Vomiting and Diarrhea
Vomiting and Diarrhea should not be ignored. If these conditions are prolonged, they can lead to dehydration. Dehydration impacts heart, kidney, liver, and brain functions. Kittens and puppies are especially vulnerable, as they do not have a large volume of bodily fluids. Animals that become dehydrated will become weak and their immune systems may be compromised. Signs of dehydration can include sunken eyes and skin turgidity. Note that these signs may not be apparent until dehydration drops below 5%, at which point medical attention is needed.
This condition in dogs is also known as GDV (gastric dilatation-volvulus). Bloat, which is typically seen in large breed dogs, arises as rapid accumulation of gas in the stomach and is frequently seen a few hours after eating or drinking large amounts of water. As this happens the stomach may rotate along its axis and prevent air and food in the stomach from being evacuated by vomiting. Bloated dogs usually have obvious bulges along their midsection and may try to vomit unsuccessfully. Saliva and froth may be expelled, which has accumulated in the esophagus and not the stomach. The buildup of pressure in the stomach from the expanding gas can cause a serious decrease in blood flow to the stomach wall and major organs, including the heart. If left untreated, bloat can lead to shock and even death within a few hours.
Immediate veterinary care should be sought if you suspect your dog is bloating. Surgical intervention is almost always necessary to evacuate the gas and food in the stomach as well as to alleviate the pressure on the circulatory system. The twisted stomach must be untwisted and is often sutured to the abdominal wall in order to reduce the chance of reoccurrence. Occasionally, the passage of a stomach tube alone may relieve bloating if the distention is not accompanied by stomach twisting, but recurrence is common after this procedure. Bloating patients need intensive care with intravenous fluids and antibiotics. At times, stabilizing heart medications and cardiac monitoring may also be necessary. Remember that bloating is a life-threatening condition, which needs prompt attention.