Michael Goldberg, DVM, CHom
Dr Goldberg:My 12-year-old dog has been having episodes of vomiting right after eating for the past three months. His appetite is very good and even better since we got a new puppy.
Dr Goldberg:My 12-year-old dog has been having episodes of vomiting right after eating for the past three months. His appetite is very good and even better since we got a new puppy. Is there anything we can give him for vomiting?
In a medium-sized dog, 12 years is generally the equivalent of about 80 human years. At that age, there are a number of possibilities that should be explored as the potential cause of vomiting after eating. As with any older pet in this circumstance, I recommend a thorough physical examination by your veterinarian. He or she may elect to do some tests to ensure there is nothing physically wrong.
Infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses or parasites are common culprits. Metabolic problems such as liver, kidney or hormonal diseases can also be factors. Functional problems and motility abnormalities, in which the stomach fails to push the ingesta properly, can cause the dog to regurgitate its food. Degenerative problems involving the stomach lining, the overproduction of acid in the stomach, blockages from something he's ingested (bones, rocks, parts of toys) or some type of growth that may be acting as a blockage (a tumour) must also be investigated.
Although homeopathy relies on symptoms as a guide to the correct remedy, I find that in order to effectively and accurately describe the symptoms it helps to know the pathological process that is going on. In this manner, I feel I can more accurately prescribe the correct remedy.
If you have recently gotten a puppy there may be competition around the food. For a 12-year-old dog to contend with a puppy at this point can be challenging. If this is the case, then your older fellow may be eating too quickly or there may be stress surrounding the dinner hour. I would first try to separate the dogs at mealtime. This may serve to slow down the time it takes your older fellow to eat. There may also be less stress in this situation and less vomiting, if stress is the underlying cause.
Homeopathic remedies can help aid in your dog's digestion and make the adjustment time with the puppy much easier.
Rescue Remedy (a Bach flower remedy) may help as a calming agent. I would try administering it with a dropper about 20 minutes before the meal.
Aconite may be used if there is an overwhelming sense that your older guy is fearful.
Arsenicum album is an excellent remedy for dogs that vomit after eating. There may be restlessness before the episode. The pet will often be thirsty but for small amounts of water quite often. The pet may also seek heat and feel hot to the touch. There may also be diarrhea with the vomiting.
Ipecac may be useful if there is vomiting after which your dog feels worse.
Nux vomica is a good remedy for the dog who seems sensitive. The pet will generally be thirsty and may be irritable as well. This may be seen as being short tempered with family or with other dogs.
Chamomilla is a good choice if there is irritability with vomiting. The pet may need constant attention and if he doesn't get it, he may be whiny. He may also be short and snappy to other family members.
Silica may be helpful if your dog is timid, shy and chilly.
Staphysagria may help if the puppy is overly aggressive and your older dog seems upset by the aggression.
For all these remedies, I suggest using a low potency of 6C on a daily basis until there is any perceived improvement in the condition or less frequency of vomiting. At the point that you feel there is some improvement, I would then discontinue the remedy until there is a slight relapse, at which I would begin the dosing again.
Some initial testing such as X-rays and blood testing may rule out anything serious.
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In the July #225 Pet Vet Column there was a list of homeopathic remedies to treat ear infections. The instructions should have read "All can be used in the 6c dosage and taken internally." We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.