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Garbage Toxicosis (Garbage Gut)

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Diagnosis

Diagnosis is often based on history of exposure to raw food diets or garbage, contents of vomitus and clinical signs. Diagnostics should be performed on those pets that are having severe vomiting and diarrhea, are exhibiting other systemic signs of illness, or when the vomitus or stool contains blood. These tests may include:
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Biochemical profile
  • Urinalysis
  • Abdominal radiographs (X-rays)
  • Fecal examinations

    Treatment

    There are several things your veterinarian might recommend to treat your dog. The recommendations may vary depending on the severity of your dogs signs. The principal goals of symptomatic therapy are to restore and maintain fluid balance, limit absorption of the bacterial toxins, correct electrolyte imbalances and to completely rest the gastrointestinal tract.

  • If the garbage ingestion was recent, induction of vomiting may be recommended to empty the stomach. Hydrogen peroxide, syrup of ipecac or Apomorphine most commonly used to induce vomiting. For more information, read How to Induce Vomiting (Emesis) in Dogs. If your pet has ingested garbage, call your veterinarian and follow their instructions. If your dog is weak or having problems, vomiting may not be recommended due to risk of aspiration.

  • Activated charcoal may be used to minimize absorption of bacteria and toxins.

  • Fluid and electrolyte therapy is administered intravenously (IV).

  • Drugs that coat and sooth the GI tract – commonly used drugs Sucralfate (Carafate®), Famotidine (Pepcid®)and or Ranitidine HCl (Zantac®).

  • Drugs that symptomatically stop vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Antibiotics may be administered.

  • Nothing orally for several hours, with a gradual introduction of water followed by a bland diet.

  • Seizures may be controlled with drugs such as diazepam or methocarbamol.

  • A complication of this disease called Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) can occur and therapy may include plasma administration or heparin as well as intensive monitoring.

    Prognosis

    The prognosis is good early diagnosis and treatment. If shock or DIC has occur, the prognosis is poor. The clinical signs resolve in most dogs in 2 to 5 days.

    Prevention

    Do not allow your pets to roam. Feed only fresh food that is high quality. Do not feed your dog any table food that you wouldn't eat.

    Home Care

    Call your veterinarian, and follow all recommendations regarding feeding and medication. This will probably include withholding all food and water. Observe your pet very closely. If clinical signs are not improving over a day or two, and/or your pet is getting worse, have your pet evaluated at once.


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