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What are Gastroenteritis?

Stomach flu is a form of gastroenteritis that occurs when your dog contracts a virus. This is usually characterized by vomiting and diarrhea. Because the symptoms are not specific to gastroenteritis, you should bring your dog to the veterinarian to rule out other, more serious conditions. Although symptomatic treatment for the stomach flu can be provided at home, it's best to leave it to a professional.

The stomach flu is caused by viral agents that affect your dog’s gastrointestinal tract, resulting in acute vomiting and diarrhea. Gastroenteritis can typically be resolved at home with rehydration therapy, but you should first bring your dog to a veterinarian to ensure that the symptoms are not the sign a more serious disease.

Gastroenteritis Average Cost

From 71 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Gastroenteritis in Dogs

The two most common signs of gastroenteritis are vomiting and diarrhea. Additional signs to watch for include:

  • Dehydration due to fluid loss through vomiting or diarrhea
  • Blood in vomit or feces
  • Nausea
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
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Causes of Gastroenteritis in Dogs

The term “stomach flu” typically refers to viral gastroenteritis, which is caused by infectious agents such as noroviruses, sapoviruses, and parvoviruses. Gastroenteritis itself, however, can occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Dietary indiscretion
  • Toxins
  • Tumors
  • Bacterial infection
  • Parasites
  • Abdominal disorders
  • Systematic infections – urinary tract infections (UTI), meningitis, pneumonia
  • Thyroid disease

Though viruses are not thought to be a common cause for gastroenteritis in dogs, a large number of them may affect the gastrointestinal tract.

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Diagnosis of Gastroenteritis in Dogs

Gastroenteritis is diagnosed by the sudden onset of vomiting or diarrhea. Since the symptoms of viral gastroenteritis are mirrored in a number of other conditions, you will need to provide your veterinarian with information to help narrow the possibilities down. Come prepared with as much information as possible to help the veterinarian diagnose. It all comes down to preparation, the better prepared you are, the more likely a swift and accurate diagnosis will be delivered. This information may include:

  • Any changes in your dogs diet, including new food. The veterinarian will be especially interested in understanding if the brand of food was changed. If readily accessible, bring in a picture of the dogs food and ingredient label.
  • Your dogs current feeding frequency and amount fed
  • Any and all food and liquid consumed in the last forty-eight to seventy-two hours. This includes table scraps your dog may have received, food containers he or she could have accessed, and standard treats or rewards you may have given him/her. Be especially alert for access points in the kitchen or pantry that you may have left open.
  • Any illnesses diagnosed, or not, within the past month. These include spouts of vomiting, runny nose, lethargy, and general weakness.
  • Any medications your dog may be prescribed.
  • Any supplements your dog may be receiving, whether over-the-counter or self-prescribed.
  • Any new activities, or changes of environment. It’s important to note things like dog parks visited, new dogs met, and new people in your dog’s common environment.
  • Any history of allergies or dietary restrictions

The veterinarian will establish a history and a medical profile for your dog, both of which can assist in diagnosing stomach flu.

Fecal testing can reveal the presence of viruses in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract, though this method is not always reliable and cannot detect all types of viral agents. The veterinarian will most likely perform blood work and a urinalysis during the initial examination to rule out other, more serious conditions. The urinalysis will be helpful for detecting urinary tract infections, kidney disease, or general dehydration. Through the process of elimination, the veterinarian may attempt either abdominal radiographs, or abdominal ultrasounds. These tests will help the veterinarian search for any stomach or intestinal obstructions or other abnormalities. After this testing, the veterinarian may work towards a diagnosis of gastroenteritis, if not of stomach flu specifically. Laboratory testing and imaging are not necessary for a diagnosis of gastroenteritis but do eliminate other causes for exhibited symptoms.

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Treatment of Gastroenteritis in Dogs

Treatment for viral gastroenteritis is primarily supportive and focuses on the symptoms rather than the condition itself. Since your dog loses fluids through vomiting and diarrhea, rehydration is vital, as is proper maintenance of blood electrolyte balance. Fluids may be replenished orally or intravenously depending on the degree of dehydration.

The veterinarian may recommend that you withhold food for a day to allow your dog’s gastrointestinal tract to rest and recover. After this time, you can introduce soft, bland foods and gradually work back up to your dog’s normal diet. Medications are prescribed in severe cases to decrease your dog’s nausea and urge to vomit. Most cases of viral gastroenteritis can be resolved at home without the intervention of medication, provided your dog remains sufficiently hydrated.

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Recovery of Gastroenteritis in Dogs

Overcoming dehydration is important, be sure to provide your dog with plenty of fresh water, and limit or withhold food for several hours. The vomiting and diarrhea should improve within a day or two of treatment, at which time you can feed your dog small amounts of bland food, such as boiled chicken and rice. This allows your dog’s gastrointestinal tract to rest.

If the symptoms do not clear after a few days, or if your dog develops additional signs, return to the veterinarian immediately. Otherwise, the gastroenteritis should clear on its own, and no further examinations will be necessary. Most dogs recover fully from gastroenteritis, barring complications that may arise from severe dehydration.

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Gastroenteritis Average Cost

From 71 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800

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Gastroenteritis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Catahoula Leopard Dog

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic, Congested, Diarrhea, Slight Fever, Constant Itching

I think my pup may have gastroenteritis and maybe a virus or infection.. Its been going on for almost a year now.. She eats good but has no energy and it hurts her to try and run or jump...

Sept. 10, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I don't know of any viral diseases of the GI tract, or cases of gastroenteritis that would go on for a year and cause the signs that you're describing. I think there may be something else going on with her, and it is difficult to say what might be causing this without being able to see her, unfortunately. Since this seems to not be getting better, it would probably be a good idea at this point to make an appointment with a veterinarian and have her looked at. She definitely doesn't sound like she feels well, and they will be able to examine her, run any tests if needed, and figure out what's going on with her so that you can get treatment and she can feel better again. I hope that everything goes well for her.

Sept. 10, 2020

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Labrador Retriever

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Three Months

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting, Diarrhea, Loss Of Weight, Won’T Eat, Lethargic

The vet i took him to said he thinks it’s a stomach infection or worms but I’m still very worried about him. I haven’t seen any worms in his stool either.

Sept. 9, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question, I am sorry that your puppy is not doing well. He sounds very much like he may have Parvo virus, which is a contagious disease among puppies. It would be best to maybe take him to a different veterinarian, and have them run a Parvo virus test and a fecal. Some puppies with the signs that you are describing need intensive care to survive. I hope that he is okay.

Sept. 9, 2020

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Yorkie

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Seven Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Biting At Butt, Abnormal Behavior, Not Playing With Other Dog

was dx with gastroenteritis/dehydration 1 week ago. Stayed at vet overnight for iv fluids, sent home with ax. He is eating, having bm movements but still constantly biting at bottom and making him restless. He does not have fleas. A stray kitten showed up 2 weeks ago and we took it in. Could he be allergic? How long does gastroenteritis last? Is constant biting a sign of gastroenteritis? Please help, he is miserable.

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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Hello I'm sorry that your pup had gastroenteritis. Biting is not typically a symptom of gastroenteritis. He may not have fleas but he could have been bitten by one and is now very itchy. I recommend that you take him back to the vet and have him checked out. He may need an injection to help stop the itching. Good luck.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Rottweiler

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Eight Weeks

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Sleeping A Lot Vomiting Diarrea Doesn’T Want To Eat Doesn’T Want To Play This Has Been Going On For 2 Days Already

I am really concerned I think he needs medical attention right away but my parents think he just has a upset stomach that’s what is causing the diahhrea

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Puppies are very prone to parasites and infectious diseases like parvovirus, and without treatment, those can be fatal. I would agree with you that he needs to be seen by a veterinarian right away. They will be able to do some simple tests and see what might be going on with him. Once they know more they can get treatment for him so that he is healthy. I hope that he is okay.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Boxer

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea Lethargic

Picked up our boxer from kennel. She lost weight has liquid diaherra, won’t eat and lethargic

July 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Dogs can get stress colitis from being boarded, but they can also get parasites, and can eat things that they shouldn't. From your description, she does sound quite ill, and it would probably be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. They will be able to examine her and see what is going on,and get treatment for her so that she is healthy again. I hope that she is okay soon.

July 28, 2020

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Vida

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Labrador Retriever

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10 Years

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Lethargy
Vomitting
Tired
Not Eating, Not Drinking, No Moving

Please sign this petition for my dog Vida and other dogs for justice! https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/banfield-animal-hospital On April 13, My baby dog Vida woke up and did go for a walk very happy as always. Vida was a healthy happy baby. She came back from her walk and drank her water. after drinking her water, she started vomiting grass, and did vomited many times. we decided to take her to Banfield Hospital in Largo, Florida. when we got there we explained to the doctor that Vida was vomiting grass constantly, and we knew that she was poisoned. The vet took her inside. We had to wait for hours for her to bring Vida to us, outside the hospital. The vet approached us and told us that she was sure that Vida was not poisoned so did not requested any test. To her Vida looked like very healthy. The vet said that Vida had a stomach flu and prescribed medication for that. She totally ignored what we said about Vida. we brought her home, started giving the medication immediately to her. we realized that each day Vida was getting worse and the medication was not helping at all. Vida stopped eating, drinking, walking, had diarrhea, she looked like very sick and sad. On April 19, very early in the morning, we decided to take her to Banfield Hospital in Clearwater mall Florida. The vet came to us, and said that he will not be able to keep Vida there because banfield Hospital does not carry oxygen for large dogs like Vida. He said that we will be in need to contact an emergency hospital and request as ambulance. i called CARE Hospital. CARE hospital told me that they did not have an ambulance available to transport Vida. Without oxygen, without any treatment the vet at Banfield Hospital told us to put our baby Vida back in our car and take her to emergency hospital in Largo, 20 minutes away from where we were. Vida, was having a hard time breathing at this point, we knew that she was suffering in the back of the car. i had to cross all red traffic lights, i was waiving for every car to let us go, i want so badly save my baby dog life. when we got at Tampa bay specialists about 20 minutes later, My best friend, my beautiful amazing sweet daughter died. I was almost 11 years Banfield customer. Banfield misdiagnosed, malpracticed,and kill my baby dog. I hate this called hospital that did not took care of my baby dog, delivering an non acceptable service. I hope banfield shuts down and stop kill pets. I also, Hate CARE hospital for advertise that they have an ambulance in place when they dont have. those two places, in God's name should close soon. Help us do something at least against Banfield Hospital, sign the petition Moveon, and let's make them start paying for taking away our family members that we love so much. Pass this petition to all, to every one that reads this story. we need to get some justice done.

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Vida Marques

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Labrador Retriever

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10 Years

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Lethargy
Tired
Not Walking
Not Drinking, Not Eating, Vomitting
Weak Bones

Please sin the petition https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/banfield-animal-hospital for my dog Vida and other pets for justice! On April 13, my baby dog Vida who was a healthy dog did go for walk with my daughter. when she came back ,she did go straight to drink her water and started vomit grass. afterwards could not stop vomiting. we decided to take her to Banfield Hospital in Largo, Florida.when we got there, we explained to the vet that we knew Vida was poisoned. She ignored our saying and took my dog alone inside. Took hours and the vet brought Vida outside and told us that Vida was very healthy and she did not performed any test because of that, and she knows Vida was not poisoned. The vet diagnosed Vida with stomach virus,no test was performed at this hospital. The vet prescribed medication for this stomach virus. We realized that Vida started not eat, drink water, and not want to go for a walk, we clearly did see that the medication was not helping her at all, as a matter of fact she was getting worse. On April 19, Vida was not walking anymore, we saw her having difficult to breath, when was 8 am we decided to take her to Banfield Clearwater, Florida. when we got there, the vet told us that the oxygen that Banfield Hospital has is not for large dogs like Vida, and he told me to call an emergency hospital immediately. I call CARE Animal to request an ambulance and take Vida there. The supervisor at this hospital told me that at that day they did not have an ambulance available. The vet at Banfield Clearwater Florida told me that i will have to put Vida back in my car and take her to a emergency hospital in another city. without treatment, without oxygen, i had no other choice than put my baby back in my car and drive about 25 minutes with her suffering in the back of car. i crossed all red traffic lights, i waved to people let me go, i did all to try to keep my baby alive. when i got tampa bay specilist hospital about 20 minutes later my daughter, she was not just a dog to me, Vida was my daughter died. I hate this Banfield Hospital for malpractice( banfield Largo), CARE hospital that advertise that they have ambulances to serve the clearwater community, when they dont have and diservice me. Banfield Clearwater florida, that did not took care of my dog and without the treatment helped my dog to die. Banfield Hospital and CARE hospital should shut down forever.

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Chuka

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Red Nose Pit Bull

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5 Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Weakness
Vomiting
Not Eating
No Energy
Not Drinking Water
Smells Sour
Smells Bad/Sour
Urine Is Dark Yellow & Smells
Dripping From Butt

Hello. we have a red nose pit bull & for the past three days he hasn’t been feeling food & he hasn’t been able to eat or drink any water. We noticed that he’s losing weight & getting skinnier. We recently gave him his parvo shot but that didn’t seem to do anything. It looks like he’s having a hard time breathing.. & he has like this slight cough? It sounds like he’s ready to barf but then there’s nothing coming out. We’re just very worried for our chuka & scared to imagine what pain he’s going through. & he’s very weak, when he wants to stand. He rubs on the walls when he tries to walk. His butt is dripping liquid.. What should we do? Or What can we do? Would giving him baby Tylenol?

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Oreo

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Siberian Husky

dog-age-icon

4 Weeks

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

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Discomfort
Stomach Ache

I have a new puppy of husky as he was home i feed him the dog food he had all of it as he was very hungry. Then sudden that night he started vomiting and loose motion i took him to doctor at 3:00 am doctor told me to keep him on saline and stop oral feeding they asked me not to feed him or even give him water . He has become week and is contionusly on saline since 3 day he didnt had watet and anything else aswell . I honestly feel sad and feel he is dehydrated after giving saline aswell he pees out the that doesnt help but on second day doctor had asked me to give coconut water which even didnt help him digesting ... I want help can i please given some fresh water and some boiled rice mixed with yogurt as he improves his heath by eating atleast .

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rodger

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Indian Dog

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5 Years

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

Serious severity

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Not Eating Food Vomiting

I have an indian terrier. two weeks ago, he started giving up food. we went for a blood test and liver test, both of which turned out to be normal. as it is really hot in india (45 degree celcius ) , our vet told us that it is because of the heat. I am still really worried and he continues to refuse food. I am not really sure whats wrong with him.

Gastroenteritis Average Cost

From 71 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800

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