A cat or dog vomiting occasionally is pretty common, and no cause for alarm. But how do you know when it's a symptom of a serious problem? First, you need to determine if your pet is vomiting or regurgitating, as your veterinarian will need to know which it is to proceed with a diagnosis. It can be helpful to take a sample of the vomit or regurgitated food to the veterinarian for ph analysis.
VomitingWith vomiting, the stomach and upper intestine contents are ejected. Some causes may be disease of the stomach and upper intestinal tract, or diseases of other organs that cause an accumulation of toxins in the blood, which stimulate vomiting. The cat or dog will be apprehensive and will heave or retch to vomit. Vomiting can happen any time after eating, or if the pet is not eating food at all. If there is food in the vomit, it will be partially digested and have a yellow fluid (bile). If the vomit contains blood, it may be fresh, or look like coffee grounds if the blood was digested. Blood is seen with stomach ulcers, stomach cancer or uremia.
RegurgitationWith regurgitation, the contents of the esophagus are ejected (food that hasn't reached the stomach yet). This can happen if the muscle of the esophagus loses tone and dilates, so the food doesn't move through to the stomach as it should, and the dog or cat will regurgitate the food shortly after eating. The food can also be inhaled into its airways causing pneumonia and coughing. The pet will lower its head and expel the food with little effort. The food is usually undigested, and may be tubular in shape and covered in a slimy mucus. The cat or dog will often try to eat the regurgitated food.
Repeated vomiting and regurgitation can be a symptom of a serious condition, so don't take it lightly. For more information on causes and treatment for pet vomiting, CLICK HERE.