Bloody Vomit in a Dog: Susie’s Severe Stomach Upset

When your dog falls severely ill, foaming at their mouth and vomiting, it is an emergency.

It becomes even more concerning when you see blood in your dog’s vomit. Many potential causes can lead to blood in your dog’s puke, such as:

  • trauma
  • heatstroke
  • stomach ulcers
  • inflammation within the GI tract
  • infections
  • poisoning
  • clotting disorders
  • liver failure

Associated symptoms might include:

  • pain
  • lethargy
  • severe diarrhea
  • pale gums

Further information: Vomiting of Blood in Dogs (Hematemesis)

Bloody Vomit in a Dog: Susie's Severe Stomach Upset

Susie’s story

Even at her age, Susie was a tiny, adorable ball of energy. She never failed to live every day to the fullest with great enthusiasm. She showed no signs of slowing down or feeling unwell. Imagine Susie’s mom’s shock when one day Susie suddenly collapsed, foaming at her mouth. Susie was throwing up, and there was blood in her vomit. Scared for Susie’s life, her mom rushed Susie to a veterinarian.

Susie’s hospitalization

To get over the ordeal, Susie needed aggressive treatment with IV fluids and medications. Susie was hospitalized for several days.

Susie’s treatment was palliative—testing didn’t pinpoint any specific problem. Therefore, the veterinarians concluded that something upset her stomach, but it was a one-off problem with no sinister underlying cause. Some dogs are prone to digestive disturbances like that, and supportive treatment can take care of it.

Susie gets ill again

Susie did get better and was able to go home. However, a few weeks later, the problem returned. Susie became ill the same way as the first time.

This time, Susie’s blood test results showed her liver was unhappy. Abdominal x-rays revealed her liver was enlarged. The veterinarian proceeded to ultrasound imaging, and that’s when Susie’s problem became apparent—her gall bladder was inflamed. The inflammation spilled over to neighboring organs – the liver and pancreas. No wonder Susie was feeling so sick.

The gallbladder is a small organ near the liver that stores bile. Bile is made in the liver and serves two functions. It is a vehicle to remove toxic by-products of metabolism and plays a role in the digestion of fatty foods. An inflamed gallbladder is no longer able to function properly, causing all sorts of trouble. Nausea and vomiting are some of the obvious outward signs.

Susie’s treatment

The gallbladder can become inflamed for a variety of reasons, individually or in combination. Gallstones may or may not be present. Potential underlying causes include:

  • impaired bile flow due to
    • muscle dysfunction
    • poor blood supply
  • irritants in the bile
  • prior surgery or trauma
  • infections
  • parasites

Further information: Gallbladder and Bile Duct Inflammation in Dogs

The first measure Susie’s veterinarians took was a course of antibiotics along with a bland, low-fat diet. Along with that, Susie received medication to soothe the lining of her gallbladder. The treatment worked, and Susie improved.

Another setback

Susie’s problems went away, and she was feeling well. Until she wasn’t. In the middle of the night, she felt unwell, pacing around and vomiting bile. After she threw up, Susie did settle back to sleep. However, given Susie’s history, her mom was concerned and went to the veterinarian the next morning.

The veterinarian rechecked Susie’s blood, but this time, nothing in the results were off. It seemed that Susie’s medication kept serious inflammation at bay. Because the problem started rearing its ugly head, though, Susie received another course of antibiotics along with an antacid to calm her system as much as possible.

Some dogs end up having to have their gallbladder removed. But for now, medical treatment has been working for Susie. Hopefully, with careful management, she can avoid surgery.

Source story:
Susie the 10-year-old Yorkshire Terrier

Related articles:
My Dog’s Vomiting: Why Is My Dog Throwing up?
Blood in Dog Vomit: Why Is There Blood in My Dog’s Puke?

Further reading:
Vomiting of Blood in Dogs (Hematemesis)
Gallbladder and Bile Duct Inflammation in Dogs

Categories: Blood in vomitConditionsDog health advocacyGallbladder inflammationReal-life StoriesSymptomsVomiting

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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