Tag Archive: vomiting

My Dog Eats Grass, Does That Mean He’s Sick?

By: Dr. John Crumley DSC_0303-001

The short answer is no; eating grass does not mean your dog is sick. Eating grass is a normal behavior in dogs. A study revealed that the majority of dogs eat grass routinely (79% of the dogs studied ate grass daily). The same study revealed less than 20% of dogs that ate grass vomited after eating the grass. This means that grass is a poor inducer of nausea and/or vomiting. So dogs eat grass normally and it doesn’t make them vomit enough to give support to the claim that dogs eat grass to make themselves vomit.

I’ve always heard dogs ate grass when they feel sick to intentionally cause themselves to vomit and I never questioned it until

images (1)veterinary school. Why is this “wives tale” so pervasive that most of us have accepted it as truth if it has been proven to be false? Nobody really knows, but consider this explanation. Grass if indigestible by dogs, so if grass is ingested it will remain in the stomach longer than digestible items. If the majority of dogs eat grass daily, when they vomit for any reason there is a strong possibility there will be grass in the vomitus. We see grass in the vomit and jump to a simple, but wrong conclusion that the grass caused the vomiting. I think over the years we have come to the erroneous conclusion that the grass causes vomiting just because it is present in the vomitus so often.

So if your dog eats grass, don’t worry so much. However, if you dog is vomiting please have him seen by one of our veterinarians to try and determine the real cause of the vomiting.


What is Parvovirus?

By: Dr. John Crumley DSC_0303-001

Parvoviruses are a large group with almost every mammal species (including humans) seems to have its own parvovirus. Fortunately, each virus is specific for which animal species it can infect (i.e. the canine parvovirus will not infect people). However, the canine parvovirus will affect most members of the dog family (wolves, coyotes, and foxes).

While the parvoviruses of other species have been well known for decades, the canine parvovirus is a relative newcomer. The original canine parvovirus, discovered in 1967, lead to a series of infections in the 1970’s and unfortunately still to this day.

Golden Retriever puppyThe most common form of the virus is called CPV-2b, but there is a new particularly virulent strain of parvovirus (CPV-2c) which is rapidly becoming the second most common form of canine parvovirus. Fortunately, currently available vaccines cover all variants of canine parvovirus including CPV-2c, as do all the commercially available diagnostic test kits.

After a 3-7 day incubation period, the disease manifests itself with vomiting, diarrhea, and poor appetite. If untreated, death from dehydration and sepsis is most commonly the end result. If treated with aggressive care, up to 80% of patients will survive and go on to lead normal lives after infection. Since the treatment is extensive, often times requiring isolation in a veterinary hospital for many days, we must be prepared for significant expense of treatment (often times over $1,000).

Treatment for parvovirus infection centers on supportive care. This means that the clinical problems that come up in the course of the infection are addressed individually with the goal of keeping the patient alive long enough for an immune response to generate. We do not have effective antiviral drugs and must rely on the patient’s immune system for cure. Puppy on Fluids Intravenous fluids, anti-nausea medication, anti-diarrhea medication, antibiotics, and pain medication are paramount if the pet is to survive infection.

The sad truth of canine parvovirus is that we could eradicate it with simple vaccination as we have with other terrible diseases (ever heard of small pox? ) Vaccination must be done at an early age (as early as 6-7 weeks of age), then repeated every 3-4 weeks until the pet is 16 weeks of age, then every 1-3 years into adulthood.

The difficultly lies in the robust nature of the virus; it can live on surfaces (pavement, grass, dirt, bottom of shoes and the SAMSUNGlike) for months to years. A sick pet’s feces and/or vomit can spread thousands to millions of viral particles into the environment. If an unvaccinated, or undervaccinated, dog sniffs or licks up viral particles, they can become infected.

So, if you have a new puppy, make sure you get him or her vaccinated at the correct times with your veterinarian and avoid areas where dogs congregate until the vaccine series is finished.

 Boomer presented for exam on Tuesday, his Owner states that he might have swolled a saftey pin that morning around 6am, he noticed that Boomer was trying to vomit, and then fell over.  With Boomer’s history of well, being a puppy his Owner was concerned it might have been stuck and brought him in right away.

With Boomer now at Baring Dr. Luchetti decided the best thing to do would be to take some radiographs.  We took 2 views of Boomer’s abdomen. After sending the report off to the radiologist their conclusion was  that there is evidence of metallic gastric foreign material, with granular mineral debris scattered throughout the gastrointestinal tract. It is uncertain whether the larger radiodense structures in the stomach are additional foreign material, but this is suspected.

After discussing Boomer’s treatment plan with his Owner, Dr. Luchetti and Dr. Crumley decided to wait several hours to see if the foreign material would move/ pass through Boomer’s system. After taking the second set of x-rays later that afternoon the material had not moved. Boomer was headed to surgery.

Dr. Baker preformed Boomer’s exploratory/ gastrotomy, he was able to remove large amount of plastic/hair/ foreign material. Due to the large volume of material the was removed we took an x-ray of the material to make sure the safety pin was removed.

Can you see the safety pin??? The next day Boomer was bouncing off the walls and back to his normal crazy puppy self and was able to go home.

Most cat owners don’t know it, but lilies are lethally toxic to cats.  In fact, they’re so poisonous that a cat can suffer fatal kidney failure just from biting into a lily leaf or petal, licking lily pollen from its paws, or drinking water from a vase with cut lilies in it.  All members of the Lilium group produce a chemical—present in all parts of the plant—that can damage cat kidneys, but Easter lilies, stargazer lilies, and Asiatic lilies seem to be the most hazardous. (Calla lilies and peace lilies are not of the Lilium group, and are harmless to cats.) Some cats appear to be more susceptible than others to lily toxicity, and the severity of the resulting kidney failure also varies from cat to cat. Some poisoned cats recover with minimal therapy, while others require costly dialysis to live long enough for the kidneys to repair themselves.   If you think your cat may have chewed on or ingested lily, don’t wait for signs of illness— seek veterinary care immediately.