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Ask the Veterinarian/Vomiting Labrador Retriever


I have I have 3 dogs. Two black labs, and one pomeranian. About four or five days ago, one of my labs started throwing up and was very constipated. The vomiting only lasted for a day, but he wouldn't eat and would just lay around for about four days after that. He would rarely get up, and when he did get up to walk somewhere, he would walk very slowly, and seemed like he was wore out from just walking a few feet.
  I took him to the vet, and the vet said that it was just something he ate. He said to feed him a bland diet for a few days and he should be better. I couldnt get him to eat much. I was able to get him to eat a little bit of rice, but that was it. However, yesterday (day 5 of the illnes) he started acting a lot better. He was getting up and being more active and even eating his regular food. And today, he seems 100% better! He is running around, playing, and eating normal. He does still seem to be a bit constipated though.

 The problem is my other lab started throwing up 2 days ago. He only vomited a little on the first day, and is now acting just like my other lab did when he was sick. He will not walk, or eat. My vet said that he probably got into the same thing that my other lab did, but I don't know how he could have eaten the same thing a few days later. And I'm not sure what they could have gotten in to that made them so sick. They didnt get into the trash and there are no chemicals are anything that is in their reach.

 Another thing I found odd, is that my pomeranian never got sick, only my labs. Before I took them to the vet, I looked up their symptoms online, and based on what I had read, I was convinced the had leptospirosis.  I have a pond on my land that both of my labs love to swim in. I told my vet this, but he thought there was no need to test them because they have both been vaccinated.

 My question is, should I take my other dog ( the one that is sick now) back to the vet? Is there a canine stomach virus that they could have caught? And the lab that is better, is still a little constipated, is there anything I can do for him?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my question. Any info you could give me on the subject would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Tracy,
Dogs don't get sick like that with Leptospirosis. It's a bacterial disease that affects the kidneys and is often fatal.
While they CAN get it from stagnant ponds, it's usually where deer, rodents and raccoons have been urinating that they get it. Most likely it's some kind of  bacteria giving them a stomach ache or gastritis. They may have gotten it from then pond, or it could also be something they ate in the yard, like cat poop, etc. Dogs will often eat things that fall out of trees, or dead things like half a rabbit or squirrel that was killed by something else, (usually a cat) then found by the dogs. Dogs with Lepto are very, very ill and don't get well without supportive therapy. Some of them never recover.

Dogs that swim in ponds can get a lot of things that are not good and some can be deadly to them. One is a protozoan called Giardia, and if the pond gets blue-green algae in it that can kill a dog very quickly. Giardia gives them massive diarrhea and cramping. That's the opposite of what you described.

Since they are on the mend, I wouldn't worry about Lepto or giardia. The not wanting to walk is common with stomach distress in dogs. Like we want to curl up fetally when our stomach hurts really bad, a dog just wants to lie very still. That is also why they won't eat. Dogs do get viruses but stomach viruses are not very common with dogs.

One dog might not have eaten as much of the "thing" that was found and thus got sick later from it, where as the first dog ate more and got sick faster.

I am very grateful they are recovering! You should call the vet and let them know that the second dog is sick and if they suggest an antibiotic injection then get him in.

I would feed them just a small amount of food soaked in some low sodium chicken broth. You could add a little olive oil to it to help with the constipation but fiber is the key. Rice helps but it's mostly for diarrhea, not constipation. Canned pumpkin works great and most dogs love it. Make sure it is not spiced or seasoned, but just plain canned pumpkin.

If you want to read more about Lepto, here is a good article on it. Note that the symptoms are fever, vomiting, lethargy and possible bright red urine (from passing blood in the kidneys).

After reading it you will also see that it is extremely zoonotic, so if your vet thought the dogs might have it he would have used a lot more caution and warned you as well.

Glad they are on the mend!  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

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Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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