Chronic gastritis Certain cats, dogs and ferrets vomit frequently due to an inflamed stomach.

Two personality types are involved. One is the animal that regularly eats objectionable objects such as dirt, gravel, feces, leaves bark and wood. Sometimes this is a response to boredom. We call this condition pica and I cannot say what is going through these pet’s minds. The second group of pets is high-strung and somewhat neurotic. They are usually thin and often have dry hair coats. They often also have bouts of diarrhea and can never tolerate changes in their diets. When I think of this condition I think of German shepherds and Siamese cats and ferrets of any age. The first group of pets has to be supervised at all times. Some veterinarians give them mega doses of B-vitamins to try to alleviate pica. The second group is best fed a very bland monotonous diet. The corticosteroid drugs, prednisone or prednisolone also helps this second group. Gastric Dilatation-volvulus Deep-chested breeds of dogs will occasionally have their stomach flip over on itself causing a kink at either end. When this happens, the stomach quickly over inflates with gas. These dogs try to vomit but cannot. They appear quite ill because circulation to the stomach is cut off. This is a life and death emergency. The animal rapidly goes into shock and becomes toxic. Under light sedation I pass a stomach tube into their stomachs to relive the bloat. Then I open the dogs up, replace the stomach to its proper position and sew it to the abdominal wall so it the problem can not reoccur. Two other forms of knotting of the small intestine, volvulus and intussuception also cause vomiting. Volvulus is a spinning round of the intestine causing it to kink. Intussusception is a folding in of the intestine upon itself. In both cases food cannot pass and circulation to that portion of the bowel is interrupted. Some people call this a strangulated intestine. I correct both these problems surgically. Tumors of the Stomach and IntestinesIn old debilitated dogs, cats and ferrets vomiting can be a sign of tumors of the stomach or small intestine. These tumors can be large fleshy masses or subtle infiltration of the walls of the stomach and intestine with cancerous cells. I see more of these cases in cats and ferrets than in dogs. Often I can feel the tumor through the abdominal wall (see article on cancer in pets in this series). If I am uncertain of the diagnosis I give these pets oral barium sulfate (contrast medium) and then X-ray them periodically as the barium moves through the stomach and intestines. The contrast medium outlines the shape of tumors that would normally be invisible on X-ray. I usually make the final diagnoses by surgically opening the animal and removing samples of the stomach and intestine to be sent to a pathologist. We call this procedure an exploratory laparotomy. These tumors are usually malignant and not good candidates for surgery. I try to convince the owners to euthanize these pets - it is the least you can do to prevent suffering of an old friend. Metabolic Disorders: Kidney Disease And UremiaIn older pets with failing kidneys, toxic products build up in the blood stream causing depression, nausea and vomission. Earlier in uremia, pets keep their bodies cleansed of waste products by drinking and urinating excessively. Although their kidneys have lost much of their ability to concentrate wastes in the urine, the large quantities of dilute urine produced maintain their metabolic equilibrium. Eventually excessive drinking no longer suffices and blood levels of urea and creatinine reach toxic amounts at which vomiting occurs. At this stage of kidney disease, ulcers also form in the stomach and small intestine. Pets with this problem are noticeably ill. They are usually dehydrated, thin and anemic. Administering large quantities of intravenous fluids (diuresis) correct the situation for a while but eventually these pets pass away. Kidney transplantation has been performed successfully in cats to cure uremia. These are cats that suffered acute kidneys loss due to consuming antifreeze. The procedure is much less successful in cases of chronic kidney disease where other organs have been damaged over time. Liver DiseaseLiver disease in dogs, cats and ferret is another cause of vomission. Liver damage can occurs as the result of eating poisonous products or through

bacterial and viral infection. These pets are often jaundiced or yellow. Stool specimens from these animals may be light in color or deep yellow. Blood enzymes associated with liver damage are usually quite elevated. They may also show excessive thirst, weight loss, prolonged bleeding time and fluid buildup in their abdomens. Many of these pets respond to treatment and go on to live relatively normal lives and when they do vomission ceases. Some need long-term specialty bland diets to lessen the workload of the liver. Heat StrokeHeat stroke is common in dogs with flat faces and longhaired breeds left in the sun too long in the hot summer months. Over heating is extremely common in ferrets but not in cats. These pets are giddy. Their breath is rapid and shallow and they often vomit and produce diarrhea. They are depressed, have rapid heart rates and may collapse or have seizures. Their body temperatures can be as high as 109F. I lower their core body temperature as rapidly as I can by immersing them in ice water. Adrenal Gland DiseaseHypoadrenocorticism or Addison’s disease is a condition in which the two adrenal glands produce insufficient cortisone. A common sign of this disease is vomiting – especially during times of stress. The most common form of this disease is probably a form of autoimmunity in which the body destroys its own tissue. Other signs of this disease are depression, diarrhea, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), low blood pressure, muscular weakness and an increase in white blood cells called lymphocytes. Pets may drink excessively. It is a disease with very vague symptoms, which is why it is frequently misdiagnosed. The problems tends to wax and wane, appearing to be a digestive problem one time and a kidney problem another. Dogs and cats with the problem are usually between 4-8 years old. No one breed is more susceptible to the disease than another, but about 70% of pets with this problem are female. Other Disease: Motion SicknessMany pets vomit when they are first taken on car rides. The best way to prevent this is to not feed them before travel. Rolling a car window down slightly to encourage a dog or cat to look out also helps. After a number of car rides the condition usually ceases. When it continues to be a problem the pet can be given Dramamine (dimenhydrinate at 2-4 mg/pound in dogs and 10 mg per cat or ferret) before travel. Feline HyperthyroidismA common sign of elevated thyroid hormone in cats is vomission. The disease usually strikes middle-aged cats. These pets are thin and hyperactive. (see article on hyperthyroidism in cats in this series). PancreatitisSudden inflammation of the pancreas causes frequent vomiting. Dogs presented to me with this condition are usually middle-aged and plump. Schnauzers and standard dachshunds are the most common breeds that I see affected. Often they have recently eaten a very fatty meal. I have not encountered this disease in cats or ferrets. These dogs are depressed and their tummies are tight and painful. They are often dehydrated due to vomiting. Some have diarrhea. X-rays of these pets have a hazy “ground glass” appearance characteristic of this disease and peritonitis. When I draw blood from these dogs the plasma is often very milky in color due to increased cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. High pancreatic enzymes are the signature test for this disease. These tests for pancreatic enzymes (amylase, lipase) are quite elevated and the dogs usually have elevated kidney and liver tests as well as elevated white blood cell counts. Much of the elevation in test results is due to the profound dehydration that accompanies this disease. My first step in treating pancreatitis is to rehydrate the dogs with intravenous fluids, stop the vomission with medications and decrease pancreatic inflammation with corticosteroids. When I have done this I withhold food and water for 3-4 days to allow the pancreas to “rest”. Most veterinarians, including myself, place these dogs on antibiotics of the penicillin/cephalosporin class. I cannot explain the rational for this – we just do it. After 3-4 days I being them back on oral fluids and foods very slowly. Relapses months and years later are common. The best way to prevent them is to feed these pets a high carbohydrate, low fat diet.

Middle and Inner Ear DiseaseEar infections that have migrated to the inner ear affect the organs of balance and can cause vomiting. A much more common sign is head tilt to the affected side (see articles on ear infections and surgery in this series). Feline Heartworm DiseaseFor reasons that are unclear, heartworm disease in cats often causes asthmaticsigns and vomission. Heartworm disease in cats is quite uncommon. I have never seen a case. Please read Threads at bottom of this article. Physical Disorders: Diaphragmatic herniaSometimes vomiting is the only sign of a tear in the diaphragm. A disrupted diaphragm can be a congenital disease that the pet was born with or it can occur as the result of a car accident. Dogs and cats with this problem tend to vomit shortly after eating. They vomit when portions of the stomach or small intestine become trapped in the tear. X-rays pick up this problem. I become suspicious of diaphragmatic hernias when a pet is reluctant to lie down and becomes agitated when its rear end is elevated higher than its shoulders. Diaphragmatic hernias are surgically repaired. Recently, an organism call Bartonella has been implicated in chronic digestive inflammation in cats. The diagnosis of Bartonella infection is made using a laboratory test called the Wesern Blot. When cats are positive for this organism it can be sucessfully treated using azithromycin, doxycycline or rifampin. SOURCE : All Creature Care Article Presented by...Cat Care Support-ResourcesSolutions

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