Why does my dog vomit after drinking?

April 13, 2012

The dog vomited after finishing off the contents of its water bowl. Unlike the dog owner that had chucked up all the contents of the stomach, the dog has not gone out to the pub for a drinking binge.

Dogs have huge appetites. Dog owners would tell everyone that their pets are indiscriminate eaters as well. Dogs though have a no-fail remedy that will remove food and non-food items from the stomach. A dog would simply eat grass and the offending matter will be vomited. Vomiting is a common concern of dogs. This reflex action expulses the food and water in the stomach. Dogs that vomit once in a while should not concern the owners especially if the dog is its usual active self and does not manifest any other signs of health concerns. The vomiting is usually triggered by eating too fast, eating too much, or eating substances that do not agree with the dog’s stomach. Motion sickness and anxiety can also cause a spate of vomiting.

Dogs love to lap water especially when the weather is extra hot. Drinking too fast can cause the dog to vomit. This is the reason why dog owners are advised to give the dog ice cubes instead. Ice cubes will assuage the thirst of the pet without causing the dog to vomit. A dog that vomits every time it drinks water may have a different health concern. A dog that vomits immediately after drinking water may have an esophageal dysfunction. It is possible that the dog is suffering from a condition known as Megaesophagus. Megaesophagus is an esophageal motility disorder. This is a rare congenital disease that commonly occurs in puppies. The food and the water the dog has ingested will pass through the esophagus. Normally, once presence of food in the tube was detected, a reflex action that causes the muscles to contract and relax will facilitate the movement of the food to the stomach. If the esophagus fails to contract properly, ingested food and water will remain in the esophagus instead of going down directly to the stomach. Because the food does not reach the stomach, the dog will keep on eating. Filled with food, the esophagus will enlarge, hence the name of this condition. The food and the water that were stuck in the esophageal tube will be regurgitated back into the throat and vomited by the dog a few minutes after ingestion or it can stay for several hours. Another neurological reflex is inhibiting breathing while the dog is swallowing to prevent aspiration. Megaesophagus would also prevent this process so that aspiration of regurgitated food can occur.

This congenital disease commonly does not have apparent cause and usually seen in large breeds of dogs. This disease is often seen in Great Danes, New Foundland, German Shepherd Dog, Irish setter and in Greyhounds. Since affected dog cannot hold down water and food, the dog will not receive adequate nutrition. Magaessophagus causes the dog to lose weight because of the inability to swallow. Foul breath and fever can be noticed as well. Severe aspiration of digestive fluid can result to pneumonia. Treatment for megaesophagus is geared towards the management of the underlying disease. Hypothyroidism and myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune neuromuscular disease that is characterized by the weakness of the muscles of the body are the underlying diseases that can be associated with megaesophaggus. As mentioned, this can be an idiopathic disorder thus if underlying causes are not identified, treatment will be directed to giving the dog supportive measures. Drugs that will increase gastrointestinal movement are commonly administered. A course of antibiotic will be administered for secondary aspiration pneumonia.

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