Dr David Gething
Stomach and Intestinal Problems
Stomach upsets and gastrointestinal problems are very common in Hong Kong. The main signs of gastrointestinal problems include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and bloating, gas and inappetence.
There are two main causes of gastrointestinal upset in Hong Kong - infection and irritation. Infections generally involve parasites or bacteria such as Giardia, Campylobacter, E. coli and Salmonella. Some infections can be passed to people, but basic hygiene such as washing hands and cleaning up pet waste will generally prevent any problems. Irritation is also a common cause of gastroenteritis. Many pets have a sensitive stomach and rapid changes in diet or spicy treats can cause intestinal inflammation and problems.
Some cases of gastroenteritis will clear by themselves - if the pet is generally happy and active and the signs are mild, you may wait for a day to see if it's just a passing upset. If a pet is very lethargic, vomiting or trying to vomit frequently, or has blood in vomit or stools it may be serious and should be checked immediately. Treatment normally includes medication to help prevent vomiting and diarrhoea, and possible antibiotics or anti-inflammatories if necessary. In serious cases hospitalisation and a drip may be required.