"If you observe the onset of sudden dog
stomach pain, and see symptoms such as s painful, tense abdomen it
could indicate a condition that is life threatening. The abdomen can be
in pain, distended, inflamed, or there could be an insufficient supply
of blood to the abdomen (called ischemia). Older dogs have a higher
frequency of problems such as a malignant tumor (cancerous) while young
dogs could have an injury, dietary problem, infection or intestine
If you only see diarrhea with no changes in
the abdomen, this is usually
self limiting and will resolve on its own and is usually not life
threatening. The exception is diarrhea that contains a significant
amount of blood. If there is just a
bit of blood, the problem could be colitis from stress and is not as
blood red diarrhea. If you see vomiting and diarrhea, or vomiting more
than 2 to 3 times in a row, then consult with a veterinarian."
Video on Dog Stomach Problems
Gastric Dilation-Volvulus (Dog Bloat or GDV)
Processes that cause the build up of fluid or gas can cause dog
Blockage in the Large or Small Intestine (called Ileus)
Dog Ieus X-Ray
distention of a
significant portion of the small intestine. However the distension is
not considered sufficient to warrant a diagnosis of intestinal
obstruction. One loop of bowel is more distended than the others and
partial obstruction should be considered. There is a large amount of
material in the stomach.
Photo Credit: Washington State University
Urinary and Kidneys such as azotemia, which refers
to excess urea in the blood due to dehydration
Increased respiratory rate as the result of pain or
other problems in the body
Risks By Breed
Two breeds are at higher risk for dog stomach pain.
Males are at
higher risk for a urethral obstruction. This is caused by higher
incidences of urate urinary calculi (urinary stones).
diagnosed with pancreatic atrophy have a heightened risk of a condition
called mesenteric volvulus (twist in the fold that attaches the small
intestine to the abdominal all). The twist causes an intestinal
obstruction or blockage.
Dogs on corticosteroids and other non-steroidal
anti-inflammatories are at risk for gastrointestinal ulcers
Symptoms of dog stomach pain can vary including:
Reluctance to move
Lack of appetite
Posture that isn’t normal (a praying or tucked
Given the many possible causes for a dog stomach pain, the
veterinarian will seek to
eliminate those that are most common. To do this a series of tests are
conducted such as blood tests (CBC) and urine test (urinalysis).
Test results could indicate the underlying cause. For example a low
number of white blood cells indicate inflammation and an infection. A
gastrointestinal ulcer is detected by low red blood cell counts.
X-Rays can find any masses or abnormality in organ shape. It can also
detect fluid accumulation. High gas levels could indicate an infection
or a ruptured gastrointestinal tract. An Ultrasound test is used to
find any abdominal masses, fluids, cysts, abscesses or urinary stones.
Testing abdominal fluid using a test called amniocentesis is used on
dogs with sudden abdominal pain.
Foreign bodies can sometimes be found by palpitating the abdomen
(touching the abdomen from outside the body).
If the cause cannot be determine with testing, a veterinarian may want
to explore the abdomen surgically.
The veterinarian will check for any abdominal or dog stomach pain,
changes in the muscles around the abdomen, gas and fluid accumulation
in the abdomen. The patient will also be checked for:
Any masses that could be felt or palpitated
Rapid heart beat (tachycardia)
Rapid respiration (tachypnea)
Rectal examination (check colon, urethra, prostate,
stool color and blood color)
A specific diagnosis of the underlying cause is needed before
can begin. Until the cause is determined, the Vet will address any
symptoms such as pain relief (analgesics). Gas production can be reduce
with histamine H2 antagonists.
The Vet will also determine if emergency intervention or surgery is
For symptoms such as vomiting, nothing by mouth is recommended until
the underlying cause is determined. If there is fluid loss, intravenous
therapy is needed.
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