Vomit and Diarrhea

What’s Behind Your Pet’s Vomiting and Diarrhea?

Most pet owners will at some point need to deal with these unpleasant conditions. Vomiting and diarrhea, which fall under the umbrella term ‘gastroenteritis,’ can strike cats, dogs, and other animals. So what’s causing these medical issues and should you take your pet to the veterinarian? City Vets in Pittsburgh is here to help.


What is Gastroenteritis?

This is a technical term for inflammation or irritation of the stomach and intestines. Vomiting is triggered by irritation in the stomach and upper intestines. Diarrhea may be triggered anywhere along the digestive tract.

What Causes Pet Vomiting and Diarrhea?

There are a variety of possible triggers, ranging from mild to serious.

  • food and environmental allergies
  • minor illnesses
  • reactions to pet medications
  • parasites in the body
  • unseen injuries
  • diabetes
  • cancer
  • kidney failure

Your veterinarian can narrow down the possibilities with a physical exam, testing, or by looking for clues in the vomitus and feces. We may take a sample or ask you to bring one. You may also be asked to describe what you’ve seen.

It’s relatively common for dogs to eat grass, which is then regurgitated when the blades irritate the stomach. Meanwhile, cats may cough up hairballs when the season changes and they begin to shed their winter coats. Other things that could trigger vomiting include bits of trash or tainted food.

What about diarrhea? You might see traces of trigger substances like grass blades here, too. However, some signs are more concerning. Feces with streaks of red or a dark, tarry substance could indicate bleeding in the stomach or intestines. Watery or mucus-streaked feces might indicate colon problems.

Does Your Pet Need Medical Care?

Not every case of vomiting or diarrhea requires an emergency trip to the vet. However, pets can’t speak to their owners about what they’re going through. Animals also experience and express pain differently than humans. This is why it’s a good idea to call your local animal hospital for advice.

Your vet will ask you about recent activities, diet changes, what symptoms your pet is showing, etc. We may decide that you need to bring the animal in for an examination, or we may suggest a ‘wait and watch’ approach. In that case, the veterinarian will tell you how to keep your animal comfortable and what warning signs to look out for in the days ahead.

Your Pittsburgh Veterinarian

If your pet has recently experienced vomiting or diarrhea and you live in the Pittsburgh area, call City Vets today at (412) 483-1700. A quick checkup and a discussion with our vet may be all that is needed to give you peace of mind. If there is a more serious medical issue with your furry friend, early detection is often essential for the best outcome for your pet.

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