Gastroenteritis (Vomiting and Diarrhea) in Dogs

Vomiting and diarrhea are one of the most common seen symptoms in pets. Gastroenteritis is the inflammation of the stomach and intestines which is characterized by a sudden, involuntary occurrence which has a combination of both vomiting and diarrhea lasting for up-to 2 weeks.

This results from poor eating habits and sensitivity of the digestive system. Food allergies, ingesting raw, uncooked, stale food, scavenging, infections such as bacterial, viral and fungal, reactions to known medications, imbalances, intestinal conditions, kidney and liver diseases, poisoning can also cause gastroenteritis.

In Gastroenteritis, loss of body fluids, dehydration, weakness, fever, weight loss, immunity imbalances are often seen.


Gastroenteritis can be caused by:
› Bacterial infections such as Salmonellosis
› Fungal infections such as Histoplasmosis, Aspergillosis
› Parasitic infections such as Hookworms, Giardiasis, Roundworms, Ticks
› Food allergy resulting from intestinal reactions such as human foods
› Reactions to known drugs and medications and overdoses
› Poisoning associated with known chemicals, disinfectants, pesticides, insecticides,
› Environmental causes
› Ingesting contaminated water, food
› Eating unknown plants
› Diseases such as Diabetes Mellitus, Pyometra, Pancreatitis, Peritonitis, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Cancer and tumors
› Kidney and Liver diseases
› Viral infections such as Distemper, Canine Corona Virus (CCV), Canine Parvovirus (CPV)

Clinical Signs & Symptoms

Common symptoms seen are:
› Pyrexia (Fever)
› weakness
› weight Loss
› Vomiting
› Diarrhea (Loose stools)
› Anorexia (Loss of Appetite)
› Dehydration
› Hematochezia (Blood in stool)
› Mucus in stool


Veterinarians will require a complete history of your dog which includes medical history, vaccination records, existing health concerns, current and previous medications, onset of symptoms, diet and exercise routine and any information which can help in establishing a correct diagnosis. Diagnosis is done with a combination of tests. These include routine lab examinations and special tests may be performed (depending on the underlying disease). These are:

› Physical examination
› Complete Blood Count (CBC)
› Biochemical profile
› Urinalysis
› Thyriod function tests
› ACTH stimulation test
› Abdominal Radiograph (X-rays)
› Ultrasound
› Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) test
› Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) test


Treatment depends on the underlying cause, this include:

› IV Fluids
› Fluid therapy
› Medications to stop vomiting and diarrhea
› Prescription diets
› Dietary changes (warm, moist, non chew-able food should be given. Avoid meat, uncooked food, anything chew-able)

Home Care

Treatments can range from a few days to weeks. Most pets show signs of recovery within a week. You have to administer and monitor all prescribed medicines as directed by your veterinarian. If you observe any behavioral changes or if the condition does not improve, please contact your veterinarian immediately.
› It is mandatory to provide a stress-free environment for your pet. Keep water and food bowls within reach, avoid exercise and physical activity, keep away from noise and any kind of commotion. Do not travel with pets.
› Do not allow your pet to roam freely. They like to scavenge especially from garbage bins, leftover food in kitchen.
› Dietary changes to warm, moist food. Avoid feeding meat, uncooked foods, chew-able foods.
› Medication will be given to reduce and stop vomiting and diarrhea.

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