Most causes of vomiting foam are not serious, and they may include air coming back up with the food, throwing up stomach bile, or even vomiting swallowed saliva. Other times, vomiting foam can be a sign of a serious medical condition such as pancreatitis or heart conditions. In dogs, foamy vomit can be the sign of bloat, a life threatening medical condition.
In the majority of cases, vomiting foam will be nothing to worry about. Many times it simply means that there wasn't much food left in the stomach at the time, so stomach bile or even previously swallowed saliva comes up instead. Liquid vomit can also come up mixed with air, giving it a foamy appearance. This may be more likely in those who have been throwing up a lot previously or who have felt nauseated for a long period of time, since this means that an empty stomach is more likely.
Vomiting foam can also be caused by throwing up stomach bile. In some cases this could be indicative of a more serious health condition, such as liver failure, but much of the time it is caused by drinking too much alcohol or having a empty stomach. When someone throws up all of their stomach contents and doesn't replenish them, that person may have to vomit again but have nothing to come up. Eventually, the gagging associated with vomiting can bring bile up instead.
In some cases, vomiting foam can be caused for concern. It can be the sign of certain digestive disorders of the pancreas or liver, especially if the foam is persistent or if vomiting only results in the regurgitation of foam rather than food. In many cases, there will be other symptoms present along with the vomiting. These can include abdominal pain, cramping, and in the case of liver problems, a discoloration of the skin.
Many times, vomiting foam is associated with dogs and cats. In animals, this could be the sign of a serious medical conditions known as bloat. Bloat is a flipping of the stomach, and it is most common in large breed dogs. Cats may also have foamy vomit with some health conditions, including heart problems.
Anyone with vomit containing foam should seek medical attention, especially if other symptoms are present and vomiting is persistent. If an animal is throwing up, emergency vet care may be needed. If bloat is to blame, it can kill an animal fairly quickly so immediate treatment is required.