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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 34224
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My cat vomits strenuously. Usually a fur ball is the cause

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My cat vomits strenuously. Usually a fur ball is the cause but I think he is vomiting too much and is loosing weight because he is vomiting up most of his food. He is 11 years old I have had him for 18 months. The problem seems to have been more acute in the last 6 months.

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Daisy. I don't agree with his vet. Cats vomiting as Daisy has been doing are most often diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) - an idiopathic (unknown cause) inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract which usually responds to a glucococorticoid (steroid) such as prednisolone, the antiinflammatory antibiotic metronidazole, or both. We also need to consider a particularly nasty type of hairball called a trichobezoar, chronic pancreatitis or hepatitis, as well as a food intolerance. Daisy's vet will want to thoroughly examine him including performing diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests. If nothing untoward is found, an abdominal ultrasound is indicated because that imaging modality is particularly sensitive for evaluating the gastrointestinal tract itself. We're mainly interested in seeing if the inflammation associated with IBD or its sequela small cell lymphoma (older cats, usually) is present.

Food intolerance/allergy is addressed with prescription hypoallergenic diets. These special foods contain just one novel (rabbit, duck, e.g.) animal protein or proteins that have been chemically altered (hydrolyzed) to the point that Daisy's immune system doesn't "see" anything to be allergic to. The over the counter hypoallergenic foods too often contain proteins not listed on the label - soy is a common one - and these proteins would confound our evaluation of the efficacy of the hypoallergenic diet. The prescription foods are available from his vet. There are many novel protein foods and a prototypical hydrolyzed protein food is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d ultra (a hydrolyzed protein diet is my preference because it avoids the possibility of my patient being intolerant to even a novel protein). A positive response is usually seen within a few weeks if we’ve eliminated the offending food allergen. Food intolerance can arise at any age and even after our patient has been eating the same food for quite some time.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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