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

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

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