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:
- stomach ulcers
- inflammation within the GI tract
- clotting disorders
- liver failure
Associated symptoms might include:
- severe diarrhea
- pale gums
Further information: Vomiting of Blood in Dogs (Hematemesis)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Susie the 10-year-old Yorkshire Terrier