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Senior Cat Vomiting, Potential Ibd??

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by sidneykitty, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. sidneykitty

    sidneykitty Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Dec 25, 2015
    Oregon
    Hello! My cat Amber, 14 years old, whom I've had for about 3 years now has just recently starting vomiting occasionally. I'd say it started in the last few months (October-ish). She hasn't had any changes to her diet that coincide with the onset of vomiting. She's never ever been a vomiter before, but now its happening approx. a couple of times a week which is way more than normal. Being older, I worry anytime she has the slightest symptom of anything wrong. She gets a regular dose of PEG Powder every day as she is prone to constipation.

    I took her to the vet yesterday and got her blood results back today. They did a whole panel plus a test for her pancreas, cardiac (the vet also heard a murmur which is brand new) and thyroid. Everything was normal as were her kidney levels.

    So its a bit mystifying what is causing her vomiting. The vet recommended a hypoallergenic diet, waiting and seeing, doing an x-ray or ultrasound to look for further diagnostic information or any possible masses she may not have been able to feel in her abdomen.

    I am wondering if this means she could have IBD or lymphoma? Her only symptom is vomiting, she does not have diarrhea and she never has before. What do you think or what is your advice how you would proceed? Start with the hypoallergenic food or go straight to more diagnostics? Anyone know more about IBD treatment and symptoms or been through a similar thing?

    Back in 2015 I had my first cat (Sidney) who was a chronic vomited (almost every night) and she ended up dying of cancer we did not detect early enough to treat. They suspected it was untreated IBD > lymphoma > metastisized. It broke my heart and I never want to go through that again. So, with cat #2 I don't want to let her vomiting go on too long... is it even possible her constipation can be related to IBD?
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019

  2. sabrinah

    sabrinah TCS Member Super Cat

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    Did they do a urinalysis and fecal? Senior cats should get the full workup yearly if possible. Tapeworms can cause vomiting even if they aren't yet seen in stool, and a cat only has to eat one infected flea to get worms. It can happen without having a full flea problem.

    She could also just not be able to tolerate that food anymore. Pet food is changed all the time and it doesn't always sit well with the kitties. The ingredients or amount of certain ingredients could have changed. She could have also developed an intolerance to something in the food. My senior cat ended up with the same problem and was only able to eat a few commercial canned foods without throwing up, despite having good results on all her tests. I gave up and started making her food. If starting on the hypoallergenic foods would make you more comfortable go for it, but I would probably get a urinalysis and fecal and try out some other foods brands and proteins first.
     

  3. sidneykitty

    sidneykitty Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Dec 25, 2015
    Oregon
    Hi @sabrinah, thanks so much for your response!

    They did not do a fecal and we plan to do urine. When she was there Thursday afternoon her bladder was too small so I plan to bring her back to try again in the next couple of days.

    Her last annual with full bloodwork was March last year. I usually take her in every 6 months, but this past November when she was due we just did a checkup no lab work.

    Yes, I did think of worms as well and was a bit surprised the vet didn't mention it. I did just de-worm her around Dec 1 and she gets Revolution every month, so I am not sure it would make sense, though anything's possible!

    Yes, I guess that's true. She gets Hill's j/d joint mobility and a variety of Weruva cans right now for her food. I will definitely go for the food change, I just need to decide what to try. Do you know if there is a difference in treating food allergy vs. IBD or is it pretty much the same?

    I'm wondering if its a problem with chicken.

    Her vomiting is not consistent, either. Last week she vomited twice. Once during the week and then on Sunday morning right after her breakfast, she threw up some kibble. She also dry heaved and did not produce anything more than once which concerned me. Versus this week, she hasn't had a single episode. But I guess IBD can be episodic so maybe that explains it. I opened a fresh bag of dry food this week as I was worried maybe the other stuff had gone off.
     

  4. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Hi. To test new food, you are going to have to wait at least 6 weeks or more to begin to notice a change, if one were to occur at all. If you are comfortable waiting that long, then you can put off more diagnostic work. If it were me, I wouldn't want to wait that long to proceed. While IBD can happen at any age, there are a lot of other things that can happen, especially with a 14 yo kitty.

    I have a 14+ and I watch her "like a hawk" nowadays.
     
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  5. sabrinah

    sabrinah TCS Member Super Cat

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    Have you paid attention to what you're feeding when she throws up? Maybe try keeping a diary or something to see if there's a correlation anywhere. When I was trying to figure out what was making my cat sick (after doing all standard tests and getting zero help from the vets) it's what I did. It was easy to figure out it was linked to some kind of changes within the formulation of some brands (there was quite a few in the rotation), not protein for us. The only brands she liked and could keep down were just too expensive for me exclusively feed, so I had to switch to making food.

    Could she be throwing up because she gets too hungry in between meals? I've noticed that now that my cat is older, she can't handle having an empty bowl. I always make sure she has dry before leaving the house or going to bed but if she eats it all before the next meal (doesn't happen often) she throws up the next meal every single time.

    My only experience with IBD is from living with a relatives cat that has it and caring for the kitty when my relative was out of town or something. She manages it by giving B-12 shots and by feeding a certain way. She feeds Weruva but sticks to only the chicken varieties (I think that might be because the non-IBD kitty is a very picky boy). At each meal the IBD kitty gets 1/4 can, and one she finishes that she has to wait at least 15 minutes before she's given another 1/2 can. This generally keeps her from throwing up. When she's going through a rough patch she has to be fed a tablespoon at a time with like 15 minutes between each scoop. We also had to be careful with what we fed that kitty. She loved Greenies to death but she was guaranteed to throw up if she got her paws on one.
     
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  6. sidneykitty

    sidneykitty Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Oregon
    Hi @FeebysOwner! Yes, actually that is a very good point. I am very worried that if it is IBD it will become cancer. Waiting too long isn't something I want to do again. The u/s is the only way we'll really know anything at all. I'm calling the vet this morning to ask a few more questions (I'm wondering if her B12 levels were checked on bloodwork) and then may book the u/s at that time. Do you know if I would change her food and proceed with the u/s or should I keep her diet the same until then? ( will ask the vet this as well) Thank you!

    sabrinah, I have tried, but I haven't seen much of any trend. I guess part of the problem is I try to feed her a different wet food every night as she seems to get sick of things easily. She often will not eat her wet food at all, its been a battle trying to get her to eat any since I adopted her and she was on dry only. Sometimes I have to really coax her into eating it and other times she'll just chow right down.

    Definitely it could be her stomach being empty...I notice vomiting is almost always happening overnight after she gets wet food (but doesn't always eat it all).

    B12 is something I want to ask about as the vet didn't mention it at all to me. I used to work at a cat hospital and I know almost all our IBD cats had low b12 and really improved with supplementation.

    I was concerned the vet recommended the Royal Canin Hypoallergenic diet to me as it only comes in dry and I'd really like to keep her eating at least some wet food especially with her constipation. I'm hoping she gives me a few alternatives with cans to consider when I call today.

    Thanks again :)
     
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  7. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Usually when a food change is made (unless the circumstances require an immediate change) it is done gradually by mixing a little of the new with the old, and over time increasing the new and reducing the old. I am not sure how this plays out with your girl because of the vomiting, but you could try this process while you are getting tests done and waiting for the results.

    Also, as far as dry food - you can add a little bit of water to it and see if she will eat the food that way. If so, you could then slightly increase the water - again over time - and see how she reacts to that as well.

    Are you leaving out some dry overnight, just in case it does have something to do with her having an empty stomach?
     
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  8. sidneykitty

    sidneykitty Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Right. That makes sense. I will plan to do so. She has generally been a surprisingly healthy cat for her age whenever we take her for check-ups. I'm hoping we're getting on this early enough to do some good.

    Right, that's something I haven't yet tried. I can give it a shot and see how we go. She definitely prefers dry. Last night she wouldn't touch her wet food I gave her for dinner so I did cave in and give her some dry instead, which she ate straight away. I'm always battling between whether I should feed her what she likes and will eat because of her age or if I should continue to try to get her to eat wet food for hydration.

    Normally I don't leave any dry out at night. She always gets dry in the morning, wet in the evening. I think I will give that a try and see if it helps. She's always been a bit of a grazer as she was used to being free-fed dry food before I adopted her.
     
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  9. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Tbh, there are a lot of things that I've decided over the years that I have been doing with my cat that aren't probably the best - BUT, at her age, I think I am not going to try to change too much with her. (She does now eat wet for dinner, which I only started 2-3 years ago; but is a grazer so dry is always left out for her.)

    I guess one other thing you could try since you're worried about liquid intake is to buy a water fountain - a lot of the folks here say it really does help with getting water down their cats. I haven't done that with Feeby (yet), but I did put out multiple water dishes for her. Sadly, as it turns out she prefers just one of them and does most of her drinking from it.
     

  10. sidneykitty

    sidneykitty Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Hah yes, that is kind of how I feel about it, too. Sometimes I just decide okay you want dry food, go for it. For the most part I let her do whatever she wants. (including going on the kitchen table...something that has shocked some people! doesn't everyone let their cat do that?) Well done getting your cat to eat wet for dinner. Is that Feeby? :) With my first cat, it took me six months to transition her to consistently eat wet food for dinner. Amber, on the other hand, has taken longer and still hasn't fully made the switch.

    That's true! Definitely I can try that. She does drink a lot of water on her own initiative. I just worry about it because she gets constipated.
     

  11. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Yes, my avatar is Feeby. Yours is Amber? I think because Feeby can have both wet and dry is why she is OK with wet for dinner. But, starting her off so late in life (I am guessing), she mostly 'laps' at the wet, so there is a routine going on that I have to scoop it up into pile after she laps it flat, and repeat multiple times for just 1/3 of a can. Then, she always leaves a little of pretty-much-dried-out wet (from the lapping?) and so I add a tad of water to get her to finish.

    There is only one piece of furniture that Feeby gets on that isn't intended for her to do that - a coffee table between two couches. It is her short cut to cross from one couch to the other!
     

  12. sidneykitty

    sidneykitty Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Yes, its Amber. Feeby is really adorable!! Oh my Amber does the same thing with her wet...I tried adding water later but she just wanted the broth, I think!

    Aw that's cute. Nice shortcut, though! Yes I have never really disciplined my cats much...they get a bit spoiled.

    Well, she's got booked in for an ultrasound Monday morning. Much sooner than I expected. Maybe I will wait for the results before changing her food since its so soon... they are also hoping to get her urine sample then since we still need to do that.

    Now I am considering what food to get. The vet clarified she could also have Hill's z/d. I'm a bit confused why she didn't recommend Hill's d/d as well though. Also wondering if she has had duck literally only once before, would that mean that it wouldn't be an option now? She didn't like the duck so I never got it again.
     
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  13. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

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    Amber, at the time you took the picture in your avatar, seems to be at a slightly shaggy stage. Beautiful, cuddly appearing and shaggy. Do you brush her often? Several times a week perhaps? Have you picked up the vomit and 'dissected' it to see what is in it? Is she working on hairballs? Maybe not every time but some of the time? Sometimes when looking for the big things, it doesn't hurt to glance at the little ones.

    It took several months to figure out that our cat was sensitive to some basic ingredient in everything Purina made and every thing Mars Corporation made. Never did figure out what it was, just that she threw up within an hour of eating any of their foods. The vet thought it was IBD. We got her on a non Purina, non Mars food and she stopped throwing up, except for the occasional hair ball.

    I, personally, can spring awake from a deep long sleep at the sound of a cat hacking a hair ball. I'm usually pushing the cat off the bed before I get my eyes completely open. I mean hacking in my shoes, okay that's life, on three layers of duvet and blanket please no. Sometimes the cat is in the next room. That is why I think of hairballs.
     

  14. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Good points by @Kflowers! A simple but sometimes unappealing (to 2 of my 3 cats) hairball treatment is Vaseline - a little dab on the finger a couple times a week stopped hairballs altogether in my first cat, Tawny - he loved the stuff. Not so much Gracie or Feeby. I had to get a hairball gel (sure it was probably malt flavored Vaseline - lol) for Gracie. And, Feeby eats Temptations Hairball Control treats.

    Amber is very pretty! Ask the vet about the z/d vs d/d. There must be a reason, even if they are both for skin/food sensitivities. If you do decide to try the duck, I wouldn't buy a ton of it - just in case.
     
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  15. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

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    In the kitchen, you might try putting the Vaseline on the top of one of Amber's front paws so she can lick it off. I say the kitchen in case she decides to rub it off on the floor. In my experience cats preferred the taste of Vaseline to that of expensive hairball medicine, which is, often, as @FeebysOwner said, flavored Vaseline.
     
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  16. sidneykitty

    sidneykitty Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Hi @Kflowers! Ha funny you should say that.. actually my avatar is still my first cat, Sidney, who passed away in 2015. She was long haired and needed a lot of brushing. :)

    Here's a much more recent photo of Amber:

    [​IMG]
    I do brush her regularly. I like to do it at night before we go to sleep at least a few times a week. I definitely inspect the vomit! A couple of times it was dried up before I got to it and it was hard to tell.

    Once was definitely a hairball - it was all hair and looked a little poop-like. Once recently it was undigested kibble. Other times it was like the white-ish spittle type of stuff and usually it is just yellow-greenish liquid with little else. So its been very variable. She also had a poop recently that was pretty hairy, so she's passing it sometimes... I'm going to start keeping a log of symptoms and food.

    I, too, wake up to the sounds of her vomiting! And every time, I struggle to go back to sleep because I start worrying...

    I have a tube of hairball remedy which is basically just vaseline, but she's not too keen on licking it.
     
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  17. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

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    such a pretty plush kitty. Yes, I see hairball potential there. Wish that could have been the problem. Never mind, we're here for you for however long the journey takes. I admit we went through the nope not this food, nope not this one, &()& not this one, before I got on the site. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief. No, actually, no one cares how long it takes, or how much detail you put in your posts --- I don't think anyone has ever made a long post here -- I know there are never too many pictures (I still havn't got the hang of that.)

    The key thing is we're here for you and Amber. Don't jump to the darkest conclusions. Face them if you have to, go to the vet when you need to, but it's amazing how the relatively harmless stuff can mess up a cat's digestion. Of course, it can do the same to a person's, usually a person who is trying to figure out why their cat is throwing up again.

    I do think that pale splotches in a carpet from 'missed a spot' give the room an Renaissance ambiance of clouds drifting through a white/gray sky beneath your feet. It's like flying. Hydrogen peroxide rubbed on with paper towels, let sit for a few minutes then rub off will take care of that brownish red stain from dry food.
     

  18. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Whoops, I think both @Kflowers and I got screwed up with what Amber looked like from one of your previous posts. But, thanks for the pic of Amber - and, she is adorable!!
     
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  19. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

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    yes, but I took it in stride and kept posting. But now I've got to toddle.
     
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  20. LTS3

    LTS3 TCS Member Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Clearly foamy vomit was my IBD cat's only symptom at first. I didn't think much of it until I took him to the vet for a dental concern and mentioned the vomiting. My cat cat also lost a bit of weight, not enough for me to notice. Vet felt around the abdomen and felt thickened intestines and immediately knew it was IBD. He did an endoscopy and biopsy as well to confirm.

    The vet prescribed Hills Z/D but I just continued to feed a commercial raw food in rabbit. There was a bunch of medications in the beginning: pred, Fagyl, antibiotics, Cerenia, B12. These days my cat only gets B12 monthly.

    There's info here on IBD:

    IBDKitties – Helping Save Lives…One Paw at a Time
    Raw Feeding for IBD Cats
     
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