Hematemesis is the medical term for the presence of blood in vomit. It is visible to the naked eye depending on the amount of blood. It could be just traces, or larger amounts. The blood may red or possibly more or less brown if it will partially digest. We will tell you about vomiting blood in dogs.
Most often, hematemesis is due to bleeding in the upper part of the digestive tract (from the stomach to the mouth). A wide variety of conditions can be responsible, depending on the age and sex of the dog in particular.
Where does vomiting blood come from?
Depending on the origin of the blood, the causes can be very diverse. The blood can come from:
- From the digestive tract: the esophagus and / or the stomach may bleed in the event of inflammatory diseases such as esophagitis and / or gastritis, ulcers, lesions due to trauma, a foreign body, drugs or parasites.
- From the mouth: bleeding in the mouth (teeth, tongue, gums, palate, etc.) of the animal may cause the presence of blood in the vomiting.
- And from the respiratory system: bleeding can also originate from the respiratory system, i.e. from the lungs, bronchi, or trachea. The blood can indeed be swallowed by the animal, and then end up in vomiting.
- Diseases of the organism: a blood coagulation disorder, liver damage, intoxication, etc. can in particular lead to hematemesis.
Depending on the cause of the hematemesis, other symptoms may be associated.
If the cause of vomiting blood is digestive, the animal may show decreased appetite, or even anorexia, abdominal pain, diarrhea and / or dehydration. Digested blood can find in the stools (melena) which will manifest through a black color of the latter.
If the blood comes from the mouth of the animal, a decrease in appetite may also be present, as may hypersalivation (ptyalism), pain when taking food or poor oral health.
In the event of respiratory origin, cardio-respiratory symptoms generally associate: cough, shortness of breath or even heart failure.
Finally, in the event of a coagulation disorder, the blood does not clot properly. Bleeding is therefore generally also found elsewhere than in vomiting: on the skin and mucous membranes (in the mouth or on the conjunctivae of the eye, for example), in the stool, in the urine, or even in the nostrils.
If the blood loss is heavy or has lasted for a long time, anemia may be present.
First of all, the diagnosis is based on the history and symptoms associated with hematemesis: the age of the animal, its diet, any history of trauma, recurrent gastroenteritis, current treatment, … Etc.
The veterinarian supplements these elements with a clinical examination of the dog. He can thus detect any other clinical signs to help him pinpoint the origin of the blood. Depending on these different elements, he may have to do additional examinations: blood test, x-rays, urine or stool analysis. Sometimes an endoscopy may be necessary.
Treatment and prognosis
The treatment and prognosis for vomiting blood depends on the cause of the hematemesis and the severity of the dog’s condition at the time of the consultation.
In the first place, an anti-emetic treatment is prescribed in order to stop the vomiting. A gastric bandage is often associated. Additional treatments may also prescribe: anti-diarrhea, antacid.
Specific treatment may offer if the diagnosis shows cardio-respiratory disease or damage to the oral sphere.
If the general condition of the animal justifies it, the veterinarian may resort to hospitalization in order to infuse it, or even to transfuse it if necessary.
In case of digestive disorder, a diet may be necessary to avoid recurrence.
So, in all cases the hematemesis is abnormal and this symptom should be taken seriously. In case of repeated vomiting, and a fortiori if they contain blood, contact your veterinarian without delay.