It happens to all of us – our companion cat or dog has some runny stool. They may or may not vomit. Is a single episode a cause for alarm, not necessarily but you also don’t want to wait too long before seeking veterinary care.

There are a long list of issues that can cause diarrhea and vomiting. One episode of one or both in a cat or dog that is bright and alert and eating/drinking well is unlikely a cause for concern. But if it’s accompanied by depression or lack of appetite, more may be at play and seeking help sooner than later is advise.
Some underlying causes:

  • Infectious disease
  • Infectious disease such as bacterial overgrowth or protozoal infection
  • Parasitism
  • Metabolic or endocrine issues
  • Toxin ingestion
  • Foreign body ingestion
  • Allergic (hypersensitivity) reaction including anaphylactic shock

All these causes result in different treatments. But one thing is important – if the diarrhea and / or vomiting is ongoing or accompanied by other symptoms, acting quickly will help you pet.

Related: The Vomiting Cat – Consider Triaditis

Prolonged vomiting and diarrhea result in fluid loss. Once enough fluid has been lost, your pet can become very dehydrated and his/her circulatory system may not have enough fluid to maintain adequate blood pressure and deliver needed nutrients to tissues and organs in order to meet the body’s metabolic demands. This can result in serious consequences if not quickly addressed.

In addition, if the underlying issue is not addressed such as infection, toxin ingestion, foreign body ingestion, etc., permanent damage can occur including death.

So, when your pet has an episode of vomiting and/or diarrhea, look to make sure it’s an isolated instance and that there are no other symptoms present. We don’t want are cats and dogs losing fluids for more than a short while or suffering from an un-diagnosed issue. Waiting 2-3 days isn’t appropriate and can lead to serious consequences.

If you’re not sure what to do, call your veterinarian and seek advice. If it’s after hours and your pet has been vomiting multiple times or has had significant diarrhea, call a 24/7 veterinary emergency facility and bring him or her there for evaluation. Your pet can’t tell you how they’re feeling. The best we can do as their owners and caretakers is watch and monitor their ‘clues.’ 

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