Appointments: (02) 6251 1444
16-18 Purdue St, Belconnen, ACT
(Parking via Gillott Street)
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 1:00pm
BOOK ONLINE NOW!

Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Furballs - or not?

Thursday, December 01, 2016

 

 

RIP Spunky

Spunky was a big boy and aptly named. He ruled the house and his carers' day centred on his every need - because he wouldn't let them forget his standards and requirements.

He often brought up a furball, so often that his carers just thought it was normal for him to bring one up every week or so. Six months ago it became more frequent and he started bringing up food as well. He seemed as bright, happy and demanding as ever so at first they thought nothing was wrong. After talking to us they tried out a few different foods, including a hypoallergenic diet, thinking that maybe something was interfering with his delicate digestion.

He vomited all the more and started to lose weight despite appearing normal. We tested him for all the usual causes of vomiting in cats - kidney disease, liver disease, pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism - but everything came back normal. Something nasty was going on.

Dr John recommended biopsies of his stomach and intestines. His carers were reluctant to go so far and played with his diet a bit more. Eventually they decided that something must be done and he came in to hospital for an anaesthetic and investigation. Samples were sent to the pathologist.

The result was a diagnosis of low grade lymphoma of the intestines. This is the end result of chronic inflammation of the stomach and bowel.

The good news is that it can be controlled with low grade medication if caught early. Spunky lived another healthy 5 months, but the lymphoma spread to his stomach at the end. Many cats live much longer than 5 months. Some, especially if the lymphoma is advanced on diagnosis, have a more limited time to live.

If we diagnose the inflammatory bowel disease in the early stages we can prevent it from developing into lymphoma all together. Spunky's carers urge everyone to take notice of any 'furballs' or vomiting early on. Furballs are simply a sign that the stomach or intestine is inflamed - they are usually not because of the fur. If you see them more than once a fortnight, discuss it with your vet.

Furballs and vomiting

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Stomach and intestinal disease is so common in cats that many people think vomiting and ‘furballs’ in an otherwise healthy cat are normal.

 

Vomiting more than once a week, particularly if your cat is losing weight is NOT normal. Furballs are a sign of stomach or intestinal inflammation and should be investigated.

  

There are many causes of vomiting. The easiest to diagnose and treat is an intolerance to a particular food, usually a protein like fish, lamb or beef. If the vomiting stops when your cat is switched to a hypoallergenic diet then a dietary intolerance is the most likely cause. Once the offending protein has been identified you just have to avoid feeding it to your cat.

 

Cats that eat grass or other hard- to-digest plants frequently vomit. Preventing access to the grass may solve the problem but often they are driven to eat grass by an irritated stomach.

 

If a hypoallergenic diet does not eliminate the vomiting we suspect a more serious disease like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or a gut cancer. IBD and low grade gastrointestinal lymphoma are quite responsive to treatment. Occasionally more serious cancers are found.

 

An ultrasound may show increased thickness of the stomach or small intestinal wall indicating IBD or lymphoma. Occasionally another problem like a partial blockage or a solid cancer is found.

 

Unfortunately ultrasound does not distinguish between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and lymphoma. Biopsy samples of the stomach, small intestinal wall, abdominal lymph nodes, liver and pancreas obtained during abdominal surgery are the most accurate way of distinguishing them.

 

A veterinary pathologist looks at the biopsy sample under the microscope and determines if IBD or lymphoma is present and then classifies them. This information helps us make a treatment plan and predict the response to treatment.

 

Inflammatory bowel disease is caused by a chronically irritated stomach and intestinal lining. The inflammation is sometimes caused by an irritant in the food. Often the cat’s immune system overreacts to components of a normal diet. It is usually very difficult to identify the specific cause. The inflammation interferes with digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. Therefore cats with advanced disease lose weight and try to compensate with an increase in appetite. Treatment includes immunosuppressive drugs such as prednisolone, special diets and vitamin B12 injections. Often, cats get an initial short course of antiparasitic drugs and antibiotics to rule out other irritants of the intestine.

 

IBD is not a curable disease but proper treatment controls it and stops or slows the vomiting and weight loss. Overall, the prognosis is very good.

 

Low grade lymphoma is treated similarly but a low dose chemotherapy drug is added in. Many cats live for years with proper treatment.

 

If dietary intolerance, IBD or low grade lymphoma are left untreated higher grade bowel cancers may develop.

 


Search Blog

Recent Posts


Tags

twitching pain feline enteritis breathing difficult drinking more bump hearing wool scale tablet enemies furballs hyperthyroidism castration blood photo competition fluid pills examination spray crytococcosus hypertension tooth thiamine deficiency bed desexing scratching panadeine cat vet old plaque roundworm gasping urinating outside litter jumping painful annual check litter kittens snake bite Canberra introduce poison adipokines dymadon competition free introductions thirsty eye infection christmas bladder stones whiskers senses physical activity information night grooming train RSPCA rigid head snakebite paralysed pet meat unwell holidays runny nose fleas meows a lot discount insulin worms euthanasia introducing FIV weight scratching post foreign body on heat stiff corneal ulcer not eating diabetes stress mouth breathing inflammatory bowel disease exercise sensitive stomach sun cranky rough play pain relief aerokat sneeze holes checkup diuretics poisonous dental check mental health of cats tapeworm hairball brown snake kidney pred aspirin off food pill pain killer skin cancer straining constipation pica water urinating on curtains or carpet learning mycoplasma poisonous plants dementia panleukopenia blood pressure blockage fever allergy, pancreatitis hypertrophic cardiomyopathy house call strange behaviour cat behaviour weight control ulcers cystitis fear cat friendly enteritis blood in urine best clinic blood test worming blocked cat training weight loss aggression biopsy best cat clinic blindness return home moving kitten lilies calicivirus prey cat worms seizures obese home visit tradesmen fireworks in season behaviour change vaccination new year hungry virus nails revolution allergy thirst itchy new cat gifts IBD when to go to vet urination obsessive compulsive ribbon holiday wobbles kitten play snake lymphoma polish petting cat open night drinking a lot spey visit arthritis open day Canberra Cat Vet anaemia dilated pupils hunters lily teeth play sensitive AIDS cta fight cancer Hill's Metabolic blind client night microchip old cat face rub New Year's Eve depomedrol restless feline AIDS behaviour vomiting flea treatment food puzzles snakes bladder scratch grass kitten deaths panadol skinny toxic vision blue home nose scabs pheromone hunting overweight sucking wool fabric breeder introduction joints kidneys attack sore slow spraying appointment headache lick pet insurance groom ACT noisy breathing rolls kibble new kitten massage laser pointer abscess rash chlamydia collapse dry food antiviral outdoor cat cage antibiotics urine spraying heavy breathing socialisation tartar paralysis tick sick urine aggressive hiding wet food conflict mince paralysis indoor cats appetite feline herpesvirus health check sudden blindness thyroid love decision to euthanase runny eyes panleukopaenia salivation string desex African wild cat permethrin fits change tick marking best veterinarian heart disease check-up cat enclosure intestine furball FORLS litter box hard faeces snot pet lump dental vomit plants cat fight cognitive dysfunction poisons skin head activity cat enclosures lilly vaccine fight ulcerated nose cryptococcosis feliway hospital rub computer birthday opening hours comfortis cat flu yowling goodbye cough dental treatment heaing sense of smell catoberfest hunched over sick cat herpesvirus flea prevention signs of pain liver cortisone mass abscess,cat fight bite senior radioactive iodine unsociable eye ulcer kidney disease cat eyes xylitol asthma flu eye vocal hunter cat history lame hyperactive toxins sore ears panamax fat body language high blood pressure hole stare into space tumour vet visit changed holes in teeth touch diarrhoea anxiety award treat urinating prednisolone renal disease sore eyes advantage poisoning enclosure cat containment wet litter ulcer echocardiography diet snuffles obesity snuffle dehydration paracetamol bad breath best vet odour carrier

Archive

A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

Get Directions