Monday, September 1, 2014

Why Cats Vomit and When To Be Worried

Facebook post from July 2 about vomiting. 

Since Bette vomited the other day, let's review vomiting in cats. There's vomiting-a hairball, an object, some food-and the cat bounces back, no fever, no diarrhea, no more vomiting. Then there's vomiting that continues, that is combined with a fever, or diarrhea, blood shot eyes, and runny eyes. And the cat is suddenly tired and sleeping. The first, might be an ongoing problem to address. The second could run the gambit of a viral, bacterial easy to cure issue to a major physical problem or disease. Only a complete vet visit with exam and possibly blood work, maybe an xray or echo will tell you for sure.

Cats vomit up hairballs-with liquid, with or without food. If you find this happens, give the cat a daily dose of Laxatone or such hairball passing product that helps the digestive system deal with hair. Hair however, should not come out of and be seen in the bowel movement. That is called constipation (and is another post.)

Cats that vomit up food from time to time could have swallowed something-hair, paper, string, a toy, hair. Watch for persistent inability to keep down food. There could be a blockage in the digestive track, or an issue with the digestive track, and vomiting is a symptom of almost any disease, and vet care is needed.

Sudden onset of vomiting followed by the cat acting odd, even suddenly being lethargic and sleeping, could mean the cat has a virus or some sort of infection. Vet care is needed. If you have the supplies, you can treat at home until you see the vet. Otherwise, the cat will need immediate vet or ER vet care.

A cat that vomits and is tired, has lost too much fluid and is dehydrated, may have a fever, may have diarrhea, may have ugly clumps of goop running from the eyes, and the eyes may be blood shot. Either the vet or the ER will give sub q fluids, a pain reliever, and an antibiotic. If by chance you have what we have-antibiotics and buprenex on hand-once the cat has stopped vomiting, give the cat water by mouth, an antibiotic, and some buprenex-about .25ml. Give an antibiotic if it will keep it down and another a few hours later. If it keeps down water, give more water-9-12ml. It probably lost more than you can put back but anything will help. If it keeps that down, try tuna juice for a protein/food source or KMR kitten milk if you have that on hand. Don't give anything too substantial. You want to support the body but not cause more vomiting. The cat should feel better in a couple of hours. The cat will still need a vet visit. If you have no meds on hand, give the fluid and continue giving fluid by mouth to support the body and prevent dehydration. Dehydration causes so many more issues-a lack of appetite, greater weakness, interrupts heart function, all of which cause their own issues. A vet visit will be needed as soon as you can-that day, that evening if possible, even the ER vet.

With HCM cats vets cannot really give sub q fluids but can give a small amount and monitor the cat for congestion. It's tough for an HCM cat that gets sick: they need hydration but you never know what is too much that will land them back in the ER for CHF.

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