Posts Tagged ‘Morris Animal Foundation’

Cough, Gasp, Blurp – Causes of Vomiting in Dogs and Cats

White and tan English Bulldog on black rug

Did your best friend get sick on the carpet again? Let’s talk about it! [Photo by Pixabay via Pexels]

By Morris Animal Foundation

Who hasn’t woken up in the middle of the night to the sounds of a pet leaving a gift on the carpet/bed/laundry? If you own a dog or cat (or both), chances are you’ve had to clean up something your pet has brought up.

Although many pets experience an occasional episode of vomiting, it also can be a sign of many serious diseases. In addition, regurgitation can be mistaken for vomiting. The two are not synonymous and point toward different underlying problems. It’s important for owners to know the difference, and to know the various causes of vomiting and regurgitation to determine when a trip to the veterinarian is needed and when it isn’t.

The difference between these two activities all boils down to the problem’s anatomic location; esophagus for regurgitation and abdomen for vomiting.

The esophagus is a long tube stretching from the neck through the chest, emptying into the stomach. No digestion takes place in the esophagus, but it’s considered part of the digestive tract. The oral cavity also is part of the digestive system, but most diseases in this area don’t cause either regurgitation or vomiting.

The main business parts of the digestive tract are contained in the abdomen and include the stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, small intestine, large intestine, cecum and anus. Problems in any of these areas can result in vomiting.

Knowing the anatomy helps understand the signs typically seen when problems occur in a specific area of the digestive tract.

Signs of regurgitation include:
*Passive expulsion of material – usually a pet lowers their head and material comes out
*No signs of nausea such as lip smacking or salivation
*Undigested food or other ingested material is common
*Occasionally frothy, foamy material is noted

Signs of vomiting include:
*Retching
*Nausea and salivation
*Contents can range from undigested to partially digested food, to liquid
*Expulsion is active and contents are often propelled with force
*Presence of bile

While taking a video of your pet can be helpful in guiding your veterinarian toward the best diagnostic tests, owners usually can’t respond quickly enough to catch the pet in the moment (while they are trying to get their pet off the carpet) or the owner isn’t present.

Unfortunately, most pet owners just find a pile of something on the floor and don’t witness the event itself. However gross, it’s important to note the characteristics of the material. This includes:

*The color of the material, paying special attention to the presence of red blood, dried blood (which looks like coffee grounds), bile (which is yellow), or brown, foul smelling material
*The presence or absence of food and if it’s digested or undigested
*The presence or absence of foreign material
*The presence or absence of lots of saliva or foam

Before we move on, we need to make a quick detour and talk about esophageal foreign bodies. As many of us know, dogs often don’t chew things 100 times as our grandmothers suggested – they often swallow food, toys and other objects after just a few bites. Occasionally, items are simply too large to pass through the esophagus into the stomach. Dogs with esophageal foreign bodies will salivate a lot, gag, paw at their mouth and retch – they can look a lot like a nauseous dog but their problem is esophageal.

This brings us to one of the most common questions heard by veterinarians and their staff – when is vomiting an emergency and when can a pet owner wait and watch?

As mentioned above, esophageal foreign bodies are an emergency. The vast majority of owners either witness their dog (cats rarely eat something too big!) eat something and then start gagging, or their dog is so clearly distressed they immediately seek veterinary care.

Other times, owners should seek veterinary care, is if there is blood in the vomitus; if a pet is vomiting and seems depressed, lethargic or has stopped eating; if vomiting/gagging/regurgitating is prolonged and severe; or if vomiting is intermittent but lasts longer than one week. A pet that vomits once or twice and seems bright and alert is one the owner can monitor closely.


Registered client? Contact Us with questions about your pet.


Morris Animal Foundation has funded a large list of studies looking for answers to the diverse diseases associated with vomiting in dogs and cats, including viral infections such as parvovirus in both dogs and cats, kidney disease and cancer. But there are still many unanswered questions. We need your help to find better ways to help our dogs and cats have better, healthier lives. Learn more about the scope of the studies we fund as well as our history and commitment to advancing animal health.

Original article can be found here.

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What is That in the Litterbox? Dealing With Diarrhea in Cats

Cat staring at camera

Is your cat trying to tell you something? (Photo by Immortal Shots, via Pexels)

By Morris Animal Foundation

Cats’ fastidious behavior when it comes to poop makes it easy to clean up, but also can mask changes in stool that would signal a potential health problem. Although diarrhea is less of a problem in cats than dogs, there are some similarities between the two species when it comes to underlying causes – as well as a few differences.

As a rule, veterinarians divide diarrhea into two broad categories based on where in the intestinal tract the diarrhea originates – small bowel (originating in the small intestine) and large bowel (originating in the large intestine). Although unpleasant, paying attention to stool quality of your pet can give your family veterinarian valuable clues to point them toward a diagnosis and best treatment.

Characteristics of small-bowel diarrhea include:
*Large volume
*Usually watery
*Frequency might or might not be increased

Diseases that cause small-bowel diarrhea in cats include intestinal viruses, intestinal parasites, cancer, hyperthyroidism and chronic enteropathy (inflammatory bowel disease)

Characteristics of large-bowel diarrhea include:
*Small volume
*Usually semi-formed or cow-patty consistency
*Increased frequency of defecation with straining
*Often contains mucus

Diseases that cause large-bowel diarrhea include stress colitis, intestinal parasites and megacolon (more on this condition later).

Sometimes, we can see characteristics of both small- and large-bowel diarrhea in a cat. This can occur when a disease process involves both the small and large bowel. We also can see this pattern when a patient starts with small-bowel diarrhea that causes secondary irritation of the large bowel.

Blood in the stool can be noted in both small- and large-bowel diarrhea.

Blood in the stool can take several forms:
*Digested blood from the stomach or small intestine results in black, tarry stools. This can be a challenge to diagnose in cats since their stools tend to normally be dark in color.

*Fresh streaks of blood mixed in the stool or coating the stool usually indicate a large-bowel problem

Concurrent vomiting is more common with small intestinal diseases although some studies suggest that vomiting occurs in 30% of cats suffering from large-bowel problems.

Hyperthyroidism in cats frequently causes diarrhea and can be easily overlooked in a diagnostic work-up for diarrhea. Many routine bloodwork panels for cats have a screening test for this disease.

Another disease seen almost exclusively in cats is megacolon. This disease begins when cats become constipated. The large intestine stretches but loses tone which leads to more constipation. Cats will often leak a little loose stool around the hard feces which can be interpreted by a cat owner as diarrhea. Megacolon is easily diagnosed on a physical examination and via X-ray.

If your cat has diarrhea, call your family veterinarian for guidance. In some cases, the loose stools will resolve without treatment. Your family veterinarian is the best person to help decide if and when further diagnostics or treatment is needed.

Morris Animal Foundation has funded more than 50 studies and invested $1.2 million dollars in studies focused on gastrointestinal tract problems. We’re on the cutting edge of gastrointestinal research, from the use of probiotics to studies looking at the gut microbiome. Check out all our studies and learn how you can help cats everywhere have longer, healthier lives.

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   In our previous post, we reviewed Ten Warning Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats, as reported by the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF). MAF is a leader in funding research that improves animals’ lives. Cancer is a chief health concern.

   Eleven million dogs and cats are diagnosed with cancer each year. The number is staggering — but there are things pet owners can do to help prevent cancer in their pets.

   Today, we share Morris Animal Foundation’s list of 12 things you can do to reduce your pet’s risk of developing cancer.

CLICK HERE to download the list for easy reading.

 

CLICK HERE to download the list for easy reading.

 

   To learn more about the Morris Animal Foundation, the good work they do, and how you can be a part of the movement toward better animal health, visit their website:  www.morrisanimalfoundation.org

 

Disclaimer: Information on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure your pet. Information provided on this site does not take the place of a valid client-patient-doctor relationship, nor does it constitute such a relationship. Your pet’s veterinarian is the best source of information regarding your pet’s health. Your pet may require an examination and testing by a licensed veterinarian in order to provide proper diagnosis and treatment. Neither Dr. Miele nor Little Creek Veterinary Clinic or its staff is responsible for outcomes based on information available on this site. Every pet’s condition is unique and requires the direct care and oversight of its own veterinarian.

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Here’s a startling statistic: 11 million dogs and cats are diagnosed with cancer each year,

according to the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF). Since 1950, the Morris Animal Foundation has funded over 2,600 studies to improve the lives of dogs, cats, horses, and wildlife. In particular, MAF has been supporting cancer research since 1962, in pursuit of a cure and better quality of life for all animals.

Using research from Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center, MAF has produced this list of 10 Warning Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats:

Cancer Warning Signs by Morris Animal Foundation. Click to enlarge.

It is important to remember that other diseases or physical ailments can cause symptoms similar to those listed above. Do not attempt to diagnose cancer on your own. Your pet’s veterinarian, or a specialty practice, can perform diagnostic tests to find out whether your pet’s symptoms are a result of cancer or something else.

In our next blog post, we will share an in-depth review of Morris Animal Foundation’s tips on how to help prevent cancer in pets. See below for a “sneak preview.”

Pet Cancer Prevention Checklist by Morris Animal Foundation. Click to enlarge.

Did you know you can donate to the Morris Animal Foundation? Your donation can help fund the next generation of life-saving research. Donate here.

 

Disclaimer: Information on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure your pet. Information provided on this site does not take the place of a valid client-patient-doctor relationship, nor does it constitute such a relationship. Your pet’s veterinarian is the best source of information regarding your pet’s health. Your pet may require an examination and testing by a licensed veterinarian in order to provide proper diagnosis and treatment. Neither Dr. Miele nor Little Creek Veterinary Clinic or its staff is responsible for outcomes based on information available on this site. Every pet’s condition is unique and requires the direct care and oversight of its own veterinarian.

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