If your cat vomits more than three times, cannot eat or appears exhausted, she should see a veterinarian as soon as possible. It’s conceivable she’s just having a bad case of nausea, but if it’s something more serious, treatment should be started asap.
It’s unpleasant to discuss, but pet ownership is a fact: dogs and cats vomit. It’s also tough to know when vomiting is severe enough to warrant a visit to the veterinarian.
Hairballs are a problem for cats. The grass is chewed and regurgitated by dogs. These actions don’t appear to be overly concerning. But what happens if you vomit multiple times in a row? What if your pet seems to be lethargic as well?
Let’s take a quick look at when you should go to the veterinarian.
With cats, there are four standard types of vomiting:
In general, it’s typical for cats and dogs to vomit on occasion. Here are four types of vomiting that are usually not a cause for concern.
Vomiting can be a means for cats to rid their throats of unwanted hair buildup from grooming. This is the behavior we witness when cats get a hairball, leading them to vomit their stomach contents.
- Grass eating
Many cats enjoy eating grass, either out of curiosity or a natural response to worry or an upset stomach. Grass eating isn’t usually a concern unless they’re also attracted to other hazardous plants.
Some cats gorge or eat too quickly and throw up undigested food regularly. Unless your animal isn’t absorbing enough nutrients from its meal and is losing weight; as a result, this isn’t usually a cause for concern.
- Icky taste
Both cats and dogs puke when they eat something disgusting. For example, your cat may lick a bug they find on the floor without your knowledge. The next thing you know, they’re sick to their stomachs from the flavor.
Although the circumstances described above are ordinary in domestic pets, if the vomiting is more than occasional or your pet appears to be in distress, call your veterinarian.
How can you tell if your cat is vomiting?
A stage of nausea may precede vomiting, during which the cat appears restless and possibly anxious. The cat may lick its lips, salivate, and swallow several times. Vomiting is characterized by abdominal solid muscle contractions that result in the evacuation of fluid, froth, or food. Vomiting requires a lot of work, which can be stressful for the cat.
It’s critical to distinguish this from the abdominal contractions that come with coughing. Cats may cough up froth or frothy substances, which they consume later. When cats cough, they usually kneel on all four legs with their neck stretched out. If you can provide a video of your cat demonstrating the activity to your veterinarian, they will tell you the difference between coughing and vomiting. It’s also crucial to distinguish between vomiting and regurgitation.
It’s also vital to distinguish vomiting from regurgitation, which is frequently caused by esophageal difficulties and is a more passive process. The following characteristics assist determine vomiting from regurgitation:
- Typically, vomiting is accompanied by abdominal contractions and exertion.
- Regurgitation usually begins without abdominal spasms and occurs swiftly.
- Regurgitation is common after eating or drinking.
Pay attention to the frequency and duration of the events
The frequency and duration of your pet’s vomiting should be taken into account. It’s significantly less worrying if your dog vomits three times in ten minutes and then appears to be ok than if he vomits three times in eight hours.
If the vomiting lasts for several hours, you should see a veterinarian. Your pet could be suffering from a bacterial infection, virus, intestinal blockage, or disease that has to be diagnosed by a veterinarian. If they can’t keep liquids down, they could become seriously dehydrated.
What is the symptomatic treatment for acute vomiting?
In mild episodes of acute vomiting, non-specific symptomatic therapy is frequently administered. Generally, your veterinarian would suggest you feed your cat a bland, easily digestible diet in tiny amounts, given frequently. Often, a veterinary prescription diet that is mainly made to be easier to digest is suggested. A home-cooked diet, on the other hand, may be presented. During this time, the cat must eat nothing except the diets recommended by your veterinarian. Water should be provided all the time.
If the cat is improving, gradually increase the amount of food offered at any given moment to an average amount, and then slowly reintroduce the cat’s regular diet over many days.
In some circumstances, your veterinarian may prescribe medication such as maropitant citrate (brand name Cerenia®), famotidine (brand name Pepcid®), or metronidazole (brand name Flagyl®) to reduce vomiting or reduce inflammation. This method allows the body’s natural healing systems to take care of the issue.
If your cat’s symptoms do not improve after symptomatic therapy, your veterinarian may adjust his or her prescription or order more tests to assess the situation entirely.
What criteria will my veterinarian use to determine which tests and treatments are required?
You may be able to spot features that will aid the veterinarian in deciding if symptomatic treatment or further research is necessary, such as:
- If your cat seems sad, sluggish, or has a fever
- If your cat is consuming food
- If weight loss has occurred
- If any blood was found in the vomit (a few specks of fresh blood may not be abnormal, but more copious or persistent bleeding is significant)
- If there is any pain or discomfort, especially in the abdomen
- If your cat is passing normal poo or has diarrhea or constipation
- If the vomit has a disagreeable odor or an unusual hue.
- What you fed your cat in the past and if there has been a recent diet change
- Whether or if your cat has access to any other meals or substances
- If you’ve lately had any treatment or supplements
- If any of the other cats in the house are impacted
Is there anything else that needs to be done in terms of treatment or diagnostic testing?
More active treatment may be required if the vomiting is severe or if your veterinarian suspects a major underlying illness, such as kidney or liver disease. To combat dehydration and rectify any electrolyte imbalances, your cat may need to be admitted to the hospital for intravenous fluid therapy. It may be required to use injections to control vomiting in some circumstances. You may be able to treat your cat at home in less severe cases. You may be asked to provide fluids and specific solutions at home. You must be patient, giving modest amounts of food at regular intervals. If your cat becomes distressed as a result of home treatment, seek advice from your veterinarian. More intensive treatment may be required if the vomiting is severe.
These are some of the more regularly utilized tests:
- Blood tests can reveal signs of infections, kidney and liver disorders, thyroid illness, or diabetes, as well as other signals that can lead to a diagnosis.
- X-rays of the esophagus or stomach may reveal abnormalities. Barium may be given to help identify any blockages, tumors, ulcers, foreign things, and so on.
- Another approach to look at the stomach and intestines is via ultrasound. Blockages/obstructions, tumors, and inflammation inside the gut or intestinal lining can all be detected with ultrasound.
- In some situations, endoscopy involves examining the inside of the stomach through a flexible viewing tube.
- In some circumstances, a laparotomy, or exploratory surgery, is required, especially if an obstruction or blockage is suspected or if biopsy samples are needed. Laparotomy can be used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. During surgery, your veterinarian will be able to check all of the organs in your cat’s belly and obtain biopsy samples to try to figure out what’s causing the vomiting.
When is it going to happen?
It’s critical to document the events around your pet’s vomiting. Is the vomiting limited to a few locations? Following specific activities? When it comes to particular foods?
Some dogs, for example, vomit right after they exercise. They’re alright when they’re running around in the backyard, but when they come inside, drink something, and vomit, they’re in trouble. Unless the vomiting is severe and interferes with their capacity to breathe or rest, this is usually not a problem. Still, bring it up with your vet as part of your overall awareness of your pet’s health.
If your pet exclusively vomits after eating certain items, like table scraps, they may be items that are too rich and fatty for them to digest. Your dog may enjoy hamburgers, but it may be too much for her stomach to manage.
Other Symptoms Along With Vomiting
Finally, it’s critical to determine if any other symptoms accompany the vomiting. If your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms in addition to vomiting, contact your veterinarian straight away:
- Appetite loss.
- Sudden changes in thirst
- Changes in urine frequency
- Vomit or stool containing blood
- More drowsiness than normal
- Pale gums
- Pain in the abdomen
- Loss of weight
- Sudden behavioral shifts