Can I Treat My Cats Vomiting At Home
There are no at-home treatments that you can safely give your cat to prevent or treat vomiting. Human medications can be toxic to cats, causing problems that are even worse than the vomiting that you are trying to treat. Resist the temptation to use home remedies and follow your veterinarians guidance.
Treating Acute Vomiting In Cats
The first step in properly treating your cat for vomiting is identifying the underlying cause. First, your veterinarian will do noninvasive diagnostics. This includes:
A chemistry and CBC to screen for diseases such as kidney disease and diabetes.
A fecal exam to rule out parasites.
Abdominal radiographs to rule out larger tumors or foreign bodies that might be causing an obstruction.
If these tests are normal, and your cat is acutely vomiting, your veterinarian will likely recommend supportive treatments with anti-nausea medications.
Cats that vomit from hairballs can be placed on a special high-fiber diet along with a medication to help ease the passage of hairballs.
Feline Infectious Peritonitis In Cats
Feline infectious peritonitis is a viral disease in cats which carries a high mortality due to its characteristic aggressiveness and nonresponsiveness to fever, along with other complications. This disease is comparatively high in multi-cat households as compared to those with a single cat. It is difficult to diagnose, control, and prevent, and in cases of outbreaks within breeding catteries and kennels, can result in a high number of deaths. It is most often spread through inhalation of airborne contaminants and infected feces, but the virus can also be transmitted by humans who have come into contact with the virus, or can stay active on surfaces that have been contaminated.
This disease exploits weakened and immature immune systems, spreading by way of the white blood cells as they move throughout the body. The highest incidence is found in kittens three months to three years of age, with incidence decreasing sharply after cats reach three years of age, when the immune system is stronger. Likewise, older cats with weakened immune systems are also more likely to acquire this disease.
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Common Cat Parasites And Reasons To Avoid Them
There are many types of parasites that can pose a threat to your cat. In some cases, these parasites and/or the diseases that they carry can also pose a threat to your family. Theres really no need to panic though.
Fortunately, we can control most of these parasites reasonably easily. Here are some of the parasites you should make sure your cat is protected against along with the reasons why its important to keep your cat free of them.
- Ticks can also plague cats, particularly those that spend time outdoors. Ticks, like fleas, feed on your cats blood. They attach to your cats skin via specialized mouthparts, feed on your cats blood until satiated, then fall off and continue their life cycle. Ticks can be responsible for spreading other diseases to your cat too. For instance, in some parts of the country, cytauxzoonosis, or bobcat fever, is a serious and often fatal disease for infected cats and the disease is spread through the bite of infected ticks.
- Toxoplasmosis is a protozoan parasite. Cats serve as a definitive host for the disease and are capable of passing the disease to people. Infected cats usually develop only mild symptoms of illness if they become symptomatic at all. However, toxoplasmosis can be particularly harmful for pregnant women. The disease can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, or birth defects if the mother is infected during her pregnancy. There is also some risk for people who have compromised immune systems.
Dr. Lorie Huston
Cat Vomit Diagnostic Hacks
A hairball every now and then may not be a reason to call your vet, but if your cat starts vomiting frequently or the hairballs are large and seem to be causing your pet discomfort, you may want to have your feline friend in for a checkup.
According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, most vets start by determining if the vomiting is related to hairballs. Then they maymove to discussing possible ingestion of harmful objects or substances in your home. If the cause is not obvious, your vet may recommend additional testing such as bloodwork, a fecal examination or X-rays or an ultrasound to find the problem.
It’s helpful to know that most vets will approach cat vomiting this way so that you can gather useful information prior to your appointment. When visit your vet, be prepared to describe your cat’s recent surroundings, activities and vomiting frequency and appearance.
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When To Be Concerned About Feline Vomiting
While there are many joys that come with owning a cat, one drawback some owners may be familiar with is the occasional discovery of cat vomit. This aspect of cat ownership may spark concern in pet parents, but vomiting in cats can result from a variety of conditions, from benign to harmful.
Dr. Lori Teller, an associate professor in the Texas A& M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, says that one common reason a cat may vomit is hairballs. When cats groom themselves, they may swallow loose fur that clumps in their gastrointestinal tract. These clumps eventually become irritating, causing the cat to vomit up the hairball to prevent an obstruction.
Cats may also vomit because theyve gotten into something, such as plant material, loose thread or string-type material, rubber bands or paperclips, bones, a piece of toy, or something toxic, Teller said. Foreign bodies can cause partial or complete obstruction of the GI tract and lead to vomiting.
A range of illnesses can also cause vomiting. An inexhaustive list includes kidney disease, liver disease, gastrointestinal parasites, food sensitivities, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, hyperthyroidism, and other metabolic conditions.
Almost all cats will vomit on occasion, so its pretty common, Teller said. If a cat vomits every now and then and is otherwise healthywith a normal appetite, water consumption, activity level, and bowel movementsthen generally we are not too worried about it.
Why Is My Cat Throwing Up
While an occasional hairball can be expected, its not normal for a cat to throw up regularly. Vomiting in cats is a problem for two reasons. First, vomiting can be a sign of a serious medical problem. Second, and just as important, vomiting is painful, stressful, and can cause your cat to become anxious or just not feel well. Its important to figure out and try to resolve the underlying reason your cat is throwing up as quickly as possible.
There are two categories of vomiting in cats acute and chronic. Acute vomiting in cats comes on suddenly, is short in duration, and may resolve on its own. If the underlying cause doesnt resolve or isnt removed or treated, acute vomiting may become progressively worse and even become chronic if left untreated. Chronic vomiting happens occasionally or regularly for a week or more.
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What Is The Symptomatic Treatment For Acute Vomiting
Non-specific symptomatic treatment is often prescribed initially in mild cases of acute vomiting. Your veterinarian will usually advise you to feed your cat an easily digested, bland diet in small quantities given frequently. A veterinary prescription diet specifically formulated to be easy to digest is often recommended. Alternatively, a specific home-cooked diet may be recommended. It is important that the cat does not receive any other foods other than what your veterinarian advises during this period.
“Water should be freely available and is important to prevent dehydration.”
Water should be freely available and is important to prevent dehydration. If the cat is improving, the quantity of food offered at any one time can gradually be increased back to a normal quantity and then the cat’s normal diet can be reintroduced gradually over several days.
In some cases, your veterinarian may prescribe medication to control vomiting or relieve inflammation, for example maropitant citrate famotidine or metronidazole . This approach allows the body’s healing mechanisms to correct the problem.
If your cat does not improve with symptomatic treatment, your veterinarian may make a change in medication or perform further tests to evaluate the problem more thoroughly.
Serious Symptoms Of Cat Vomiting
It is essential that you notify your vet immediately if your cat vomits fresh blood or material that looks similar to coffee grounds, or if your cat has abdominal pain. Your cat may have a serious illness. You will also need to contact your vet immediately if your cat vomits any fecal material. This is a possible symptom of an intestinal obstruction or peritonitis.
If your cat experiences forceful projectile vomiting in which the stomach contents are suddenly ejected, you need to contact your veterinarian. Your cat may have a serious illness. Causes for projectile vomiting may include strictures or a complete blockage in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Other causes for projectile vomiting include:
- Foreign bodies
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Signalment And Clinical History
Retrospective analysis suggests that the prevalence of urinary, neoplastic, cardiovascular, and GI diseases increases with age, whereas the prevalence of infectious and traumatic diseases decreases.9 Cats with outdoor access often have greater exposure to parasites and retroviruses, although all cats should be considered at risk. Although these trends can help guide the formation of an appropriate initial diagnostic plan, atypical presentation is possible.
Cats with chronic vomiting should be assessed for the changes listed in Box 1. Polydipsia with polyuria should be differentiated from polydipsia in the absence of polyuria. The latter can result from increased GI water loss, which is not always accompanied by diarrhea. Fecal scoring charts should be reviewed with clients to determine fecal consistency. If present, diarrhea should be categorized and the presence of blood determined. Weight loss should be subdivided into changes to fat stores, muscle mass, or both.
If GI disease is diagnosed, the feline chronic enteropathy activity index should be calculated to quantitate the severity of disease,10 thereby facilitating more accurate evaluation of the patients response to therapy.
How Is Gastroenteritis Treated
Once the results of the diagnostic tests are known and other causes of the clinical signs have been eliminated, your veterinarian will prescribe a treatment plan. The principal treatment of gastroenteritis consists of rehydration and the restoration of blood electrolyte balance . Depending on the cats degree of dehydration, this fluid replacement may be given orally, subcutaneously , or by intravenous treatment.
Medical treatment may also include:
- Antibiotics may be administered if the clinical signs are severe or if diagnostic tests suggest a bacterial infection.
- Anti-emetic or anti-vomiting medications, for example maropitant or metoclopramide , may be given to your cat.
- Gastrointestinal protectants, for example famotidine or ranitidine , may be used to prevent stomach ulcers .
Food may be withheld for 8-12 hours during the initial stages of treatment and then slowly be reintroduced via small, frequent feedings of a highly digestible, low fat diet. Your veterinarian will advise you on the best diet to feed your cat for a speedy recovery.
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Bacterial Infection Of The Gastrointestinal Tract
Another potential reason for acute vomiting is a bacterial infection in the gastrointestinal tract. Like people, cats have normal, healthy bacteria that live in their gut and help with digestion and nutrient absorption.
However, if theres an overgrowth of bad bacteria due to an infection, the normal intestinal functions are greatly affected, leading to diarrhea and vomiting.
While many bacterial gastrointestinal tract infections clear up in about a weeks time, we recommend seeking veterinary treatment for the underlying cause of the infection, as it may likely resurface if not handled appropriately.
Also, it is important to monitor your cats weight and hydration as the infection clears.
When Should I Worry About My Cat Vomiting
We start to worry about cats being sick when theyve vomited frequently in a single day or a couple of times over a few days. Its also a cause for concern when they stop eating altogether or will try and eat but bring the food and water back up. This can be considered an emergency because your cat isnt able to keep anything down and can quickly become dehydrated and lead to an issue with sugar. If your cats vomiting is accompanied by any other symptoms such as lethargy, diarrhoea or pale gums, if theres blood in their vomit or theyre showing signs of pain, dont delay in contacting your vet.
- Allergic reaction to a food
- Heat stroke
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Why Is My Cat Vomiting
Vomiting in cats can be caused by or associated with a wide range of underlying disorders.
We have compiled a list of the possible causes of cat vomiting.
We always recommend that you consult with your veterinarian if your cat has severe, uncontrolled vomiting. Diagnosis is always best left to the experts.
- A cat vomiting phlegm or a white foam could be a sign of respiratory disease.
- A cat vomiting bile or yellow or green-colored vomit may be a sign of a twisted bowel or intussusception . Your kitty will also have a lack of appetite, tender abdomen and be listless.
- A cat vomiting blood may have an obstruction or an intestinal or gastric bleed due to trauma or a tumor.
- A cat vomiting after anesthesia or after surgery is quite common. If the vomiting persists, seek veterinary advice immediately.
- Kittens that present with projectile vomiting shortly after been weaned may indicate that your kitten has pyloric stenosis .
As there are so many reasons why your cat may be vomiting, it is important to get and accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
For the diagnosis and treatment of cat vomiting we recommend visiting this chapter.
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What Are Some Of The Causes Of Gastroenteritis
There are many causes of vomiting and diarrhea in cats. Some of the more common conditions that your veterinarian will attempt to rule out during the diagnostic work-up include:
- foreign bodies or other objects
- endocrine diseases
- pancreatic, liver, or kidney disease
This is only a partial list of some of the more serious conditions that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats. Your veterinarian may discuss other possibilities based on your cats specific condition or history.
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When Should I Call My Vet
You need to call your vet if your cats vomiting is persistent and/or if:
- There is blood in your cats vomit.
- You suspect your cat has eaten something poisonous.
- Your cat has a fever or is depressed.
- Your cat is trying to vomit but nothing comes out.
- Your cat appears to be in pain.
- Your cats gums are yellow or very pale.
Should I Call The Vet If My Cat Throws Up
You should call your veterinarian right away if:
Your cat vomits more than two to three times in a row.
Your cat has other symptoms, such as not eating and diarrhea. If your cat is also having diarrhea, it will be difficult to keep them hydrated without seeing your veterinarian.
Your cat does not eat or drink for 12 hours and has vomited several times in a row.
Your cat has already been diagnosed with an illnesses . This is an emergency, and your cat should be seen immediately, as this could mean that their disease is progressing. Early medical intervention is necessary in these patients, as they can become dehydrated very quickly.
Your cat has vomited a worm. You need to deworm your cat and any other animals in the household as soon as possible. It is also important to keep the environment clean and scoop the litter boxes several times a day to ensure that your pets do not get reinfected.
Suitable Protein Sources Include:
- Boiled white rice
- Cooked pasta
Once cooked, cool and serve the home-made diet in small portions. The liquid from the rice cooker can be included in the food to add extra fluid intake for your cat. Always store home-made food in the fridge and try not to prepare more than what is needed in one day so that it stays fresh and tasty for your cat. Warm the food to room temperature before offering it to your cat .
Begin by feeding protein portion to carbohydrate portion in small meals. Feed 3-5 small meals evenly distributed throughout the day. The amount of the portions depends on how much your cat weighs. Talk to your vet about the amount of home-made diet that is right for your cat.
As your cat improves, their meals can slowly get larger and less frequent.
Once your cat has completely returned to normal for a few days, you can gradually re-introduce them to their regular food. Its important to do this slowly to decrease the risk of stomach upset recurring.
Causes Of Chronic Cat Vomiting
We want to make sure our readers understand that no kind of vomiting is considered to be normal, despite what you may have heard. Some reasons behind the vomiting are less severe than others, but no vomiting should be overlooked entirely.
In cases of chronic vomiting, pet owners should be on high alert, as continued vomiting can signal an unresolved medical condition.
Food intolerance and food allergies can cause chronic vomiting. Pet owners may not realize that their beloved cats and dogs can develop allergies just like people.
In fact, food allergies are often the underlying cause of cat vomiting that occurs intermittently over a long period of time.
If your cat has normal energy levels, is a healthy weight, and doesnt appear ill but throws up from time to time, you may want to look into whether they have developed a food allergy.
Over time, a cats digestive system can become sensitive to an ingredient and actually mount an immune response against that ingredient. This response can inflame the digestive tract and possibly lead to the development of food allergies.
Removing the offending protein from the diet is the best way to prevent vomiting due to food allergies. A food elimination trial, which is a lengthy and sometimes expensive process, will help your veterinarian determine which protein is causing your cats food allergies.
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