Cat diarrhea and vomiting is an unfortunate but common part of pet ownership. Cats are susceptible to a large range of stomach upsets, which can often manifest themselves by the cat having vomiting, or diarrhea, or both.
Anytime your cat experiences a bout of vomiting or diarrhea, it is concerning.
The underlying cause of vomiting and or diarrhea in cats must be found, so that the causative factors can be changed or eliminated. Because chronic vomiting and diarrhea (occurring more than 2-3 times a week on a regular basis) can be both a sign of serious underlying health problems, and also a serious illness themselves, it is imperative that vomiting and diarrhea be treated and stopped before it can become a more serious problem.
What Causes Cat Vomiting and Diarrhea?
While many times the cause of cat diarrhea and vomiting can be traced (a diet change, increased stress, etc), diarrhea and vomiting that occur without any obvious cause can be perplexing and frustrating to treat and cure.
All pets, especially cats, can have sensitive stomachs. Cats are especially susceptible to food sensitivities, allergies and intolerance that can manifest in the form of vomiting and diarrhea. If your cat begins having increased episodes of vomiting or diarrhea following a diet change, he or she may not be able to tolerate one of the ingredients in the new food. Often changing the food back to the previous type will solve this problem. If it does not, an exclusionary or home-prepared diet may be required to help determine what ingredients your cat is sensitive to, so that a diet may be made or obtained without this ingredient.
Despite a cat owners best intentions and efforts to find a food that does not cause problems, some cats do not tolerate commercially prepared cat foods as well as they should. These cats often develop chronic diarrhea and vomiting, which can leave them unable to absorb nutrients from their food properly, causing low energy levels and a poor hair coat. In addition, chronic diarrhea in cats has been found to correlate with inflammatory bowel disease, a condition where the lining of the intestine becomes chronically inflamed and irritated. In addition to being continually uncomfortable for the cat, left untreated the IBD will often develop into lymphoma, a type of cancer in cats.
What Not To Do?
In the past, a trip to the veterinarian would typically be required, where medications (usually antibiotics) and fasting would be prescribed. However, recent studies have found that in many cases antibiotics are not only unnecessary, their over-use has lead to serious antibiotic resistance problems. Using antibiotics when they are not needed can lead to the failure of antibiotics to be effective in your cat when they are necessary. In addition, use of antibiotics can often cause diarrhea and vomiting in cats, and cause damage to the “good bacteria” in the gut-which not only leaves your pet susceptible to other opportunistic diseases and bacteria, but can lead to a more serious case of vomiting or diarrhea, sometimes necessitating hospitalization. It’s hard to see how treating vomiting and diarrhea with a medication that causes vomiting and diarrhea can be considered a treatment!
While fasting has long been recommended as a treatment for intestinal upset in pets, in cats even a short fast (12 hours) can cause a life-threatening liver problem called Hepatic Lipidosis. For this reason, while fasting can be effective in giving the GI tract a “break” from an intestinal upset, fasting cats for intestinal upset can be a dangerous treatment.
What To Do?
Thankfully, the old method of treatment using antibiotics and fasting can often be avoided with the a soil-based probiotic. Which will help in the treatment of vomiting and diarrhea has been shown to be effective in 97% of cat gastro-intestinal upsets.
If your cat is experiencing chronic diarrhea and vomiting, a visit to your veterinarian is necessary to rule out other potential causes, such as disease (feline panleukopenia), organ problems (kidney failure, hyperthyroidism) and parasites (Giardia, clostridium overgrowth).
While often vomiting and diarrhea in cats can be treated at home with our unique blend of remedies, there are times that vomiting and diarrhea can be a sign of a medical emergency, requiring a visit to your veterinarian.
If vomiting and or diarrhea occur suddenly and repeatedly in a short period of time, a more sinister cause than stomach upset may be to blame. Acute, repeated vomiting in cats can be a sign of acute renal failure in cats. Sudden failure of kidney function can affect almost every body system of the cat, and can be caused by a kidney infection, toxin ingestion (poison, toxic chemical exposure) and kidney obstruction. Affected cats may experience sudden, acute vomiting, lethargy, weakness and disorientation, and their condition is a severe medical emergency.
Because cats can develop a serious liver problem if they refuse to eat or are fasted for any amount of time, anytime your cat develops diarrhea and vomiting and refuses to eat for any length of time should be cause for concern. Care should be taken to vigilantly observe your cat for other symptoms of illness (lethargy, increased or decreased thirst or urination, hiding or increased vocalization) as these can be a sign of a more serious illness.