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It all started back in October.  Eddie (my black mini poodle) threw up one Tuesday morning.  No big deal, right?  Dogs are known for vomiting periodically.

But then he threw up again later that day.  And once in the middle of the night.  And the next day, too.  Other than tossing his cookies regularly, he was his normal poodle self.

I called the vet.  They asked me if this little poodle had gotten into any garbage or otherwise ate something he shouldn’t have (dietary indiscretion), ate something fatty (pancreatitis) or had access to something like lake water (giardia).

The answer was no, no, no.

So we decided to observe a few days to see what happens… provided Eddie continued to appear otherwise healthy (e.g., ate well, he drank well and he played normally). The doc also instructed me to give a teaspoon of Maalox twice a day to the little guy.

Eddie was good for a couple days. But then the vomiting started again.  So this time we went to the vet.

First we tried the “cheap and easy” way.  We gave Eddie some antibiotics and anti-vomit meds, since sometimes a bacterial infection can cause vomiting (without other clinical signs).  We also put him on a low-residue food.

That didn’t go over well, so eventually I moved to a boiled chicken and overcooked rice mixture.  That turned out to be a big mistake (more about that later).

We went in for another vet visit.  This time we did the full work up, including a complete blood count, a regular x-ray and a barium study.  Eddie was also put on an IV to rebalance his electrolytes (which were low due to all the vomiting).

Oddly enough, the barium x-ray showed a blockage.  But since Eddie’s stools were normal, that seemed a little odd. Nonetheless, I fed him very small amounts of a “max cal” food every four hours. The barium came out in his stool… but nothing else.

So why did the barium bunch up on the x-ray like that?  Possibly because of an intestinal spasm.  But healthy stools wouldn’t be able to pass through if it was truly blocked, so we crossed “intestinal blockage” off our list.

Then the doc said it’s likely an intolerance to chicken…

Bing, bing, bing – I think we have a winner!

I immediately removed chicken from Eddie’s diet.  And within days, he went from vomiting at least two times a day (sometimes four times) to just once.  And eventually he was increasing the length of time between vomiting episodes – 24 hours… 36 hours… 50 hours…

At the time I’m writing this, he’s thrown up once in the last seven days.  I have no doubt his stomach and GI tract are all inflamed and torn up after so many weeks of vomiting.  (Poor guy!)  And it probably takes some time for all the allergens to leave his system.

Right now he’s eating Hill’s Science Diet ultra-allergen Z/D formula, which seems to be working really well for him. However, this is just temporary.  I’m not pleased with the quality of the food, so as soon as his system is settled I’ll likely start doing my own allergy trial. That means slowly adding back in protein sources (except chicken!) and carbs to see if he does well.

From there, I’ll choose a food – probably a limited ingredient food – such as Wellness, Natural Balance, California Natural or something similar.  They come in a lot of combinations like “potato and venison” or “sweet potato and herring.” Anything is better than the prescription Z/D food, that’s for sure. ?

The doc says we can also do an allergy screening.  We may go that route too, though I’ve heard you tend to get a lot of false positives.  If he continues to do well simply by removing all chicken sources, then perhaps an allergy screening isn’t necessary.

I’ve learned a lot over these past 6 weeks about vomiting dogs.  In the coming posts I’ll share some of this info with you, just in case you’re dealing with a head-scratching case of a vomiting poodle, too.

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