Not Fun for you or your cat – Vomiting

Hairballs, vomit, unidentifiable objects… A lot of stuff is expelled from Fluffy’s mouth on a regular basis. Often times our cats vomit and we regard it as “just something cats do.” However, while sometimes it might be harmless, cat owners should pay special attention to when their kitty friends vomit.
Veterinarians are quick to point out that vomiting is not a specific disease or diagnosis in and of itself, but rather a clinical sign that can occur describes the active expulsion of food from the stomach. Vomiting may be caused by disorders of the stomach, but it is a clinical sign that can occur with many diseases and problems. Cats can vomit quite readily, and sporadic vomiting in an otherwise healthy cat may not indicate anything out-of-the-ordinary. This is especially true if the expelled material consists of mostly hair. It’s a normal process for cats to swallow hair while they are grooming themselves, and they might periodically vomit hairballs.
When should cat owners be concerned about their cat? While vomiting can be a result of something minor (for example, consuming a meal too quickly), Fluffy’s vomiting can be a sign of a much more serious condition. Typically, cats vomit because they ate something disagreeable with their system (pay attention to your cat’s tolerance of his/her food), ate too much, or played/exercised too quickly after eating. However, vomiting can also be associated with gastrointestinal or systemic disorders.

Acute vomiting is when your cat is suddenly ill for less than two to three days. The majority of cases of acute vomiting is quickly resolved with simple treatment, without the underlying cause being diagnosed. The cause of most acute vomiting that is readily resolved without intervention is often never established and may be due to relatively trivial factors such as food intolerance. In a small number of acute vomiting cases, it is more serious because typically the vomiting leads to complications such as dehydration, or because a more serious underlying cause is suspected. Regardless, take your cat to the vet if their acute vomiting is out-of-the-ordinary. According to the ASPCA, some causes of acute vomiting, include:

• Bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal tract
• Diet-related causes (diet change, food intolerance)
• Gastric or intestinal foreign bodies (toys, hairballs)
• Intestinal parasite
• Acute kidney failure
• Acute liver failure or gall bladder inflammation
• Pancreatitis
• Post-operative nausea
• Toxins or chemicals
• Viral infections
• Certain medications

Most cases of acute vomiting respond to simple symptomatic treatment. Symptomatic treatment is when your veterinarian advises withholding food from Fluffy for anywhere between 6-24 hours. After this time period, your vet will typically advise you to feed your cat an easily digested, bland diet in small quantities given frequently (4-6 times per day). A diet based on boiled chicken, boiled rice, and plenty of water is often recommended. Depending on the severity of the situation, your veterinarian may prescribe medication to control vomiting and/or relieve inflammation. If your cat does not improve with symptomatic treatment, your veterinarian may make a change in medication or perform further tests to evaluate his/her condition more thoroughly.
If your cat vomits frequently, this could be a sign of a more serious problem. The ASPCA identifies the following as some causes of frequent vomiting:

• Colitis
• Gastritis
• Pancreatitis
• Diaphragmatic hernia
• Diet related (food allergy or intolerance)
• Foreign bodies
• Gastrointestinal ulceration
• Heartworm infection
• Intestinal obstruction
• Kidney failure
• Liver failure
• Neurological disorders
• Parasites
• Severe constipation
• Toxicity (such as lead)
• Gastric or intestinal tumors

Here at Planned Property Management, our residents’ safety and health are of the utmost priorities. If you believe your cat is experiencing gastrointestinal distress, it is important to get him/her to your vet. If it is an emergency, the closest emergency hospital for cats in any of the PPM buildings is the Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center located at 3123 N. Clybourn Ave (Clybourn and Oakley).

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