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nekovet
nekovet, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 19632
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian. I am happy to answer any questions you may have on any species.
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I have two 8 month old ragdolls. They both are vomiting

Customer Question

I have two 8 month old ragdolls. They both are vomiting occasionally, have diarrhea, and won't eat but will drink water. They went to vet 2 days ago, he said they looked fine, possibly hairball. Both of them at same time? One seemed better last night , did eat, but this morning listless and not eating again. The other seems hungry but won't eat. I force fed her a little bit yesterday.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. This sounds like it might be serious. I'll let the Veterinarian know what's going on ASAP. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the cat?
Customer: They were perfectly fine until a few days ago. They also have been somewhat playful as usual, which is why other vet thought they were fine, but the male, who seemed better last night, is very subdued this morning, not acting like himself at all. The female keeps asking for food but won't eat, have tried all kinds of different foods, she used to eat just about anything.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  nekovet replied 5 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How long have they been showing signs?

Can they keep any water down?

What does the vomit and diarrhea look like? Any blood?

Are both cats' gums nice and pink (not white/pale)? Moist or sticky?

If you press on each one's belly, any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?

Could they have eaten anything they should not have (ie bones, moldy food, plants, chemicals, human meds, etc)?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
The male (Bruno) started vomiting two mornings in a row 5 days ago (Sunday) but by later in day would be fine, he has had diarrhea since then as well. He wasn't eating and more listless by Wednesday, and the female(Layla) started the same symptoms Tues so I brought them both to vet Wednesday am. Dr took fecal sample, said they looked fine, maybe hairball. Bruno seemed to get a bit better, started eating, more active, but still diarrhea. Last night he was like himself, playful, eating, but this morning very listless, not eating and had vomited overnight. Vomit is greenish brown. Diarrhea light brown. No blood, gums are fine, no problems with pressing on belly (on both). Layla has seemed hungry, but looks at food, walks away, drinks water instead. She ate a little cooked chicken Wednesday am and nothing since. I have bought every type of food I could think of, nothing. I force fed her with syringe yesterday. She drank water this morning, vomited a tiny bit, pretty clear vomit, but otherwise seems able to keep water down, as well as slurry I fed her. They both just want to lay quiet this morning, which is not normal at all. They are very active, playful kittens. I can't think of anything they would have eaten except their normal food, Tastes of the wild dry (which they only eat a little of) and normally fancy feast cans.
Expert:  nekovet replied 5 months ago.

Thank you,

Now I share your concern that this is more than a hairball. Usually that isn't something we'd see affect 2 cats at once and that doesn't explain the diarrhea. Instead, we'd be more wary of an infectious issue (ie bacterial, viral, protozoal, or parasitic) or a share exposure (thankfully less likely here).

With this all in mind, since they are at high risk of dehydration, nutrition loss (which can make them weak, lethargic and lose weight) plus liver compromise (since cats off food can develop hepatic lipidosis), we'd want to be proactive here. In fact, it'd be ideal to have them reassessed +/- make sure that stool sample checked for all of the above not just worms as is often all that is checked in the practice. We'd want their vet to start symptomatic treatment (ie injectable anti-nausea medication, antibiotics, +/- appetite stimulants and fluids). That way we can counter these signs and get them settled before they take a toll.

Any delay and we'd at least need to consider some home supportive care. To start, provided they've not just vomited (since otherwise we’d need to rest their stomachs for a few hours first), you can consider treating with an antacid. Common OTC pet safe options would be Pepcid (More Info/Dose @http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/famotidine-pepcid), or Tagamet (More Info/Dose Here @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/cimetidine-hcl-tagamet). Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before offering food to allow absorption. Of course, do double check with your vet if either has a known health issues or is on any medications you haven't mentioned. Though if they cannot keep this down due to nausea that is usually a red flag that we need to bypass their mouth with injectable anti-vomiting medication from your vet.

Though if we can settle their stomachs, we can plan to follow this with a light diet (ie boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), or meat baby food (onion/garlic free). There are also OTC vet diets that can be used (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity) too. The aim of these diets is that they will be better tolerated/absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset and reduce diarrhea. We can also add fiber (ie canned pumpkin) +/- OTC feline specific probiotics (ie Foriflora, Benebac) to try to restore normal gut microflora. And if they are very runny, you can even consider treating with OTC Kaolin/Kaopectate (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/kaolin-and-pectin-kapectolin-k-p)). This is available OTC at most pharmacies but avoid Pepto Bimsol, Imodium or salicylic acid containing products since those aren't kitten friendly. Otherwise, Propectalin, Canikur, Fast Balance, and Protexin Pro-Fiber (all OTC at vets, pet stores, and even Amazon) would be another option since they combine Kaolin with probiotics.

Since dehydration is a risk for kittens with these signs, we need to keep an eye on hydration. To check this and ensure they aren't dehydrating there are a few parameters you can look at. Further to checking for gum moisture, you will want to make sure neither has sunken eyes nor a skin tent when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a good video HERE (http://www.ehow.com/video_12232503_dog-dehydrated.html). If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, then that would be our cue to have them back to their vet for reassessment and those aforementioned treatments.

Overall, there are a wide range of agents could trigger this GI upset we are seeing with Bruno and Layla. With these signs persisting, causing diarrhea and affecting them both, a hairball isn't likely to blame. So, we'd be best to have them reassessed or have another vet locally examine them. Any delay and you can use the above but if they appear dehydrated already, or do not respond to the above within a few hours; then we'd want a recheck to ensure this doesn't take a toll on them. And if we have them rechecked, we'd hope to use those above noted treatments to get them both settled and back to feeling like themselves.

Please take care,

Dr. B.

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