Does coffee-ground looking vomit and fresh blood in vomit both mean bleeding?

Our question this week was:

What is the difference if you see fresh blood vs. coffee grounds in vomit – do they both mean bleeding?


Sarah M, Grove City, Ohio


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote asking ….what does blood coming from the stomach look like when vomited? If there is bleeding in the stomach, and vomiting occurs immediately – the vomit can have fresh looking blood. If the bleeding occurs and the blood is exposed to digestive enzymes – the blood will become digested and appear as "coffee-grounds". It will look like small specks or flake of black. As the digested blood works it way though the digestive tract – it will appear be eliminated as a tarry black bowel movement.

A couple articles that might be helpful to you are Hematemesis (Vomiting Blood) in Dogs, Melena (Blood in Stool) in Dogs and Hematochezia (Blood in Stool) in Dogs

By the way…

Hematemesis = blood in the vomit
Melana = digested blood in the feces
Hematochezia = fresh blood in the feces

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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