Vomiting and regurgitation are common problems in pets. It is important to distinguish the two because they imply different disorders. Vomiting is an expulsion of stomach content associated with obvious abdominal contractions and retching. Regurgitation is "spitting up" content of the esophagus not associated with abdominal contractions, and violent muscle activity. 

Vomiting is very common in animals. It may indicate serious problems or just a transient, marginally important event. Dogs and cats will often ingest grass and vomit it. They "clean the stomach" from "hair-balls", foreign material or irritants. On occasion mild indigestion will end up in vomiting of short duration. Young animals infested with worms will sporadically vomit round worms. Persistent vomiting is always a reason for alarm.  In young animals, especially dogs, foreign material and poison ingestion are common and may end up with obstruction, severe gastro-intestinal or systemic damage. Vomiting in these cases is persistent and at times projectile. Infectious diseases such as Parvovirus, Distemper, E.coli and Salmonella are not infrequent. Older animals may vomit because of systemic (kidney, liver, pancreas or other organ) diseases or tumors involving the digestive and other systems. 

Regurgitation indicates a problem in the upper digestive tract. Pharyngeal or esophageal foreign bodies, such as a small ball, bone or a treat, may be lodged and obstruct the inflow of food and water. Profuse salivation is seen in these cases. Another common reason for regurgitation is a dilatation of the esophagus, called megaesophagus. It is a relatively common congenital problem in young dogs, but occurs at all ages for multiple reasons. Regurgitation is often a serious problem which is difficult to treat as well as to diagnose.  

Any animal exhibiting regurgitation or serious vomiting should be treated promptly, as dehydration, electrolyte alterations and other complications, quickly become life threatening. The veterinarian will run several diagnostic tests such as blood test and x-rays in order to formulate a specific treatment.

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