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What to Expect at the Vet Visit

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So you have scheduled an appointment to have your dog with an upset stomach see a vet, what to expect? First and foremost, keep a careful eye on your dog while waiting for your appointment. It's important to be aware of a few emergency causes of dog upset stomach as those listed here: dog upset stomach medical emergencies.

Also, take a look at this article on what to tell your vet with a checklist of things you should tell your vet, so you are better prepared: important things about your dog's upset stomach your vet should know. As the time is ticking, here is what to expect at that upcoming vet visit.

Your Dog's Upset Stomach Visit.

As always, you'll be checked in by your receptionist and likely asked to sit in the waiting room as the vet finishes up earlier appointments and the examining room is cleaned up.

A vet tech or trained receptionist should be keeping an eye on the health status of the dogs in the examining room. This is called "patient triage." When you are called in, a vet tech may start collecting some basic info in regards to symptoms and foods eaten and may take your dog's weight and temperature. When the vet comes in, he will review this basic info and ask more questions. In the next paragraphs, we will see some common diagnostic tests vets may recommend for your dog's upset stomach.

Please note this list is interactive, meaning you can click on the hyperlinks to learn more about each procedure.

[adinserter block="4"]Physical Examination

The vet will examine the dog, look at the eyes, gums, inside the mouth and will palpate the dog's abdomen. The vet will also listen to the heart and the abdomen with a stethoscope to detect any abnormal sounds or lack of.

Fecal Test

If you brought any feces to be checked out, the vet may inspect them for any signs of parasites, but the sample will need to be checked with a microscope to be sure. This can be done in house or sent off to a laboratory. Most vets will call you at home with the results and if the fecal test turns positive, you will be prescribed a dewormer.

Blood tests

Blood tests may be recommended to check for any abnormalities.

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If your dog is a young puppy, a parvo test may be done. This is a fast and simple fecal test that yields results within minutes.

Abdominal X-rays

Dogx-rays or contrast x-rays may be done if your vet suspects a foreign intestinal blockage based on the dog's history and physical findings or a twisted stomach. Sometimes, foreign objects cannot be visualized in the gastrointestinal tract. In this case, the vet may need to have a barium study done. In this case, the dog ingests a liquid dye that is meant to outline any abnormalities in the gastrointestinal tract via x-ray.

Further tests Based on Findings

Further testing may be suggested based on any abnormalities found during the vet visit,


[adinserter block="5"]An endoscopic exam under anesthesia may be needed if the vet suspects something stuck in the esophagus, the tube that connects your dog's mouth to his stomach or in the stomach.

If an item causing a blockage was recently ingested, your vet may be able to retrieve it with an endoscope without the need of performing surgery.

However, items stuck in the intestine cannot be retrieved as the endoscope cannot reach that.


An ultrasound may be helpful for further evaluation such as when suspecting a foreign body and the x-rays came back inconclusive.


If the dog's abdomen appears filled with fluids, (ascites) the vet may insert a hollow needle in the abdomen to collect a sample and determine the nature of the fluid.

Exploratory Surgery

Sometimes, when other diagnostic tests are unsuccessful, the vet may recommend an exploratory surgery. The dog's abdomen is excised in hopes of finding the culprit.

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