondering if I could publish it along with a photo of you and Cayenne (if you have one). If you are able to send me a photo you can send it to

I hope she has a speedy recovery!

Dr. Marie.

Customer reply:

I'm happy to give my permission for you to publish my feedback and a picture, of Cayenne, that I've just emailed to you. She's recovering well and almost back to herself again. Thank you so much for your help!

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks so much! And I'm really glad to hear that Cayenne is better!

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.