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Latest health and behavior news and advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

Features March 2014 Issue

When the Vomiting Should Not Be Treated

There are some cases in which the right response to vomiting is not to administer a medication to quell the nausea and get the throwing up to cease but to get to the root cause of the problem. That is, vomiting may be a sign of an obstruction in the stomach or small intestine that needs to be addressed promptly with surgery or, at the very least, an endoscope to see if the object blocking the GI tract can be brought up through the throat. In such cases, a delay in proper diagnosis by tending to the symptom without addressing the cause can allow the patient to become more ill, and perhaps even allow the intestine to become perforated by the foreign object, which could in turn cause the intestine to leak and cause a life-threatening infection in the abdomen.

For that reason, if your dog has unremitting episodes of repeated vomiting and she does not have kidney disease or another illness that you have already been told can cause her to throw up (you may see her salivating in between bouts of wretching) you need to get her to the veterinarian’s office for an x-ray or other imaging to see if there’s anything blocking her digestive system.

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