Recently at PAH, we have had a lot of pets come in for vomiting or the inability to pass stool. Some of the owners had no idea what was causing the problem while others had a strong suspicion that their pet had eaten something that would not pass through their intestines. The fancy medical term for this occurrence is a gastrointestinal foreign body.
If there is a blockage, why do they vomit?
Although this is not the only reason for vomiting or diarrhea, it can be a telltale sign of a blockage. The reason why some pets vomit while others pass no stool is due in part to the completeness and location of the blockage. Pets with a partial blockage will often vomit but may still pass some stool, while pets with a full blockage will often not pass stool. With blockages further down in the intestine, vomiting occurs less often than with blockages in the stomach or high up in the intestine.
How long until I know something is wrong?
The most immediate sign you might see is choking. Just as a human, they may appear to try and “hack” or cough it up or experience drooling or foaming at the mouth. If they are unable to dislodge the object, seek veterinary attention immediately. If the object passes into the stomach or intestine and becomes stuck, it may take a few hours or even a day to notice something is wrong. The signs you may see include vomiting, not eating, painful belly, lethargy, and no stool or watery stool. If you notice any one or more of these signs or if you are concerned that your pet may have swallowed something, it is best to call and make an appointment with your PAH doctor as soon as possible.
What will the doctor do if I think my pet may have eaten a foreign object?
If you pet has possibly eaten a foreign object, the doctor will need to perform some diagnostic tests including x-rays. If the item is large or metallic like a tennis ball or keys, it will easily be seen on the x-ray. If the item is smaller in size or made out of cloth, plastic, or rubber, the doctor will give the pet a dye called barium, which will glow on the x-ray picture and show where the blockage is occurring. Depending on what the doctor sees, surgery to remove the object and alleviate the blockage may be needed.
Commonly swallowed objects include: socks, underwear, balls, squeakers from toys, rocks, bones, leashes, and hair ties.
Written By: Megan Roberts
The Things You’ll Need (makes 8) 1) 1 or 2 moderately sized apples
2) 1/2 cup of plain, unsweetened yogurt
3) 2 tbsp Brewer’s yeast
4) An icecube tray
1. Wash apples and cut into evenly diced pieces.
2. Stir Brewer’s yeast into yogurt.
3. Gently spoon yogurt mixture into ice cube tray.
4. Press one piece of diced apple into each section of the ice cube tray.
5. Place in freezer and leave overnight to freeze.
6. Once frozen solid, simply pop out a cube whenever it is time to treat pup!
If you have noticed that your cat is crying out or vocalizing more, it may be due to several different things. For some cats, crying or meowing is just part of their normal behavior. They may want your attention or they may want to get to something, such as a water dish or litter box that is behind a closed door. If you have remedied the obvious issues and your cat is still crying, it may be related to other factors.
Common reasons kittens cry:
Kittens often cry, not because they need anything, but because they want to play. If you have two kittens or two young cats, this may especially be the case as they will keep each other up all night play-fighting. If you hear them crying, get up to check on them and if the kitten or kittens do not appear to be injured, they are likely just making noise during play. If you see one or both of them is injured, separate them and assess how badly they are injured. If it is the middle of the night and they need medical attention immediately, call an emergency pet hospital. If they are injured but it appears to be superficial, call us first thing in the morning for an early morning appointment (LINK to contact info).
Common reasons adult cats vocalize more than others:
For adult cats, there are many serious health concerns that cause them to cry out or vocalize.
For example, vocalizing can be a sign of many different internal organ diseases or other painful conditions. Although cats and pets in general do not normally show many signs of illness, some cats will cry out when they are in pain or not feeling well. This may be associated with arthritis or back pain, kidney and bladder disease, heart disease, liver disease, cancer, and thyroid disease.
In addition, as cats age, they may experience degeneration of the brain, or dementia. In the same way that humans with Alzheimer’s will begin to show signs of decline in brain function, cats may begin to not recognize family members, may become hesitant towards certain areas or objects, become forgetful of where the litter box is, and it is common for them to become very vocal. Your cat’s doctor can determine if this is the case and make some helpful treatment suggestions. Also, an overactive thyroid gland is a very common cause for increased vocalization in senior cats.
What kind of treatment is available?
Depending on the cause of the vocalizing, there is a wide variety of treatment options. If your cat is crying out due to arthritis, laser therapy (LINK to laser) may be a great option. If the pain is internal, blood and urine tests as well as internal imaging such as an x-ray or ultrasound may be needed to take a closer look. If your cat has been injured while outside, bite wound treatment or stitches may be needed as well as other first aid. Regardless of the injury or illness, it is best to see your PAH veterinarian to look for the root of the issue and begin to manage the illness and pain.
Take away message:
Vocalizing is often a sign of illness or pain, so if you notice that your cat is crying or vocalizing more, they may be trying to get your attention and tell you that something is wrong. It is very important to make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian (LINK to contact us) as soon as possible so any potential problems can be caught early and treated appropriately.
Written By: Megan Roberts