If you have a cat, you’ve undoubtedly experienced your cat vomiting, often a hairball that he cannot digest. If your cat is vomiting regularly, it’s definitely something you should mention to your veterinarian. You’re probably wondering how often vomiting might be normal and what causes your kitty to vomit. Here are key things to know:
If your cat is vomiting every day, you need to have him seen by a veterinarian. Dr Richard Goldstein, an associate professor of small animal medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, suggests that owners should seek care for their cats when they are vomiting more than once per week. If they are vomiting regularly, even if it seems to be less than roughly four times in a month, an examination by a veterinarian is recommended. Unfortunately, there are numerous reasons why your cat may be vomiting. To determine the cause, your veterinarian will need to perform a thorough physical exam and run diagnostics, including blood work and a faecal exam. Once more routine causes of vomiting have been eliminated, your veterinarian may need to perform diagnostic imaging, such as an ultrasound or radiographs, also known as X-rays. Finally, some cases need more aggressive diagnostics, such as an intestinal biopsy or an endoscopy to be performed to get a diagnosis.
Common Causes of Vomiting
The most common and relatively benign cause of cats vomiting is when they vomit up hairballs. As they groom themselves, cats ingest bits of fur and hair, which mixes with bile and saliva in the digestive tract. This material can’t be digested, so cats typically vomit it up, which is much better than it causing an obstruction in their intestines. Intestinal parasites are a common cause of vomiting, especially in younger kittens. Foreign bodies also cause vomiting, and it tends to occur in younger, often curious kitties. They might eat hair ties, rubber bands, or string. In addition to the potential for an obstruction, strings can cause serious damage to the intestines and should be avoided. Metabolic diseases can cause vomiting, especially in older cats. These types of issues are usually diagnosed with blood work and include kidney disease and hyperthyroidism, where the thyroid gland overproduces hormones. Pancreatitis can also cause vomiting and often makes cats seriously ill. Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD, lymphoma, and constipation are other potential gastrointestinal problems that affect kitties, especially adults and senior cats. IBD and lymphoma can be hard to differentiate from each other and usually need an intestinal biopsy to get a diagnosis.
If your cat is routinely vomiting, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. They will likely perform diagnostics to help them come to a diagnosis. The treatment for your cat depends upon what is affecting them. Some issues need dietary management, such as IBD, while chemotherapy tends to be utilized for cases of lymphoma. If your kitty has a more readily treatable cause, your veterinarian may just prescribe medications, such as a dewormer. If your cat has ingested something that they aren’t supposed to, such as a part of a plant, your veterinarian will treat that differently than eating hair ties, which will often involve surgery to treat.
You’ll find that there are lots of different reasons for your cat to vomit. The occasional episode is not usually anything to worry about and may just be your kitty eating too quickly or expelling a hairball. Frequent episodes need to be addressed so that your cat can get the treatment they need. My Peterinarian is owned by a trained veterinarian. Send us a message today!