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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 26557
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My cat constantly chews on the that is on his collar and has

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Hi my cat constantly chews on the bell that is on his collar and has basically made it into a little taco but this morning I found his collar on the floor with no bell attached to it I think he may have eaten it.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. The Expert will know if your cat will be able to digest that. What is your cat's name and age?
Customer: Popeye, 10 months old
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Popeye?
Customer: No. he seems to be perfectly fine right now.

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara, with over 20yrs of veterinary experience. Please give me time to review & type a full response. I can't take phone calls.

I'm sorry to hear that Popeye may have ingested the metal bell on his collar.

There are a few concerns here. One is that the metal may be sharp and injure his stomach or intestinal lining. Another is the bell may be big enough to get stuck and cause an obstruction, and finally if it is zinc plated metal the large amount of zinc can be toxic, and lead to all sorts of trouble.

Ideally since we don't know if he ate it or when, he would have radiographs taken to see if it is present in his gastrointestinal tract.

If it is in his stomach it could possibly be retrieved via endoscopy. I understand that an emergency visit and endoscopy can be expensive, so if that isn't an option we need to try to help him pass this through his gastrointestinal tract, and watch for signs of zinc toxcity.

If he is feeling fine so far, eating and drinking normally that is good news. If he is refusing to eat, or repeatedly vomiting, running a fever, or has a tense, painful abdomen then an emergency visit and surgery may be needed.

I recommend that you feed small meals of a homemade diet of 2/3 boiled white, skinless chicken, all fats drained off the meat, and 1/3 plain, boiled, white rice several times a day. Add 1 tablespoon of canned pumpkin, (not pie filling, just pumpkin), to each meal for fiber to help cushion and push the bell through. Feeding small meals several times a day keep the intestinal tract moving and hopefully will envelope the bell so it doesn't get stuck.

I would also give doses of hairball lubricants (Laxatone, Petra Malt for example) several times a day to help the bell slide through rather than catch.

Gastrointestinal motility is never normal with a foreign material present. So while most foods are processed and stools produced in less than 24 hours it may take days for the bell to pass. Rarely it gets partially caught and moves very slowly so may take even longer. But as long as it keeps moving and he remains comfortable and eating I am happy.

You will need to check every stool for the bell until it passes.

Once he's passed it and feeling fine then start mixing in his regular food, adding a little more regular and less bland at each meal. It should take a week to get him converted back to regular food.

The signs of zinc toxicosis include:

vomiting
diarrhea
red urine
jaundice (yellow mucous membranes)
liver failure
kidney failure
anemia (low numbers of red blood cells)

Generally the first symptoms you would see are vomiting and diarrhea, and then red blood cell lysis (breakage) lead to the other signs. Treatment includes removal of the bell, (via endoscopy or surgery) and then supportive care including fluids and possibly a transfusion.

If he starts to feel poorly and you cannot have him seen today, then tomorrow morning at his usual veterinarian is best.

It has been my pleasure to help you today, and I hope that I have earned my 5 star rating. Please remember to rate my service by selecting the 5 stars at the top of the screen (rating me now does not close your question). You are welcome to ask follow up questions about my response here until you are satisfied, simply use the reply box and let me know. Thank you!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok take your time

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