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Dr. Matt
Dr. Matt, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 5798
Experience:  DVM -13 years experience in feline medicine and surgery.
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My cat just swallowed dental floss. What should I do?

Customer Question

My cat just swallowed dental floss. What should I do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Matt replied 2 years ago.
Hello - I am Dr. Matt - I would be glad to help you with your question.
How long was the piece of dental floss that Sally swallowed?
How long ago did she swallow it?
Any vomiting?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
8 to 9 inches. 2 hrs ago no vomiting. She is resting in her bed and doesn't seem uncomfortable.
Expert:  Dr. Matt replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information.
I am sorry to hear that Sally swallowed a piece of dental floss. This is concerning as some cats can develop an intestinal obstruction called a linear foreign body from a piece of dental floss. At this point, since she ingested the dental floss only two hours ago it is most likely still in her stomach and has not passed out into her intestines yet. This is important as we still can induce vomiting to try to get the dental floss back out.
The safest way to induce vomiting in Sally would be to give her 3% hydrogen peroxide orally. The dose would be about 1 teaspoon for a 10 pound cat. You can use an oral syringe to give her the peroxide. As you can imagine this is not easy to do in cats as they are very resistant and agile when we try to give them anything orally. Therefore if you are unsuccessful or concerned you will not be able to give her the peroxide, I would then recommend taking her to an emergency vet for more help. If she does not vomit after the first dose within 15 minutes you can give her a second dose. Hydrogen peroxide is generally safe though this can moderately to severely irritate her stomach lining and esophagus in rare cases.
Other then inducing vomiting the other option would be to monitor her very closely over the next 48 hours. There is a chance that the dental floss will pass through her intestines without causing any harm. The symptoms of a linear foreign body obstruction are vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, and lack of a normal appetite. If these signs are seen in the next 48-72 hours, then I would contact your vet right away.
If you do see the dental floss passing out of her rectum do not pull on it, yet cut the pieces off that she has passed out. Pulling on the floss could cut her large intestine causing significant pain for her.
Hope this helps to answer your question - if not or if you have any more questions please feel free to reply by clicking on the "reply to" button. Thank you for your question.
Expert:  Dr. Matt replied 2 years ago.
Hi Douglas Siebert,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Matt
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sally is doing fine. She didn't experience any ill effects of having eaten the dental floss. I did nothing but observe her and it has been over a week. I would assume the danger has passed at this point?
Another question about another cat of ours. Ebby is 15 yrs old and is our oldest cat but has grreat energy and has no medical conditions that I am aware, but he has been urinating and deficating outside of his cat box. We have isolated him in the basementt in hopes of breaking any negative habit patterns he may have developed. We have felt he has felt threatened by some cats that visit our house outside and he can smell and see them when the windows are open, so by putting him downstairs we may be able to break his fear cycle. Any other suggestions?
Expert:  Dr. Matt replied 2 years ago.
After a week, Sally really should be just fine as the flood usually will pass in about 48 hours.
Taking him away from any stress is a good idea therefore I would try separating him from the sight of the outside cats first. If this is not helping, he could potentially have a medical disorder such as lower back discomfort or arthritis which can cause him to not like squatting in the litter pan. The best way to determine if this is a possible cause would be to have your vet take an x-ray of his spine and hind legs.
If his legs and back are completely normal then I would double check the litter box maintenance such as making sure the litter pain is scooped daily, you are using fresh litter every 1-2 weeks, and usually I would give him an extra litter pan in a different location from the first to give him options.
Here is an excellent link also to give you more information:
http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/health_resources/brochure_housesoiling.cfm

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