Many cats are subject to unnecessary treatment for a hairball while a more serious disease may be left undiagnosed. Your Joplin veterinarians at Cornerstone rarely see cats that are truly vomiting due to hairballs. Veterinarians recognize that long-haired cats may develop a true hairball problem and even that theory is currently being questioned. Cats spend about 25% of their waking hours grooming.The normal cat consumes some hair during grooming, which is simply passed through the digestive tract. However, in cats that have decreased motility of the digestive tract, hair accumulates in the stomach. This causes vomiting issues, sometimes vomiting such accumulated hair. The truth is: cats should not vomit anything on a regular basis.
All Joplin veterinarians have seen cats that vomit hairballs routinely, with the mixture being hair, food, or simply stomach fluid. The difficult questions are- how much vomiting per month is abnormal and how much vomiting will you tolerate, as an owner? While any vomiting regularly is abnormal, Cornerstone veterinarians will become concerned if a cat is vomiting three or more times per month. Unfortunately, often owners determine this is just a hairball issue and allow the real cause to go undetected.
There are several reasons for slow motility leading to hairball formation and vomiting. These include inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal lymphoma, other neoplasias without mass formation, food intolerance, and other infectious causes. Your Cornerstone Veterinarians feel it is time to stop labeling these cats as ” hairball cats and chronic pukers”. It is time to stop cleaning cat vomit and hairballs by determining the true source of the problem.
By far the most common reason for chronic vomiting is the inflammatory bowel disease complex. This complex may have other serious long-tern health consequences for your cat. Inflammatory bowel disease may be caused by a variety of reasons including: stress, grain-based diets, and lack of water intake.Your Joplin Veterinarians at Cornerstone are able to help you manage inflammatory disease with dietary management in many cases when treated early. As the disease persists undiganosed, more damage is done to the intestinal lining leading to deficiencies of nutrients and interference with absorption. Secondary intestinal problems occur requiring more complex treatments. Inflammatory bowel disease, if left unchecked in many cases, becomes a precursor for intestinal lymphoma later in life. This makes unchecked inflammatory bowel disease very serious.
Your Cornerstone Veterinarians in Joplin recommend evaluating any cat that vomits over twice a month. This examination will allow the development of a treatment plan that will improve your cat’s life and reduce cancer risk.