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Vomiting in Cats

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Causes of acute vomiting may include:

Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders

  • Bacterial infection of the GI tract
  • Diet-related causes (diet change, food intolerance, food allergy, dietary indiscretion)
  • Foreign bodies (toys, string, plastic, hairballs)
  • Intestinal intussusception (prolapse of one part of the intestine into another)
  • Intestinal volvulus (torsion of a loop of intestine, causing obstruction with or without compromising the blood supply to the part by strangulation)
  • Intestinal parasites

    Non-gastrointestinal disorders

  • Acute kidney failure
  • Acute liver failure or gall bladder inflammation
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Drugs (certain drugs can cause vomiting including digoxin, cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, adriamycin, erythromycin and tetracycline)
  • Hypercalcemia (excess calcium in the blood)
  • Motion sickness
  • Neurological disorders (such as vestibular disease, meningitis, increased intracranial pressure or other central nervous system disorders)
  • Overeating
  • Pancreatitis
  • Peritonitis (inflammation of the membrane lining the walls of the abdominal and pelvic cavities)
  • Post-operative nausea
  • Pyometra (an accumulation of pus in the uterus)
  • Sepsis/systemic infection
  • Toxins or chemicals
  • Viral infections

    Causes of chronic vomiting may include:

    Gastrointestinal disorders

  • Chronic colitis
  • Chronic gastritis (lymphocytic plasma, eosinophilic, granulomatous)
  • Diaphragmatic hernia
  • Diet related (food allergy or intolerance)
  • Foreign bodies
  • Gastric motility disorders
  • Gastric outflow obstruction (due to a variety of causes)
  • Gastrointestinal ulceration
  • Hiatal hernia (protrusion of a structure, often a portion of the stomach, through the esophageal hiatus of the diaphragm)
  • Hypertrophic gastropathy
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Neoplasia (the formation of a tumor)
  • Parasites
  • Severe constipation

    Non-gastrointestinal disorders

  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Heartworm infection
  • Liver failure
  • Neurological disorders (neoplasia, inflammatory diseases, etc)
  • Kidney failure
  • Toxicity (such as lead)

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