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petdrz, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
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Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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My adult cat swallowed yarn - red, medium weight, about 8 -

Customer Question

My adult cat swallowed yarn - red, medium weight, about 8 - 12 inches???
No symptoms so far
what should I do? I have Laxatone here...would that help?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and Beth today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 25 years experience and would be happy work with you but need a bit more information in order to better assist you if you don't mind.

How long ago did this happen?

Did you see her ingest it? Could she possibly have chewed it into smaller pieces?

Thanks and I will respond further after you reply. There may be a slight delay while I formulate and type a thorough response or I may be offline, but if so, I will respond as soon as I am able.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
about 1/2 hour ago. I saw it disappear all at once before I could get it away from her. Not sure of the length
I am sure she did not chew it into smaller pieces.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have Laxatone for cat hairball treatment...will that help? So far she has no symptoms....ate a tiny piece of Hills Science Diet
from kitchen floor, offered her fresh water but did not injest any
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the prompt reply.

It is really a waiting game at this point. There is no way to predict if it will be cause a problem or not. String foreign bodies are usually only an issue if they get anchored somewhere along the line and the distal intestine starts to "ride up"or pleat itself up around it. There is a very good chance it could just as easily "ball up" and pass just fine. If that were to be the case, Laxatone or even any food will help her to move it along faster.

What you want to be watching for is any signs of GI distress. This would include lack of appetite, vomiting, or abdominal pain. I would not be too concerned if you do not see any evidence of it in her stool. It is not uncommon for us to be watching for something to pass and we never see any evidence of the foreign body in the stool.

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please reply so I can clarify for you.

My posted replies are for general education only and not meant as a diagnosis. Only after a thorough veterinary examination can a diagnosis for your pet be made and specific treatments be advised or medications be prescribed.

Dr Z

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** reassuring! How soon would signs of distress appear? How soon can I decide this event is OVER ? Should I continue to try to get her to drink water? How about tuna packed in water...she loves that! And how much Laxatone/how often?
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

Sorry for the delay. I must have logged off right before your reply.

Giving her some packed tuna would be fine. Laxatone can be administered two to three times a day, usually a dose the length of the first joint of your finger.

Usually the signs of a string foreign body will show up in 24-36 hours, but I have seen it also show up later. The further we get from 36 hours the less likely we will see a problem. Even though you may not see her pass the string, I would still check her stool so that if you do see it, you will know it is out and you can stop worrying.

Good luck and please keep me posted as to how things progress.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Seems ok this morning
Ate serving of dry food and tuna
Gave her laxative about 1/2 dose
No litter box action so far,,,,
Activity level normal and drinking water i
Thank you for standing by as we get nearer to that 24-36 hours!
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

You are welcome. I will be logged on and off for the remainder of the weekend.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Report on Beth
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Laxatone two doses since 4 pm
ate mix of tuna and dry food about 8 pm
drank lots of water at 7 pm
another dose of Laxatone within next hour and another about 2 am before sleep time
our local vet is working tomorrow with short hours but at least will be available part of the day
we are now 28 hours from time she ate the yarn.
she seems lethargic but ate her food with good appetite! have fed her several times today
LitterRobot usage - minimal, I think she only urinated in it, no bowel so far? I checked all the waste to be sure there
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
was no red yarn in litter b/c I have another cat using same litter also will present food and water and encouragement before bedAny more ideas as to what can be done for her? Activity level is reduced but she does NOT seem uncomfortable, just resting a lot on my sofa right next to me
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the update.

Nothing that you are reporting has me too concerned, but I'll feel better when she at least passes some stool. There is nothing more you should be doing other that keeping her feeding schedule normal and monitoring her. If you wanted extra piece of mind today, it might be useful to have her abdomen radiographed. There is a particular pattern that will show up in the intestines when there is a string foreign body or obstruction. If there was any question or suspicion, some barium could be given.

Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.
Hi Polly,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Z.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your concern! We Went to our vet Sunday. He felt really deeply along her belly and did NOT feel any obstruction!
Also on rectal exam he felt stool ready to empty so we concluded that there is no obstruction! Still need to watch her for week or two and hopefully can confirm what I see in her litter. This morning I found a sting that LOOKS LIKE one of the plys of the 8-ply yarn?
Cannot see any color on that string. There should be more plys coming out. Still giving her Laxatone about 2x daily.
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

Sounds good. Thanks for the update.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dear Dr. Z: Still watching Beth closely. She seems a bit perkier starting yesterday. Not finding any more stringy objects in her solid waste. Still giving her Laxatone (quite a bit) once or twice a day. How long could it take for her to be completely clear of the yarn and any danger from it? I am sure there is more inside her b/c I have only seen a little bit of it and not even sure of that!
Thanks for your review!
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

Usually, if it was going to get hung up and cause a problem, it would be in the first 24-36 hours, maybe 48 tops. If it is "digesting" and breaking down, I would be less worried that it will be dangerous. I have seen many cases where we are watching for things to pass and they never do, so we have to assume they are rendered into small enough pieces that they can't be seen. I know it is unnerving to watch her so closely, but as each day passes without an issue, there is less likely a chance there will be one.

Thanks for the update.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the nice response! The yarn is 100% acrylic so dont think there will be much breaking down??? It is very strong yarn and medium weight - THICK! The piece I found may be part of yarn - a ply? Because the yarn is made up of 8 or so smaller plys
twisted together. HMMM. Hope I am worrying needlessly! I have 2 other cats using same LitterRobot so I cant always confirm
that Beth is using successfully. Her waste is very dry and does NOT get covered with clumping litter but again, no stringy things
are in her waste so far today. She is not grooming herself either which is a concern......has bib of Laxatone all down her front!
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

I think as long as she is not showing any signs of "distress", I would not be doing anything differently. If there was anything serious, like a string foreign body obstruction, she would be uncomfortable by now. I have seen even chicken bones "digest" in 24 hours, so not impossible, but I understand that the concern is this is not a natural substance.

I love cats, but they will be the end of me yet! So much worrying!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK thanks! Feeling reassured! This is just the LOVELIEST cat - medium long hair with huge light - jade-green eyes and the
best disposition.....comes when I call her, only needs a gentle correction once; very loving and tame. Will wait for a few more
days before I do your evaluation if that is ok.....I am proud to say I can catch her, put Laxatone in her mouth and neither of us
is injured! I have no bites or scratches even tho now she knows what is coming when i carry her in and close bathroom door! She does not like the whole procedure at all but tolerates it with much reassurance.
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

She sounds like a wonderful companion.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
For last few days, cat has been pooping very dry, fiber-filled stool. I cant find any red color in it, and it seems to be just PARTS of the yarn??? not her fur. I am continuing Laxatone once a day, 3 small fingerfulls. She is bit lethargic, sleeping a LOT! But does not seem in distress. I use clumping litter but her poop is NOT attracting the litter to cover it. What do you think? Is this incident over yet? Its easy to see her solid waste b/c the other cats' waste is covered with clumping litter. ThANK YOU so much for your care!
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

One would think that by now, it would either have been passed or digested. It sounds as if it is breaking down and passing in pieces. It didn't sound like she ate that much to start with, so if it has been passing in pieces for days, I would suspect it is almost done.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dr Z....we need your advice again! This just happened over last hour.
Beth threw up a "plug" about 2" long, seemed to be fiber not fur and was all slippery.
Fed daily dry food and Beth threw all that up soon after eating, came out easily without effort on her part and was NOT projectile vomit. What do you think? HMMM this is first time after eating the yarn that she has vomited. Thanks for your advice!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dr Z; We need an update for Beth! Yesterday she threw up early in day, before feeding. Just a small amount mostly liquid.
then I fed regular amount about an hour later. She threw up entire amount of food soon after eating. Night before I had given
small amount of Laxatone and additional (beyond usual daily amount) regular dry food. She begged for more food all day, at
8 pm I gave her 1/4 regular amount of her dry food. Which she ate and did not throw up, but did gag a few times later in evening.
For solid waste, she produces dry poop, sometimes with a small fiber in it. That is reassuring that things ARE getting thru OK!
We are now almost 4 weeks out from day she ingested the yarn. Are we within time frame of dealing with the yarn? It is medium weight yarn, sort of thick, and made up of many fibers twisted together. HOPING you think all is well and we just need more time?
Thanks for your evaluation!
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

I am sorry but I never saw your post from the 8th.

It would be odd that there would still be yarn that she is passing, but the vomiting is making me a little nervous. I would have her examined and have an xray of her abdomen performed.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well she seems fine today's! Fed slightly smaller amount of regular food and no vomiting ! Seems very lively and not in distress
Solid waste again quite dry and does not get covered with clumping litter but otherwise normal with no finer visible
Will observe tonite and check with local vet tomorrow
Thank you for your replays!
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

The dry stool is not good. Maybe that is part of the problem (and unrelated to the yarn ingestion). Perhaps a little stool softner may help. Try a little Miralax powder on her food. Start with 1/4 teaspoon per meal and see if that helps.

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