*COVID-19 Update* We have returned to our normal business hours, however we are still taking COVID-19 precautions, and have limited availability. READ MORE

Vomiting Versus Regurgitation

Image of a dog throwing up.

When you come home to find a mess on the floor, it is easy to assume that the dog vomited. Vomiting is very common in dogs, as they often eat weird things! There are actually many other causes of vomiting, including parasites, kidney disease, liver problems, pancreatitis, and food allergies. Overall, there are probably at least 101 causes of vomiting.

When you take your dog to the veterinarian, the doctor will ask questions and determine if the dog is truly vomiting, or if the dog really has regurgitation, because they have different causes. You will be asked if you saw the process and what the mess looked like.

Vomit

Vomiting has many causes, but results in the stomach ejecting its contents through the mouth. Very active vomiting can also cause intestinal fluid to be brought up. When vomiting, a dog will often precede the act by retching, actively using the abdominal muscles, to force the contents up and out of the body. The process is often strenuous and dynamic.

The vomitus, meaning the material that was vomited up, comes from the stomach or intestines, and therefore contains a lots of fluid. The fluid may be a range of colors, from clear, to white foamy, yellow, green, brown, or even red if there is fresh blood. Blood that has been in the stomach longer will become digested, and look like coffee grounds when vomited up.

Of course, there could be many other things in the vomitus depending on what was eaten. There could be dog food, which will look like it is starting to digest rather than its original form. Non-food material may look digested, or it may look like the original form depending on whether the material can be digested. Objects like metal, plastic, and many fabrics cannot be digested.

Regurgitation

Regurgitation, on the other hand, comes from problems in the esophagus, the tube that leads from the mouth to the stomach. A dog that is regurgitating will just burp up material. There is no active movement from the abdominal muscles pressing on the stomach.

Since the food or other material does not make it to the stomach, it is not digested; food will look much like it did when it was eaten. Sometimes there can be water in the material that is regurgitated if the problem is a megesophagus. This is a disease where the esophagus is not a straight tube, but becomes flaccid and dilates. Things that are ingested may just sit in this dilated area, not reaching the stomach, and will be regurgitated later. Often, there can be fluid with food that is regurgitated.

Diseases of the esophagus include ulcers, inflammation, foreign bodies stuck inside the esophagus, tumors, and megesophagus. This is why it is important to know if that mess on the floor is caused by vomiting, or by regurgitation.

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

If you have an after hours emergency, please contact Purdue Small Animal Emergency Services at 765-496-7911.

Creekside Animal Wellness Center

Monday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Creekside Animal Hospital

Monday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Two convenient locations. The Vets are kind and caring. I have used them for more than 20 years. I trust them to care for my pet. We had our dog spayed and all the normal care. They are great about sending reminders for shots and other things care updates."
    Helen W.
  • "The vets and vet techs at Creekside Animal Hospital are very nice. They do what they can to make your animal feel special given the circumstances. They are transparent with their prices and make things easy by setting up appointments over the phone or in person. I will definitely be back to Creekside Animal Hospital as they truly want to see the best recovery for each animal."
    Patrick R.
  • "The staff at Creekside are AMAZING and honest and full of love!"
    Natalie F.
  • "This was our first time to visit Creekside. Do to the Corona Virus we needed to pull into the parking lot and call to let them know we were there. To my surprise the Doctor came to the car in person. I must say that I had a very good impression of her. I was very satisfied with the service we received there. After she completed the exam she called us to explain the results of the exam and answer any questions we had. At this time I would recommend them highly."
    Robert J.
  • "We have been coming to Creekside for 4 years now. I could not imagine going anywhere else! They have always been very patient with all of our questions & they were all very supportive when our dogs helped themselves to a bag of chocolate. I always know that when I have to leave our furbabies at Creekside for the day that will be well taken care of."
    Cooper, Cohen & Fatboy