Abdominal Pain & Vomiting in Dogs: What Would You Do If It Was Your Dog? Mort’s Story

How much should you worry when your dog starts vomiting? If your dog vomits once and acts like nothing is going on, it’s likely not a concern. Vomiting repeatedly with signs of abdominal pain, however, is a different story.

Dog Conditions: Abdominal Pain & Vomiting in Dogs: What Would You Do If It Was Your Dog? Mort's Story.

Mort is an Australian Kelpie and he was 3-years-old at the time. Mort is an agile, high-energy dog who loves any challenging activity.–always full speed. Is there a fence to jump over? Is it too high? Not for Mort.

Mort never holds back no matter what he does which also makes him an aggressive chewer.

His transgressions include socks, blankets, cardboard–anything his parents forget to put away. Even the most diligent parent cannot watch their dog all the time. Mort, getting himself in trouble by eating something that could hurt him was an ongoing concern. Hence, you would expect a dog like that to vomit some of these things back up often enough.

Yet, when Mort threw up this time, there was something unusual about it.

Mort vomited where he never does and his posture indicated he had a stomachache.

Mort’s mom did what I often do to evaluate how concerned I should be about my dog–go for a quick walk. It can be an unorthodox but useful diagnostic tool. Should my dog refuse a walk, I know it’s an emergency. Outside, it is also easier to observe how unwell my dog is.

Mort threw up again but otherwise, he was eager to enjoy the walk.

Mort’s vomit contained mostly bits of bark that he managed to swallow on his evening walk. That seemed to explain his stomach upset and put his parents on heightened alert. While it didn’t seem to be an emergency at this time, it could quickly turn into one.

Later that night, Mort puked again.

This time, though, he looked unwell. He stood hunched over, clearly in pain. It was time for an emergency vet visit.

Physical examination and x-rays revealed an abdominal upset and gas, and couple bone fragments in Mort’s belly. Because Mort was on a raw diet, pieces of bone in his system wouldn’t be a surprising finding. Eating bones has never caused any problems before.

The veterinarian prescribed pain medication, antacid and hydration.

Mort slept through the rest of the night without further vomiting but when he woke up, he was still unwell. He didn’t even go down the stairs to go potty.

Mort was in a lot of pain.

He still wanted to go for his morning walk but had great difficulty. Before 10 AM, Mort was back at the veterinary hospital.

What do you think was wrong with Mort? What would you do if it was your dog?

Learn what was wrong with Mort here.

Related articles:
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Vomiting
What’s in the Vomit?
Why Examine Your Dog’s Vomit

Further reading:
Vomiting in Dogs

Categories: ConditionsDiagnosesDog health advocacyObstructionsReal-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.

16 Comments
  1. I never knew about taking a dog for a walk to see if there were problems to be concerned about, but it makes sense. I tend to take the girls to the vet if they vomit more than once during the day. I guess I’m an overly concerned cat parent.

    • Well, what it does is that it shows you how poorly the dog really feels.When Cookie threw up a pile of rocks but was normal otherwise, bouncy and active, I could believe she got rid of them and the chance everything was going to be fine was good.

      When she had pancreatitis, she still wanted to go out but really couldn’t–too much pain.

  2. I had to check out the rest of Mort’s story! I’m glad he’s okay now, although it is sad that he is at greater risk for future issues.

    • I do hope people check the rest of the story 🙂 These posts are meant as exercise with answers provided in the linked post.

  3. Oh dear, I sure hope Mort is better! Sometimes they can get an obstruction from something they chewed on…My Huskies will occasionally vomit (always in a corner) as they are quite the chewers, but one time one of my Huskies had a bad bellyache and was acted very differently, and that was concerning. She is our notorious resident foodie freak and gulper…the vet took Xrays and at first thought she had swallowed something “lacey”…which had us all stumped! Upon further testing, it was undigested food she had gulped that settled in the bottom of her belly! And it really did show up looking like a chunk of lacey fabric on the Xray! While very happy and relieved it was not an obstruction, we did add a portion control ball to slow down her gulping!

  4. Marjorie Dawson

    Sometimes I read your posts and wince. There is so much that can go wrong for a dog parent and its frightening to read!

    I read something in a cat health book that said. Keep an eye on things. Don’t panic and rush to the vet every five minutes. You will KNOW when something is wrong when it is, other times minor things come and go. Be aware.

    • Well, unfortunately expecting people to know when they should rush to a vet is overly optimistic, trust me. So I’d rather have them running to a vet every five minutes.

  5. Poor Mort! It sounds like he had gotten himself into some trouble. I have a cat that has to put everything in his mouth too. I’m always taking things away from him in the hopes that he doesn’t end up with abdominal difficulties. I hope that Mort is feeling better!

  6. Wow, what a great story. I had to read the other blog to find out what happened to Mort. What a nightmare – a bone puncturing the small intestines. I have heard that repeated vomiting is bad, but fortunately I have not had too many instances of this with my dogs. Usually my dog’s problems are at the other end with diarrhea. I’m lucky that Buffy hasn’t had too many digestive problems.

  7. My niece’s dog frequently gets an upset stomach. Luckily, it’s never anything serious and resolves on its own. He did go to the vet once or twice, and the vet gave good advice on what to look for and when a visit is necessary. With my cats I get the frequent hairball, but that’s generally it.

  8. Layla very seldom vomits so when she does I monitor her double carefully and my way of testing if she is really sick is by giving her a little treat – if she eats it and it stays down I relax if she does not then I email my vet to discuss what should be done. Till now we have been very lucky, Phew

  9. Poor Mort! With vomiting, or other sometimes considered to be minor symptoms, I always look out for additional symptoms such as signs of pain, behavior changes, etc. In those cases I take my dogs to the vet. Any blood or otherwise unusual looking vomit warrants a trip in as well. I tend to to take my boys into the vet probably more often then I really need too, but I’m a ‘better safe than sorry’ type of person. I’d rather have the vet tell me it’s nothing to worry about then to try waiting it out and have it turn into something serious.

    • Yes. One needs to consider the big picture. How much vomiting is there? How long has it lasted? How many times? What are other signs?

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