Monday, March 31, 2014

As the Stomach Turns

Early in the morning, and I'm awakened by a strange noise. Gursh....sproing....gurgle....
I sit up and look to Ike, who is sound asleep at the foot of the bed. But his stomach is all kinds of busy, churning, sloshing, burbling. And I know that we're in for a long haul, trying to determine what's wrong with Ike.

Sleeping soundly here....please excuse the tummy gurgles.

Ike is 8 years old now, and has been in fairly good health. But recently he's been vomiting his food...or more precisely, regurgitating. I learned the difference from some smart friends, who explained that vomiting usually involves distress, heaving and sometimes bile. Regurgitating, on the other hand, usually happens when the dog suddenly stands, opens his mouth, and out it comes.

The trouble in diagnosing such a thing is that there are numerous causes, from allergies, to foreign objects, to Addison's disease, to tumors, to....the list goes on. When do you take your dog to the vet? Do you rush him there after the first episode? Or, if only you'd have waited to see if the situation was due to a simple tummy ache, you could have saved yourself $100 or so. Of course, we don't want to leave anything potentially harmful unchecked.

Ike has been having symptoms on and off for several weeks. He's also been to the vet's several times for blood work, fecal analysis, and xrays. Today he's having a series of xrays with barium to check the Upper GI tract. We're hoping this will help the vet to determine what is causing his regurgitation and other symptoms.

I'm Dr. Ike. If only I could diagnose myself!

 The xrays will take about an hour or two, as the barium works its stuff through Ike's system. We'll be waiting there with him, keeping him relaxed in between xrays. The vet charges a fee per xray view, so here's hoping it won't take too many views to find the source of the problem. But, of course, we'll take as many xrays as we need, and if necessary an ultrasound after, because we trust our vet to help us determine what is necessary to help Ike. We've had to make this sort of decision numerous times with different dogs over the years. I can't say it's ever easy...on the pocketbook, or emotionally. So for now, for Ike, we're praying for an easy diagnosis and a simple treatment.      

Have you been in a situation where your dog's had a mystery illness to be diagnosed? How do you decide which tests to do and which can safely and reasonably be avoided or postponed? How has your dog responded?

Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!


  1. Mom could be a Vet we have gone through it all. Try Pepcid. French Bulldogs, that's us,are known for vomiting, regurgitating, gagging etc
    Lily & Edward

  2. I hope it's nothing serious with Ike. Mom and dad are also waiting a bit before they take me to the vet.

  3. Hope you guys are doing okay at the vet! We admit, we do usually wait a bit before rushing to the vet - usually want to see if it's just an upset tummy. Luckily Rita hasn't had anything toooo bad (other than head bobbles) but our beagle, Bailey, did have a mystery illness. She threw up every night for days on end (we'd taken her to the vet and they couldn't figure it out). Eventually she ended up having to go to the hospital for a couple of nights and had a biopsy done. They insisted it was irritable bowel disease and she'd need to be on a special diet the rest of her life w/ NO people food. (Total horror for a beagle). But the new food never agreed with her, so eventually she went back to her old food, and when she stole a plate full of quiche one day, we realized people food had no ill effect on her. She never had any symptoms again of IBD, although our vet insisted the Dx couldn't have been wrong. He said sometimes the symptoms come and go. Who knows. Luckily they never came back. Didn't mean to write a novella... but hope Ike's mystery illness gets figured out, or disappears like Bailey's did!

  4. Poor guy! Pip had all kinds of stomach issues in addition to heart issues. We were fortunate to have a really good relationship with his vet who would give us honest advice on what we should do. We trusted her and that really helped us. These decisions for care are so hard. Hugs!

  5. Oh, no. Poor Ike. I hope it's nothing serious! When it comes to barfing, I'm definitely a wait-and-seer because they throw up so often. As for mystery illnesses, though, that seems to be our thing, unfortunately! From Cooper's tremors to Emmett's skin problem to foster dog Molly's weirdo not-mange-but-not-bacteria eye infection... It's so frustrating when you know they need something but just can't figure out what. Here's hoping Ike's is a simple solution!

  6. So sorry to hear about Ike's tummy troubles. I understand about trying to the right thing and when you need to go to the vet and such. It adds up pretty fast. So we will pray for finding an answer and that Ike feels better real soon.

  7. snoopy@snoopysdogblogApril 7, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Sorry I'm so late to the discussion, I hope Ike is doing ok, big hugs to him!

    My Mum and Dad went with the insurance route so I'm usually whisked off to the vet if I so much as sneeze! Although it costs quite a bit each month......

    Wags to all,

    Your pal Snoopy :)


Kelly and Ike say thank you for your comments!