Gastric Motility Disorder in Cats

Overview of Gastric Motility Disorder in Cats

Gastric motility disorders are abnormalities that result from conditions that disrupt normal emptying of the stomach resulting in distention and subsequent abnormal function of the stomach.

Causes of Gastric Motility Disorder in Cats

There are many causes of gastric motility disorders, including:

Metabolic Disorders

Nervous Inhibition

Primary Stomach Diseases


Gastric motility disorders are seen in both dogs and cats. There are no sex, breed or age predilections, however it is uncommon to see primary disorders in younger animals.

What to Watch For

Diagnosis of Gastric Motility Disorders in Cats

A thorough knowledge of history and clinical signs is very important and is most helpful in making the diagnosis. Diagnostic tests are necessary to confirm a diagnosis of gastric motility disorders. They include:

Treatment of Gastric Motility Disorders in Cats

Treatment for gastric motility disorders is dependent upon the precise disease. In addition, symptomatic/supportive therapy may be indicated, regardless of the disease itself.

Home Care and Prevention

Administer prescribed medication and follow all feeding instructions. Contact your veterinarian if signs continue or worsen.

There is no specific preventative care available.

In-depth Information on Feline Gastric Motility Disorders

Gastric motility disorders result from conditions that directly or indirectly disrupt normal emptying of the stomach that results in gastric distention and subsequent signs of illness. Although some gastric motility disorders are primary, the majority of cases occur secondary to other conditions or disorders.

The magnitude of clinical signs depends on both the specific disease process and the severity of that disease. The clinical signs are often chronic, often present for weeks or months and most often include some degree of vomiting, usually of food. Because the history, physical exam findings and overall presentation of animals with gastric motility disorders may be variable and sometimes nonspecific, there are other illnesses and symptoms that might initially be considered when establishing a definitive diagnosis, especially those that cause chronic vomiting. These include:

Diagnosis In-depth

Certain diagnostic tests must be performed to diagnose a gastric motility disorder, and to exclude other disease processes that may cause similar symptoms. A thorough work-up begins with a broad general baseline of tests, and in many cases, more specialized or advanced testing may be indicated as well. It is important to note that an accurate diagnosis is necessary for an appropriate treatment regime.

Your veterinarian may recommend additional tests to insure optimal medical care. These are selected on a case-by-case basis.

Therapy In-depth

In patients with gastric motility disorders, little is as important as finding the underlying cause to insure appropriate therapy. Most patients are treated as outpatients, although in critically ill animals with severe vomiting and dehydration, hospitalization and intensive therapy is necessary. Therapy for gastric motility disorders include:

Follow-up Care for Cats with Gastric Motility Disorders

Optimal treatment for your pet requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. There is no set regime when following animals with gastric motility disorders, rather a plan that is formulated specifically for that individual. It is important to administer all prescribed medications and follow feeding recommendations closely.

The length of treatment depends on the ability to resolve the underlying disorder or on the response to therapy. Depending on the underlying disorder, some gastric motility disorders are very treatable and even curable; however, others may have a good prognosis, such as in the case of an invasive or metastatic tumor.