Vomiting - Cats>
When Is a Hairball a Sign of Sickness?
Every cat owner knows the telltale sound of an incoming hairball. For many, cleaning up vomit is just another part of feline care. However, hairballs and vomiting can indicate health conditions in cats ranging from cancer and kidney disease to allergies or internal obstruction. If your cat only vomits occasionally and does not exhibit any other symptoms, it is most likely not a cause for concern. The only exception is if the vomit consists mostly of blood, in which case you should immediately make an appointment with Animal Wellness Center for diagnosis and treatment.
Cats can throw up any of the following:
- Bile or other bodily fluids
Fur or hairballs are the most common thing for cats to vomit. Since cats clean themselves by licking their fur, strands can be accidentally ingested. They gather in the esophagus or stomach and your cat cannot digest it. Eventually, the collection gets big enough that your cat has to throw it up to prevent forming a blockage in their intestines. Fortunately, hairballs are harmless and normal for all cats.
Brushing your cats will help reduce the amount of hairballs your cat vomits. Cats with long fur or in multi-cat households should be regularly groomed to prevent ingesting too much fur. There are also special cat hairball remedies you can feed your cat to help.
Cats can vomit as a result of a food allergy. If your cat eats the same brand and type of dry food, their body may begin to reject it. The solution here is to simply provide new food for your cat every few weeks. If your cat is a picky eater, begin by mixing the new food in with the old so they can get accustomed to the new flavor. After a few months of the “new” food, you can try switching back to the original food to see if it still causes an allergic reaction.
Milk and dairy products are another possible culprit. While cats love a chance to eat anything dairy related, they cannot digest it properly. While they aren’t entirely lactose intolerant, this usually results in vomit or diarrhea. Certain plants will also cause a toxic reaction in cats, leading to vomiting.
Finally, eating too fast can lead to vomiting. If your cat gulps down their food and then immediately runs off to play, the food doesn’t have a chance to settle in their stomach. The solution here is to keep your kitty contained while they eat so they have time to digest. This behavior is more common in energetic kittens, though older cats can have the same problem.
Vomiting Blood (Hematemesis)
If your cat is vomiting blood, known as hematemesis, you need to take them to vets of Animal Wellness Center immediately for treatment. Blood may be either dark or bright red, depending on the source. They may have an internal injury from something they ate, poisoning, worms, or an infection. Any of these conditions can be fatal for your pet.
Note: If your cat vomits something which is very dark in color and resembles coffee grounds, this is blood from the lower digestive system.
Vomiting Bile and Other Bodily Fluids
If your cat is hungry and does not eat, they may begin to throw up a white fluid resembling foam. This is stomach acid. Just like people, cats produce stomach acid when they are hungry. If they do not eat food, the acid can rise and escape as vomit.
Treating a Vomiting Cat
Once the cause of your cat’s vomiting has been determined, treatment can begin. Animal Wellness Center veterinarians have the latest medical technology to provide an accurate diagnosis for your feline friend. Ultrasounds and X-rays will show us what is causing your cat to vomit.
Surgery may be required to stop internal bleeding or remove an obstruction. The surgical staff of Animal Wellness Center will walk you through the procedure so you fully understand the options available for your cat.