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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 21419
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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I have 2 cats who throw up often. Not always hairballs;

Customer Question

I have 2 cats who throw up often. Not always hairballs; sometimes it looks like sputum & liquid. I feed them just dry cat food for sensitive systems & treats. They're not thin so it doesn't cause them to lose weight & they're very alert & active for 15 years old. It's been going on for years but since they are getting older, I'm concerned it will affect them.
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 the Veterinarian should be aware of about the cat?
Customer: Not really & it affects both my cats, not just one.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner, but can you tell me:

How long have they been doing this?

How often per week would you say they are vomiting?

Do they tend to eat quickly?

How long have they been on that sensitive food? Before or after they were vomiting?

Any change to their thirst or volume of urine they pass (ie is the litter box getting wetter quicker these days)?

Are there any plants or items in the house they chew?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
This has been going on for at least 2 or 3 years. Sometimes days will go by & nothing happens while yesterday, one cat cat threw up twice. They do tend to eat quickly, especially one of them. They gave been on sensitive food all along; they refuse one type of food after a few days so I'll change the flavor but it's always for sensitive systems. They don't drink more water or urinate ,more often. I have never seen them eat anything unusual & I don't have houseplants. They do get cat treats often.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Thank you,

Now to see signs in both cats does mean that we would be less worried about issues of the individual (ie masses in the GI, metabolic disease, kidney issues). As well, with the duration of their signs, we'd be less worried about infectious processes or dietary indiscretions. Instead, our concerns would be that they may be stressing their gut with quick eating (since this stretches the gut to trigger the vomiting centre of brain and can lead to nausea for extended periods) or that if they do get a lot of treats that these may be high in salt or fat (the latter can aggravate the pancreas).

With this all in mind, we'd want to try a few supportive measures to see if we can settle them. To start, if they are quick eaters, then it is ideal to feed them small meals a few times daily or at least divide their meals into a few sections and have them take at least 30 minute breaks between each. This will allow them to move some food into the intestines before more is put into the stomach. If thy are mostly on dry, using canned may also help with this (since it does't expand in the stomach as readily). And just since there have been some hairballs, OTC cat hairball treatment or a bit of canned pumpkin to help keep that at bay. Also if they have not been wormed in the past month, it would be ideal to do so at this point just so we can rule these out at playing a role here.

Otherwise, we'd want to try to reduce any nausea that could be precipitating these signs. To do so, we can try them on a low dose of an OTC pet safe antacid like 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 check with your vet before use if she has any known health issues or is on any medications you didn’t mention.

Overall, chronic low grade vomiting in older cats is quite common. There are not always pathological reasons for this and with 2 showing signs we'd be less worried about those. So we'd want to try supportive care to address the above angles and see if we can get them more settled here.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

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