Vomiting and diarrhea may indicate a primary gastrointestinal (GI) disorder or a manifestation of a systemic, non-GI disease. A thorough history helps characterize the problem as acute, chronic, intermittent, recurrent, and/or progressive. The veterinary team’s initial goal is to distinguish between a mild, self-limiting GI problem and a more serious disorder. If the condition is determined to be serious, the patient may require a more complete diagnostic workup and possibly hospitalization for advanced treatment.
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There are many causes of acute vomiting and diarrhea (see Table 1), and more than one may be present. Primary GI disorders may be distinguished from metabolic or systemic diseases that can affect more than one system.
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