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VOMITING

Unfortunately, our furry friends tend to vomit more than we do, especially after overindulging or eating something disagreeable.

Causes

Vomiting can be a sign of illness, but not every pet that vomits is sick. Your cat's comb-like tongue collects a lot of fur when he grooms, and he may swallow some. If the hair doesn't move from the stomach into the intestines, it can irritate your pet's tender tummy and cause vomiting.

It's also important to distinguish vomiting from regurgitation. If your pet doesn't gag or retch and seems to effortlessly expel undigested food, he's probably regurgitating. This may indicate a foreign object in the esophagus or a dilated esophagus (megasophagus).

The relentless sway of a car, boat or plane may also make your pet's tummy flip-flop, even if you're only traveling a short distance. Certain medications may also cause nausea and vomiting. Other causes of vomiting include: viral infections such as coronavirus infection, gastrointestinal parasite infections, Heartworm infection, liver disease, kidney failure, pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas, ulcers, ingestion of foreign objects, poisoning, inflammatory bowel disease, fungal infections, brain disease, food allergies, Diabetic ketoacidosis and Cancer.

What You Can Do at Home

A hairball preventive and daily brushings to remove loose hair will cut back on the time you spend cleaning up those furry messes. If you've got a garbage grubber, use a trashcan with a lid to keep him out of spoiled food. Keep your pet from roaming outdoors to reduce his exposure to infectious and toxic substances that could cause vomiting. Regular vaccinations also will help protect your pal from several infectious diseases.

Stop and take a close look at your pet's vomit. Is it yellowish or bloody? Blood in the vomit may be bright red, but usually it looks like dark-brown coffee grounds. Does the vomit contain food, pieces of toys, worms or hair? Make a mental note about the vomit to tell your veterinarian.

If your pet only vomits once, chances are he ate something that didn't agree with him. Just lay off the treats for a day.

Pets who vomit several times in one day but act normal otherwise may just need to rest their digestive tracts. Withhold food and water for 12 hours. When the vomiting stops, offer a small amount of water every two hours. If your pet doesn't vomit for 12 hours, offer him a few teaspoons of bland food, such as white rice and cottage cheese or chicken baby food. If he tolerates the food, you can offer larger servings, gradually mixing in his normal diet. If your pet starts vomiting again, take the food away and call your veterinarian. Make sure your cat never goes longer than 24 hours without eating.

When to Call the Veterinarian

Call your veterinarian immediately if your pet suffers persistent or chronic vomiting or if you notice additional symptoms, including blood in the vomit, dehydration, lethargy, fever or diarrhea. Notify your pet's doctor if you suspect the vomiting is a side effect of a medication. Kittens and older cats can't tolerate dehydration as well as healthy adults, so consult your veterinarian before trying to treat your pet at home.