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My cat keeps gagging but won't throw up, At about 4 am this…

Customer Question
My cat keeps gagging...

My cat keeps gagging but won't throw up,

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. Hopefully it didn't make a mess. Did your cat eat anything unusual?

No, at about 4 am this morning I thought she was going to produce a hairball but she didn't. When I got up to give her breakfast she started eating but gagged. She licked the juice off the food and went back to bed. She has been lethargic and sleeping all day. When she does wake up she gags and goes back to sleep.

Veterinarian's Assistant: OK. The Expert will know what to do. What is the cat's name and age?

Midnight, 9 yrs old

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Midnight?

She is small weighing about 5.5lbs.

Submitted: 11 months ago.Category: Cat Veterinary
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Answered in 25 minutes by:
9/12/2017
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian replied 11 months ago
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23,471
Experience: Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today.

Can she keep water down?

Are her gums pink or white/pale? Moist or sticky?

If you press on her belly, any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?

Could she have eaten anything harmful (ie bones, toys, plants, chemicals, human meds, etc)?

Any diarrhea?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
She has't drank water since this morning. Her gums are pink ad moist. I pressed on her belly and there was no tensing or seeming discomfort. She may have eaten something but I don't know what. She does not have diarrhea. She just keeps licking her mouth.
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian replied 11 months ago

Hello again,

First, I am glad to hear that she hasn't those urgent signs I asked about. Though that appetite loss, lip licking, along with her gagging are all nausea signs. So, we could have a hairball causing a blockage or we could have this secondary to something else having been eaten. Of course, these signs also fit with a bacterial or viral gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, or parasites/protozoa infections.

With this all in mind, we can try some home supportive care to try to settle her stomach. To start, you can consider treating her with a OTC pet safe antacid. [ie 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 food to allow absorption. Of course, do double check with your vet if she has a known health issues or is on any medications you haven't mentioned. Though if you give this and Midnight cannot keep it down due to nausea that is usually a red flag that we need to bypass her mouth with injectable anti-vomiting medication from her vet.

Afterwards, to rule out hairball blockages (and help with any other kind), we can try giving her an OTC cat hair ball gel/paste. This can be administered directly or if she is more settled once the antacid has kicked in, then you could add it to a light diet like boiled chicken, boiled white fish, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, or meat baby food (as long as its garlic/onion 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. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise continuing this until the signs are settled, and then weaning her slowly back to her normal diet.

Overall, Midnight's signs do raise a few concerns here. Given how nauseous she sounds and the fact cats cannot be off food for long (else they develop secondary fatty liver issues), we’d want to start supportive care to settle her stomach. If she cannot keep that or water down at any point, appears dehydrated already, or doesn’t respond to the above within 12-24 hours; then we'd want to get her vet involved. They can assess her hydration, rule out fever, make sure there is nothing in her stomach that shouldn't be there or any sinister viruses present. Depending on their findings, her vet can treat her with injectable anti-nausea medication, appetite stimulants, +/- antibiotics to get her back to herself.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

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