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Dr O Jovovich
Dr O Jovovich, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 394
Experience:  BVSc (Bachelor of Veterinary Science - Massey University, NZ)
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My cat cant swallow. Wants to eat and drink, but throat is

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My cat can't swallow. Wants to eat and drink, but throat is enlarged looking and when she manages a bit of liquified food, she vomits clear viscous phlemn and the food back up. 3 days and counting. very worried!

Hi there rhaperty,


There could be a number of things going on with your girl here. It sounds as if this "mass" in her throat is compressing her esophagus (tube from mouth to the stomach) and preventig her from eating.

As she is older she could potentially have an enlarged thyroid gland or hyperthyroidism (causing her throat to become enlarged). There are many symptoms of this condition inclduing, increased thirst and urination, increased appetite and also potentially vomiting.The blood work your Vet has carried out will show if she has excessive thyroid hormone in the blood and enable this to be rulled in or out.


She could also potentially have a type of cancer causing her lymph nodesto become enlarged called ymphoma. The best way to diagnose lymphoma is biopsy of the enlarged nodes. However,a full blood and urine panel are always done first to rule out other causes of lymph node enlargement (such as infection) and diagnose any other concurrent disease so the Vet will need to wait for the results before considering biopsy.


There is also a possibility that a foreign body she has swallowed has become lodged in her throat causing localisedswelling of the surrounding tissue.


Whatever the cause here the more pressing problem is the potential for dehyfration if your kitty is unable to keep water and food down. Older cats especially commonlyhave a degree of kidney insufficiency so dehydrate much more easily.


I recommend you do take her to the Vet as soon as you can for fluid therapy (intravenous or subcutaneous depending on degree of dehydration) to ensure she doesn't become dangerously dehydrated while waiting for blood test results and further diagnostics.


I hope this helps, please reply if you have further questions.


Dr J

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
They gave her fluid therapy on Thursday as she was noted to be dehydrated then also. This all seemed to happen so suddenly with no warning. I'm just not sure if I should go to the emergency tonight or wait till the vet opens in the morning. Plus, it's really not my cat, it's my roommate's cat who is away on holiday and is leaving me to do all the decisions! ARGHH. This is so nerve-wracking, since I had to put my cat down 2 years ago for Breast cancer.

If there is an obstruction, are things like that normally solved? Why wouldn't they do an exam of an obstruction right away, instead they took all these tests first and won't have an answer till monday?
I'm just nervous.

Without having examined the cat myself it is very difficult for me to say why the Vets did or didn't do something. If your girl was dehydrated on Thursday and she hasn't improved since then most likey she is dehydrated again. Here are a few tips that may help you decide whether she needs to go to the Vet tonight.


Pinch the skin on the back of her neck to tent it - does it spring back down immediately or does it take a few seconds to return to position? If the skin is slow to return to position it indicates a degree of dehydration.

Flip her lip and push your finger against her gums - are they nice and moist and salmon pink in colour? Or do they feel tacky? Tacky gums also indicate dehydration.


Capillary Refill time - this measures blood perfusion. Test this by putting your thumb on her gum to apply pressure. After you release your thumb you will see the gum blanch. Capillary refill time is the amount of time it takes (in seconds) for the gum to return to a healthy pink color from the blanced white color. If 2 seconds or less don't worry - if it is taking significantly more time, again - off to the emergency Vet.


I hope this helps and good luck.

Dr J

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