Q: I am very worried about my cat, Felix. He is a three-year-old indoor cat. We recently moved from the east coast to California. Felix was a little upset with the car ride, but did fine and adjusted to the new place quickly.
About three weeks ago, he was scratching his neck a lot and had several hairballs. After a visit to a vet, he was diagnosed with seasonal allergies and given a cortisone shot, after which he did great.
Two days ago, I came home from work to find several vomit piles, none of which were hairballs, and a very unhappy cat. Yesterday, he did not eat or drink anything and I took him to the vet who ran blood work (nothing abnormal), x-rays (nothing found), and he was given subcutaneous fluid and anti-vomiting meds.
He did fine last night; then today has vomited several more times. Could this be a simple “stomach bug?” What other tests would you recommend?
A: Sorry to hear Felix is under the weather. It is uncommon for cats to get a “stomach bug.” Vomiting and lack of interest in food can be several things…from minor to more serious.
Allergies can cause cats to vomit, and although their scratching may be under control, vomiting can persist. Other frequent causes of vomiting in cats of Felix’s age include the ingestion of foreign objects. Frequently these objects are string or rope material or parts of their favorite toys. It is not always possible to see these foreign objects on plain x-rays, and special dye studies may be required.
A more serious condition that could cause these symptoms is pancreatitis. Again, it is not uncommon that x-rays and routine bloodwork will be completely normal. Ultrasound and specialized bloodwork are often required to make the diagnosis of pancreatitis.
If Felix’s symptoms are persistent, I would recommend a re-check with your veterinarian for additional testing, likely to include a barium (dye) study or an abdominal ultrasound examination.
Good luck with Felix and keep us updated!
Dr. Donna Spector, DVM, DACVIM
Do you need vet advice? Post a comment with your veterinary questions and we will send them to Dr. Donna Spector to be answered in a future column.
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