Pet Digestive Problems

Pet Digestive Problems – Pet Clinic Miami FL – Paws and Claws Medical Center

Understanding our pet digestive problems.

Your pet’s digestive issues may be more than just vomiting and diarrhea.

I will like to start by stating that, NOTHING said here is to be used as a substitute for a professional licensed veterinarian’s opinion and advice, the information posted here is only to aid in the understanding of your pet’s health related problems and the prevention, if possible, of some of them.

We, as pet owners, many times over the life time of our pets, have to face the consequences of our pets health problems. In my experience one of the most if not the most common problem we may face with our pets are gastrointestinal disorders.

Just to refresh our memory of our pets basic anatomy:

The gastrointestinal tract starts in:

  • The mouth: In the oral cavity, the teeth, muscles, nerves, gingiva (gums), tongue, mucous membranes and tonsils can be the source of trauma, ulceration, inflammation, pain and or discomfort which may eventually lead to the incapacity to apprehend or swallow the food despite the presence of hunger or thirst.
  • Then comes the throat and esophagus: In these organs, also any of the lesions stated above, as well as neurologic and muscular disorders, can be the source of the incapacity of taking the ingesta (food) from point A ( the mouth) to point B ( the stomach), making sometimes difficult to differentiate for example if our pets are regurgitating the food or just vomiting it.
  • Once in the stomach, many disorders, may affect the foods passage to the small intestines for its complete and final digestion. Disorders like, inflammation, ulcers, lack of motility or exaggerated motility, twisting of the organ, foreign material ingestion, infectious agents ( virus, bacteria), parasites, endocrine disorders, tumors and diseases affecting other organs that may trigger the vomit receptors, may also be present causing the signs noted by us at home.
  • After the food reaches the intestines, small and later on the large intestines, some of the same causes may be affecting these areas of the tract such as parasites, bacteria, viruses, inflammatory, allergic, cancer, hormonal, enzymatic, foreign bodies, etc.
    And at the end but no less important are the rectum and anus, in these areas of the gastrointestinal tract, besides the many common causes that affect the digestive performance of your pet, are also included the anal sacs, they can get impacted or ulcerated, causing pain and for this reason our pets may avoid defecating as much as possible and will inflict some damage to the area while the discomfort lasts.
  • There are at least two other organs that are directly related to how our gastrointestinal system will perform, the liver and the pancreas and so any disorder that affect them will directly affect how the gastrointestinal system will digest the food.

This being said, many symptoms or signs may be present when gastrointestinal disorders are afflicting our pets, always be concerned when:

  • Vomits (food, bile or other material),
  • diarrheas, with or without the presence of blood (fresh or digested),
  • mucus,
  • foreign material in the feces,
  • retching,
  • burping,
  • abdominal distension,
  • abdominal pain,
  • weight loss,
  • scooting and or licking at the rear end and some others of these signs appears.
  • Since this may indicate that our pets are suffering from gastrointestinal related disorders.

As veterinarian, I do not recommend that, you as a pet owner, self medicate your pet with over the counter medications, unless this is indicated by your vet.

It is always important not to overlook any sign as normal because this may worsen your pet’s situation and make the recovery longer, harder and more expensive. This is specially true with those small breed dogs like Boston Terriers, Frenchies, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians and Maltese’s among many other breeds that commonly suffer from reflux episodes, that the owners take as “normal” for them, these episodes must be assessed and treated accordingly, no pet should vomit for no reason.


If we observe our pets, interact with them frequently, maintain their basic health necessities, brush their teeth as often as possible, give them good quality food, not give them food cooked for us ( with ingredients that may cause harm to our pets), deworm them on a regular basis, vaccinate them when necessary, avoid the exposure to foreign material or other sources of trouble, it s very likely that we are not going to face some of the avoidable conditions that will make our pets sick of their stomach.

Of course conditions like hereditary disease, endocrine disorders or cancer can not be avoided, but if detected on time may be managed in order to make the life of our pets as long and amenable as possible.

Always offer your pets preventive medicine, take your pet to their vet once or twice a year for routine testing, in the long run, this will be better for you and your pet
and very likely cheaper as well.