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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 16282
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats and am happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My 11/12 year old rescue cat has for the past week now been

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My 11/12 year old rescue cat has for the past week now been sick every night. It is not a runny mass she is bringing up but a soft mass. In her self she appears well, eating and acting as normal. She does go outside especially when the evenings are now getting darker. I am not sure whether she is foraging for food, she has no need to as food is always at hand for her.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today.

Based on your history about Katie, we do have a few concerns. Her vomiting though feeling otherwise well could be related to a hairball, low grade gut irritation (if she has eaten a plant or non-edible item that is caught in the gut), a brewing bacterial or viral gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, parasites/protozoa infections, or general dietary indiscretions.

With this all in mind, since her signs sound mild, we can try some supportive care. First, if you have not already, we'd want to make sure anything hairball-like providing an intermittent outflow obstruction in the stomach is moved along. To do so, we often will give a daily dose of OTC hairball treatment. At the same time, if she seems nauseous, you can use an OTC antacid like Calcium carbonate (60mg every 12 hours) or Milk of Magnesia (0.2tsp every 12 hours). Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before offering food to allow absorption. Of course, do check with your vet before use if she has any known health issues or is on any medications you didn’t mention. As well, if you try this and find the nausea just too severe to keep it down, then that is usually a red flag that we need the local vet to bypass her mouth with injectable anti-vomiting medication.

After that has had time to absorb, we can plan to start small meals of a light/easily digestible diet. Examples you can use are cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, or meat baby food (as long as its garlic/onion free). There are also OTC vet diets that can be used (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity) too. The aim of these diets is that they will be better tolerated/absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise that the diet be continued until her signs are settled, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet.

Overall, a wide range of agents could trigger the signs we are seeing but a mild upset or obstruction from a hairball would be our top suspects with her presentation. Therefore, we’d want to start supportive care to settle her stomach. If she cannot keep that or water down at any point, appears dehydrated already, or doesn’t respond to the above within 12-24 hours (since we don't want this to linger); then we'd want to get her vet involved. They can assess her hydration, check bloods to make sure her organs are working as they should, make sure there is nothing in her stomach that shouldn't be there or any sinister viruses present. Depending on their findings, your vet can treat her with injectable anti-nausea medication +/- antibiotics to get her back feeling like herself.

Please take care,

Dr. B.

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