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Haematemesis is the presence of blood in vomitus. Flecks of blood are often seen in vomitus after a period of prolonged vomiting. However, if blood has been in contact with gastric juices (which includes hydrochloric acid) for any length of time it changes to a coffee-brown color. Often the blood in haematemesis looks more like coffee grounds from a percolator than fresh blood.

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Any cause of haemorrhage into the alimentary tract. It should be noted that the primary site of bleeding can actually be in the mouth (e.g. trauma to the tongue, or gums) or oesophagus and it is swallowed before it is vomited up. However in most cases the heamorrhage occurs in the stomach.

Causes include acute infections (e.g. canine parvovirus), haemorrhagic gastroenteritis, foreign body trauma in the tract, some drugs e.g. aspirin, gastric ulceration, clotting defects e.g. due to ingestion of warfarin.




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Last updated : October 2013