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Cats Vomiting


FACTSHEET

 

 

 
 

Contents

 

What causes vomiting?

Vomiting is not a disease; rather, it is a symptom of many different diseases. Many cases of vomiting are self-limiting after a few days. Less commonly, vomiting may result from a serious illness, such as cancer. Even when vomiting is caused by mild illnesses, it may lead to death of the animal if treatment is not begun early enough to prevent severe fluid and nutrient losses.

 

How serious is vomiting in cats?

Some cats vomit because they eat too fast ("their eyes are bigger than their stomach") and of course most cats vomit hair balls now and then. This is considered typical of normal cats.

 

Your veterinarian will attempt to determine how sick the cat has become as a consequence of the vomiting. When the cat is systemically ill (that is, more than one body system is involved), some of the following may be noted:

  • Diarrhea

  • Dehydration

  • Loss of appetite

  • Abdominal pain

  • High fever

  • Lethargy

  • Bloody vomiting

What types of tests are performed to find the cause?

If vomiting is associated with several of the above signs, your veterinarian will perform a series of tests in the hope that a diagnosis may be made. When this can be done, more specific treatment may be initiated. Diagnostic tests may include radiography (x-rays) with or without barium, blood tests, biopsies of the stomach and intestinal tract, and exploratory abdominal surgery. Once the diagnosis is known, treatment may include special medications, diets, and/or surgery.

 

If your cat does not appear systemically ill from the vomiting, the cause may be less serious. Some of the minor causes of vomiting include stomach or intestinal viruses, stomach or intestinal parasites, and dietary indiscretions (such as eating garbage or other offensive or irritating materials). A minimum number of tests are performed to rule out certain parasites and infections.

 

These cases may be treated with drugs to control the motility of the intestinal tract, drugs that relieve inflammation in the intestinal tract, and, often, a special diet for a few days. This approach allows the body's healing mechanisms to correct the problem. Improvement is expected within 2-4 days. If this does not occur, a change in medication or further tests are done to better understand the problem.

 

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Vomiting Questionnaire:

  1. How long has the vomiting been present?

  2. Is the vomiting more or less frequent than a few days ago?

  3. What is the consistency and color of the vomit?

  4. Is there any blood in the vomit?

  5. Is your cat's appetite normal? If not, is she eating at all?

  6. Have there been any changes in your cat's diet recently?

  7. Does your cat get any treats or table foods?

  8. Has your cat gotten into the garbage or plants?

  9. Does your cat have access to thread, needles, rubber bands, ribbon, or string?

  10. Does your cat have diarrhea? If so, for how long and which started first?

  11. Does your cat go outside?

  12. Do you have any other pets who are vomiting?

  13. Is your cat as active as normal?

  14. Are there any changes in water consumption?

  15. Has your cat lost weight recently?

  16. Has your cat been chewing on anything?

  17. Is there anything missing around the house?

  18. Does your cat have toys that he could have swallowed?

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