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Vomiting and not eating.

Species: Dog
Breed: Pomeranian Chihuahua
Age: 8-11 years
Hi, I'm desperate to find out how to help my dog. 9 days ago (Monday night) she woke up in the middle of the night and vomited all of her food/treat from the night before. She vomited again the next day so I took her to her vet - he sent home sensitive dog food and said prob. just upset stomach. She didn't throw up and only ate a little for the next few days. On Saturday she threw up again and couldn't keep water down so I took her to emergency. All blood work (pancreas and general) and X-rays came back normal. Sent home with lots of meds. On Sunday night she ate a small amount of boiled chicken and drank water and threw up 4 hrs after. I couldn't get her to take or keep down any meds and by Monday she was vomiting bile like every 15 mins. Took her to emergency again and they hydrated her and gave her nausea and Pepcid shot. On tuesday I took her to her vet and they put her on Iv but they didnt want her on any nausea meds. When I brought her home she vomited 3 times (twice after water and once before). On Wednesday (yesterday) i took her in to the vet and they did barium X-rays - all fine and nausea/ Pepcid shot. She hasn't been vomiting really since (only a teaspoon once or twice) but she won't eat. I've tried everything - boiled chicken, rice, sweet potato, yogurt, ground turkey, blending ground turkey with water, baby food, etc. She tried a few bites of the turkey last night but had a hard time swallowing and would spit most of it out after she put it in her mouth. She was holding water down last night and shes still on nausea shots. So far doc thinks she had gi upset and now her espohagus is irritated. I'm sure she will be back at vet today to do Iv again. I'm thinking about asking for pain meds if he thinks her esophagus is too sore. Could that go on for over a week? She's only eaten a very small amount in over a week and I'm so worried about her. She seems so tired and stressed out (she gets bad vet aniexty and anxiety in general). I'm just not sure where to go from here and I'm just hoping we aren't missing something. Thanks.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

How frustrating for both you and Chloe! I hate cases like this where we can't figure out what is wrong. It does happen occasionally though.

Sometimes, in difficult vomiting cases like this what I recommend is actually an exploratory abdominal surgery. It may seem a little drastic, but it is often the quickest way to get the answer. If there is a foreign object there that wasn't able to be determined via the barium xrays, then surgery will find it. If there is something serious like a tumor, then surgery should find this. And, if nothing is found then biopsies can be taken of the intestines and stomach and liver and it's possible a solution can be found there.

I have had several cases where we were at our wit's end without having a diagnosis and we did surgery and although we didn't find our answer, the dog got better after surgery. That sometimes does happen. I'm not sure if it is connected to the drugs given for surgery. It happens so frequently that some vets joke that we are "changing the air in the abdomen" or "letting out the demons".

If surgery is not something that is able to be done, then another thought would be to ask your vet if perhaps a medication called sucralfate (or sulcrate) would be helpful. If there is an esophagitis (inflamed esophagus) then this medicine works really well to help to coat the esophagus and heal any inflammation.

It's not a bad idea to ask for pain meds as well. There are some pain meds such as NSAIDS like Metacam for example, that I would avoid because they can contribute to stomach upset, but something like Tramadol or buprenorphine is a possibility.

I'm so sorry you are going through this. None of us (vets included) enjoy cases like this where are treatments are not working. It does sound like your vet is doing all of the same things I would. I would keep following their advice. I really hope Chloe is feeling better soon!

Dr. Marie.

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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.

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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.