Youtube Play

What is Garbage Toxicosis (Garbage Gut)?

Dogs are known to get into the trash every once in awhile, and even to eat the feces of other animals (especially from cat litter boxes), but these animals are at a higher risk of an illness called garbage toxicosis or garbage gut. Eating dead animals, such as birds or other small animals may also be the cause of garbage toxicosis. This is most common in outdoor dogs because they are able to ingest spoiled food or waste as well as dead animals that can be full of bacteria and other harmful organisms. Feeding your dog table scraps or a raw food diet can also add to the chance of your pet getting garbage toxicosis. When your dog ingests food (or waste) that is contaminated or spoiled, the bacteria gets into the digestive tract where it can produce toxins that get absorbed into the bloodstream.

Garbage toxicosis, or garbage gut, is a condition caused by the ingestion of food, trash, or waste that is contaminated with bacteria or other toxic substances. This can be from eating spoiled food out of a trash can, table scraps, dead animals from outside, and vomit or feces from other animals. It is also known as gastroenteritis, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, or food poisoning. Garbage toxicosis may be recognized by watery or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting, but can also be severe enough to cause inability to control body movements, hypothermia, and shock.

Garbage Toxicosis (Garbage Gut) Average Cost

From 438 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,000

Average Cost

$950

Symptoms of Garbage Toxicosis (Garbage Gut) in Dogs

The signs of garbage toxicosis depend on what kind of bacteria is involved, but the most commonly reported side effects are:

  • Diarrhea (may be bloody or watery)
  • Vomiting (can be projectile vomiting with or without blood)
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Appetite loss
  • Sleepiness
  • High body temperature
  • Depression
  • Dehydration
  • Panting
  • Flatulence (gas)
  • Weakness
  • Shock (cold extremities, weak pulse, inactivity, respiratory failure)
  • Seizures (rare)
  • Death (rare)

 Types

Garbage toxicosis is possible in any breed of dog at any age, both male and female, but there are certain high-risk categories, which are:

  • Outdoor dogs
  • Small and toy breed dogs (Maltese, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Miniature Pinscher, Shih Tzu, and Yorkshire Terrier)
  • Young dogs under five years old
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Garbage Toxicosis (Garbage Gut) in Dogs

The cause of garbage toxicosis is eating food, waste, feces, or carrion that is infected with bacteria, such as:

  • Bacillus
  • Clostridium botulinum
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Escherichia coli
  • Penitrem-A (a neurotoxin)
  • Salmonella
  • Staphylococcus
  • Streptococcus
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Garbage Toxicosis (Garbage Gut) in Dogs

Many cases of garbage toxicosis are mild, but some can be serious, especially in a small breed, young, or older dog. Since two of the most common side effects are diarrhea and vomiting, dehydration is a serious worry in garbage toxicosis. The bacteria involved is also a concern because some types of bacterial infections may cause central nervous system signs such as loss of muscle control and seizures. The only way to determine which type of bacteria is involved is to take your pet to a veterinary professional. If you cannot get an appointment to see your veterinarian within 24 hours, you should take your dog to an emergency veterinary clinic.

The veterinarian will do a physical examination on your dog to check reflexes, temperature, body weight and height, breath sounds, pupil reaction time, abdominal palpation, blood pressure, pulse, and respiratory rate. Afterward, the veterinarian will likely need to perform some laboratory tests, including a CBC, chemical profile, stool samples, and a urinalysis.  

 Abdominal radiographs (X-rays) and ultrasounds may also be recommended. If necessary, the veterinarian may need to get an ultrasound, MRI or CT scan for a better look at the intestinal tract and stomach.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Garbage Toxicosis (Garbage Gut) in Dogs

Treating garbage toxicosis in dogs is similar to treating a patient who has been poisoned. The best course of treatment will ultimately depend on the symptoms and health of your dog, but most often include getting the toxins out of the system and treating the signs.

Evacuation

If your dog has been vomiting already, there is usually no need to give an emetic, such as ipecac syrup, apomorphine, or hydrogen peroxide. In addition, activated charcoal may be given to absorb the excess bacteria or toxins.  

Detoxification

Intravenous (IV) fluids and electrolytes will be given to rehydrate and flush the kidneys.

Medications

Some medications that the veterinarian may give your pet are muscle relaxants to control seizures, H2 blockers for gastric upset, and antibiotics for infection.

Observation

The veterinarian may want to keep your dog hospitalized for observation and fluid therapy.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Garbage Toxicosis (Garbage Gut) in Dogs

Chances of recovery are better if you are able to get treatment before the toxins are completely absorbed into the bloodstream. The veterinarian may send you home with antidiarrheal medication, antibiotics, and H2 blockers, so make sure you give as prescribed. Bring your dog back for a follow up as directed by the veterinarian and call if you have any questions.

Garbage gut can be expensive to treat. To avoid high vet care expenses, secure pet health insurance today. The sooner you insure your pet, the more protection you’ll have from unexpected vet costs.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Garbage Toxicosis (Garbage Gut) Average Cost

From 438 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,000

Average Cost

$950

arrow-up-icon

Top

Garbage Toxicosis (Garbage Gut) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Pomsky

dog-age-icon

Eight Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Seizure

My Pomsky had 2 grand mal seizures last week 2 hours apart. We took her to the ER and all lab work was normal, so diagnosed with idiopathic seizures and put on Keppra 3 times a day. Today she threw up a plastic roll sausage wrapper with the metal clips on the ends, that she ate 4 weeks ago. Could this have caused her seizures?

Jan. 28, 2021

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Sara O. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello, this would have been weird to cause seizures. I usually do not start on seizure medication until they have had more than 2 episodes in 1 month. Two in one day would have me concerned but I have seen some dogs have seizures from something they ate and never have seizures again in their life. Being on life long medication for this would not be best. If your dog continues to have seizures they would need to be on this medication for the rest of their life. You can always see a neurologist to see if there is an underlying cause of these seizures that did not show up on bloodwork.

Jan. 28, 2021

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Chorkie

dog-age-icon

Two Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

5 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting, Staggering

My dog is about 5lbs. She has not eating for almost ⁴ days and has not went #2 in like 3days. And she keeps throwing up. And every time she drinks she throws up right after. And now she having a hard time walking and standing up.

Dec. 16, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

5 Recommendations

Thank you for your question, I'm sorry that your dog is not feeling well. From your description, she is extremely ill, and needs to go to the ER immediately. Without being able to see her, I cannot say why she is having this problem, but she is seriously ill and needs to be seen right away.

Dec. 16, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

Garbage Toxicosis (Garbage Gut) Average Cost

From 438 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,000

Average Cost

$950

Ask a vet
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.