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Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28931
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My cat Butters is approximately 5 years old and we adopted

Customer Question

My cat Butters is approximately 5 years old and we adopted her from a family that would not care for her and her (to us) newly discovered vomiting issues. Before that she was at a local SPCA. I did some research and Butters doesn't eat too quickly or bad food. Her vomit is often liquidy or indigested food. We switched her to a Purina sensitive stomach food over a month ago but she still seems to be throwing up around every 3 days. She is very ashamed of her issue and it's become hard for us to keep things clean and more importantly we are concerned for her health. Is this her habit, or is it a real digestive issue (parasite, etc)
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Butters. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is most commonly diagnosed in frequently vomiting cats. This is an idiopathic (unknown cause) inflammation in the GI tract often responsive to the antiinflammatory antibiotic metronidazole and/or a glucocorticosteroid such as prednisolone. Because there are more possible causes of vomiting in cats than I could post here, I would first perform diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests and if nothing untoward were seen, proceed to ultrasound Butters's GI tract looking for the tell-tale signs of inflammation indicating IBD. Confirmation would require scoping and biopsy of her GI tract but presumptive therapy is certainly reasonable first. If you prefer, a hypoallergenic diet trial might be instituted prior to those drugs. Food intolerance does exist in cats.

Food intolerance/allergy is addressed with prescription hypoallergenic diets. These special foods contain just one novel (rabbit, duck, e.g.) animal protein or proteins that have been chemically altered (hydrolyzed) to the point that Butters's immune system doesn't "see" anything to be allergic to. The over the counter hypoallergenic foods too often contain proteins not listed on the label - soy is a common one - and these proteins would confound our evaluation of the efficacy of the hypoallergenic diet. The prescription foods are available from her vet. There are many novel protein foods and a prototypical hydrolyzed protein food is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d ultra (a hydrolyzed protein diet is my preference because it avoids the possibility of my patient being intolerant to even a novel protein). A positive response is usually seen within a few weeks if we’ve eliminated the offending food allergen. Food intolerance can arise at any age and even after my patient has been eating the same food for quite some time.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Since we are students and currently unable to spend large amounts of money, what would be our best option? Is it possible to formulate our own diet for her such as meats, rice and vegetables? Or would costs of the vet recommended food add up to this anyway? How long should we wait for positive signs (food trial) before seeking a blood/urine test?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

Ideally, a hypoallergenic diet should be composed of hydrolyzed protein which isn't something you can home cook. You could, however, see if a novel protein diet is of value. Venison or rabbit is usually the primary protein source, however, and those are expensive meats. I do have a pork and barley recipe but I must admit I don't know how palatable that would be to Butters:

pork loin, broiled, 5 ounces

barley, pearled, cooked, 1/2 cup

canola oil, 1 tsp

salt substitute (potassium chloride), 1/8 tsp

salt, iodized (sodium chloride), 1/8 tsp

bone meal powder, 3/4 tsp

multivitamin & mineral tablet, kids complete, 1/2 each

vitamin K, 100 mcg vitamin K per tablet, 1 tablet

taurine powder, 1000mg per 1/4 tsp

Provides 419 kcal, the daily requirement of a 19lb cat. Uneaten food can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen indefinitely while checking for spoilage.

The positive response to a food trial may be rapid or not seen for 8-12 weeks. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.
Hi Chelsea,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Butters. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin