Vomiting is a very common problem in dogs and cats. There are many causes of vomiting. The causes of primary or gastric vomiting are those that result from diseases of the stomach and upper intestinal tract
The causes secondary or non-gastric vomiting are caused by diseases of other organs that cause an accumulation of toxic substances in the blood. These toxic substances will stimulate the vomiting center in the brain causing vomiting.
It is very important to distinguish the difference between vomiting and regurgitation.
Vomiting is the expulsion of the contents present in the stomach and / or small intestine (bowel beginning immediately after the exit of the stomach).
Regurgitation is the expulsion of the esophagus content. The esophagus is a narrow tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach in a matter of seconds. Food can never stop the esophagus in a normal condition.
In an animal with normal esophagus, food moves quickly through the esophagus to the stomach. If the esophagus has problems and expands, then we have what we call Megaesophagus .
The dilated esophagus can not transport the food trough it, and so the food is stuck in the esophagus, leading to regurgitation few seconds or minutes after ingestion. In this case the food goes undigested much like what you just eat, has no strong odor and can have a tube format (esophagus own format). In the case of regurgitation successive animal can aspire food and cause aspiration pneumonia.
When you get to the vet with your pet, dog or cat, because he is vomiting, the vet will make a series of questions in an attempt to differentiate between vomiting and regurgitation and to try to determine if the animal is vomiting due to gastric disease or systemic disease.
The vomiting is an active process and usually the animal realizes what will happen, getting up, walking restlessly and suddenly starts to vomit mimes, then expelling the gastric contents with some discomfort .The food or stomach contents can usually be digested, has a stronger odor and can have a yellowish content (bile), especially after several consecutive episodes of vomiting.
Already the regurgitation is a passive process and the animal often do not even realize what will happen. Suddenly the animal moves, lowers his head and food are explusos effortlessly and without abdominal contraction.
The animal then eat it all again or walks away as if nothing had happened – not because “malaise”. The contents expelled for regurgitation is generally not digested, odorless and may have a tubular shape, and is often covered with a viscous mucus.
Another cause of regurgitation, most common in puppies, is the animal eating too fast and voraciously regurgitating all right then. The difference between gluttony and achalasia , is that in the case of achalasia this happens always or almost always that the animal eats (it is much more common).
Their ability to respond to the vet questions about how it happens, when it happens, how often and by describing the appearance of vomited or regurgitated content will greatly help in the diagnosis of the causes of vomiting and / or regurgitation.