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Vomiting and diarrhea in puppy.

Species: Dog
Breed: Australian Shepherd
Age: 3-6 months
Lady is almost 5 months now, she's a typical Aussie puppy. She lives with me, my cousin, and her littermate Kona. We don't crate them, instead we gate them in our kitchen so they can play while we're at work. They're not super destructive, but they will pull down anything off the counters they can reach. The only time they are unsupervised is when they're in our fenced backyard, and we gate them in the kitchen at night and when we're at work.
Thursday night we had the pups at their obedience class, which is exceedingly boring for Lady. I brought an assortment of treats for her in attempt to keep her more concentrated. Some of the treats she had never had before that night. Mind you, that evening before class she ate her dinner as normal.
The following morning my cousin reported to me that Lady had diarrhea in our living room, it was described to me as very watery and left a squirt trail. She said there were four bursts before she was able or get Lady outside.
I came home during lunch to find three piles of vomit in the kitchen, she had thrown up all the food she ate at breakfast. My dad picked her up and she spend the rest of the afternoon with him. During this time, he kept giving her water and she would keep vomiting. He reported that since picking her up at 2pm, she had thrown up over 10 times within about 3 hours.
When I got home from work, I made her plain rice and put a small amount of chicken broth on the rice. She was not interested, and refused to drink any water.
For most of the day she was very lethargic.
I took her to the vet at 6:30pm the same day, they didn't feel anything in her stomach and she tested negative for parvovirus. She was obviously a little dehydrated, but not seriously.
The vet was really trying to push having X-rays done, but I really don't believe that she could have ingested anything causing blockage during the course of Thursday night.
I agreed to have her hospitalized Friday night and have her on an IV so she doesn't get dehydrated, but the vet said if she's not much better by this morning they'll need to do x-rays.
Do you have any suggestions on what other tests they should do before X-rays? I just have a strong feeling that X-rays are not necessary, and will be inconclusive. I feel like she's sick from the treats or has a stomach flu, but the vet didn't mention anything along those lines.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I am sorry to hear that your puppy is going through this. It sounds like she is quite sick.

It certainly is possible that this is all due to the new treats. I know it seems a little bit extreme, but I have seen this happen before. If this is the case, then a night of IV fluids should make the world of difference and she should be better by the morning.

If she is not better, then I am more concerned. The things that I worry about the most in a situation like this are parvo virus and yes, a foreign object stuck in her intestines or stomach. The negative parvo test is a good thing. Occasionally when we get a negative test we will want to repeat it in a few days as sometimes if we test too early it can be falsely negative.

As far as a foreign object goes, even if you haven't seen anything, it is probably important to check this out. I have seen all sorts of cases where owners swore that nothing could have been eaten, but we end up doing surgery and pulling hair elastics, balls or even underwear out of the stomach. In a puppy, you don't want to wait too long. If she has eaten something and it is stuck, then every day that you wait causes her to be in more and more danger of having her intestines or stomach rupture which is much more likely to be fatal. Because of this, if she is not improving, definitely the xrays are warranted. Be warned though, the results are not always conclusive with xrays. Sometimes it can be a difficult decision determining whether there is something serious going on.

The other thing that I would be considering is to run regular bloodwork to look at her kidney and liver enzymes to make sure that she hasn't gotten into anything toxic. This seems much less likely though.

Puppies are tough cases. They are not as good at fighting dehydration as adult dogs and we must take vomiting and diarrhea very seriously. While it is possible that the IV fluids can do the trick, if they are not, then you will need to be prepared for further tests.

I hope things work out ok!

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. AskAVetQuestion.com 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.