Ask the Vet
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Back to results
Enter Your Information All fields are required

While efforts are made to answer all questions as quickly as possible, if an immediate answer is required or if your pet is in need of urgent or emergency care, contact your pet's veterinarian immediately.

*Please note: Questions submitted and the answers will appear on our website as a benefit to all pet owners. Please make sure not to include any personal information in the box where you enter your question.

Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Thank you! Your question has been submitted.

You will receive an answer from Dr. Dym and our vet/tech team as soon as possible, usually the same day.

All answers are provided for informational or educational purposes only, and are intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your pet's veterinarian.

It may be necessary to consult your pet's veterinarian regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your pet's symptoms or medical condition.

Close
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Oops! Your question has not been submitted.

An error has occurred, please reload the page and try again.

Close
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Got questions? Ask Dr. Dym & our Vet Team:

While efforts are made to answer all questions as quickly as possible, if an immediate answer is required or if your pet is in need of urgent or emergency care, contact your pet's veterinarian immediately.

Do these answer your question?
Showing of | See All
Have another question, or can’t find your answer?
Submit your question
We're Sorry!

There is no answer related to your question

Can’t find your answer?
Submit your question
Category Hide All Show All
Back

Vomiting Diagnosis in Dogs and Cats

Symptoms of vomiting in pets

As easy as it is to tell that your pet is vomiting, it is difficult to find out why. The symptoms of vomiting in pets include the following:

  • Retching
  • Gagging
  • Drooling
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration with skin tenting, tacky mucous membranes, sunken eyes
  • Constipation
  • Aspiration pneumonia
Diagnosing the cause of your pet's vomiting

Among the tests used to determine the cause of your pet's vomiting are X-rays, barium X-rays, toxicology testing, fluoroscopy, esophagoscopy, muscle biopsy, and food allergy testing.

X-rays

X-rays are often done first to exclude the possibility of a foreign object in the stomach, such as a sock or tennis ball.

Barium X-rays

If regular X-rays don't identify a problem, barium X-rays that coat the stomach and intestines make it possible to see fabric objects like chewed socks.

Toxicology testing

When poisoning is suspected, vomitus is sent to pathology labs for toxicology testing. Strychnine, rat poison, and lethal plants such as the Yew can be identified in vomitus.

Fluoroscopy

Fluoroscopy allows your veterinarian to watch the muscles of your pet's esophagus contract. Veterinarians can watch food pass from the mouth to the stomach. Fluoroscopy is especially useful when pets have esophageal problems or muscle problems that prevent the esophagus from contracting and passing food along to the stomach.

Esophagoscopy and endoscopy

Passing a thin, narrow tube with a magnification device inside the body is called endoscopy, and the instrument is an endoscope. If the endoscope is used to examine the esophagus, the procedure is called an esophagoscopy. If the scope continues beyond the esophagus into the stomach, the procedure is called an endoscopy. Esophagoscopy allows your veterinarian to see worms within the esophagus (spirocerca) or cancer masses. Endoscopy allows your veterinarian to see ulcers, tumors, and the stomach worm physaloptera inside the stomach.

Muscle biopsy

If your pet is regurgitating rather than vomiting, a muscle biopsy helps establish a diagnosis. Usually a sample of muscles lining the esophagus is obtained with a tiny claw attached to an endoscope. The material within the claw is sent to a pathology lab for diagnosis. Diseases such as myasthenia gravis and polymyositis are diagnosed with muscle biopsies.

Food allergy testing

When all other tests are negative, food allergies are suspected. This is called a diagnosis of exclusion. Skin tests and blood tests can be done, but are not very useful. Vomiting and symptoms caused by foods don't correlate well with skin and blood tests. Among the most common food allergies are beets, corn, food color, milk, potatoes, soy, tomatoes, wheat, and yeast. Pets can also be allergic to peanuts and shellfish, just as people are.