Gastrointestinal upsets in pets are common and one of the most frequent reasons patients visit our hospital. Just like humans your pets will often feel unwell and lethargic. Our gastro patients often experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, inappetance, lethargy and dehydration. So, what should you do?
Gastrointestinal upset is a very broad topic, mainly because there can be many different reasons it can occur. Early intervention is best and we recommend bringing them to the clinic as soon as symptoms start. Sometimes, an anti nausea injection, a bland diet and probiotics can make your pet feel better. However, other times a hospital visit may be required.
How do we diagnose and treat gastrointestinal upset in hospital:
- Blood tests – Help to determine if there is an underlying cause such as kidney or liver problems or infection etc. It also shows us your pets hydration status and their electrolytes and whether they require supplementation through IV fluids.
- Faecal testing – we may either run in house tests or send off a faecal sample to the lab to determine if there is a parasitic infection that would explain the reason your pet is unwell.
- Intravenous (IV) fluids – if your pet has been unwell and losing fluids either through diarrhoea, vomiting or inappetence, we will usually recommend IV fluids to help either aid dehydration or avoid it.
- Pain relief – Often gastrointestinal upsets can be painful, we provide pain relief to help the patient feel more comfortable.
- Anti nausea medication – even if your pet is not vomiting, often with gastrointestinal upsets nausea is common. We recommend an anti-emetic medication to help settle their tummy and aid recovery.
- X-rays/ultrasound – If we are suspicious that maybe there is an internal cause for the upset we will do further diagnostic tests such as x-ray or ultrasound to help us with a diagnosis.
- IV antibiotics – If the bloods indicate there is a risk of an infection we often will give a strong IV antibiotic to help counteract the infection and help your pet feel better.
- Probiotic – this helps bring good bacteria to the gut to help restore gut health and in turns make your pet feel better.
- Bland diet – often when your pet is unwell feeding a high fat diet can make the situation worse. This is why we recommend small meals of something bland that will not put too much strain on the digestive system.
Keep in mind all cases are different and the course of treatment varies, the above are common treatments we can recommend with gastrointestinal cases.