Gastritis is a scientific term for inflammation of the stomach. The typical signs are vomiting, often associated with loss of appetite and lethargy.
Gastritis in cats can occur suddenly as a short episode and acutely, or it can be a chronic disease, for which diagnosis and treatment are essential to resolve the problem.
Gastritis is often the result of eating spoiled food or other cat illnesses.
Gastritis symptoms in cats
Vomiting is the most common sign of gastritis. But because it is often the result of an underlying health problem, there may be other symptoms among these include:
- Vomiting, which can be intermittent and can consist of food, hair, or bile.
- Weight loss, most likely in chronic gastritis.
- Poor appetite
- Increased thirst.
- Blood in vomit or stool.
- Abdominal pain.
- Behavior change, such as becoming hyperactive.
Causes of gastritis in felines
Gastritis can occur for a simple reason, such as overeating or for more complex causes.
The causes are many, but here are the main ones:
- Excess food, of poor quality or in poor condition.
- Infections, especially with Helicobacter pylori.
- Food allergy.
- Foreign bodies, such as hair or indigestible objects.
- Liver disease
- Renal disease.
- Inflammatory bowel syndrome
- Overactive thyroid glands.
- Damage to the stomach lining caused by medications.
Diagnosis of gastritis in cats
In cases of acute gastritis in a cat, the vet may choose to treat the symptom (vomiting) rather than make a definitive diagnosis. Many cases of acute gastritis are short-lived, easily resolved, and an extensive diagnostic evaluation is rarely required.
However, if the problem persists for more than 24 hours, a diagnosis may be necessary.
This includes performing blood tests to check organ function and looking for signs of a systemic disease that can cause vomiting.
The blood test will help to know how dehydrated your pet is, how much blood has lost, if the disease is long-term, if it is caused by a defective immune system or liver disease, if it has ulcers or some other disease of the organs which is causing stomach inflammation.
Analysis of stool is useful if there is a suspicion of pinworms in the stomach.
The abdominal radiographs , radiographs contrast and abdominal ultrasound may also help determine the underlying cause of inflammation of the stomach.
In the most complex cases, biopsies of the full thickness of the stomach wall may be necessary to establish a diagnosis. This allows a histologist to examine a tissue sample under a microscope and identify the nature of the pathology.
Treatment of gastritis in cats
For mild acute gastritis, your vet may prescribe antacid or anti-inflammatory medications . Not eating for 24 hours allows the stomach to rest and the inflammation to subside, followed by a gradual introduction of water and a soft diet. Some suggestions: boiled chicken, turkey, or rice.
If hairballs are suspected as a cause of the problem, regular brushing of the cat helps prevent it from happening again.
In case of allergy to certain foods, changing the diet to a hypoallergenic one that avoids the activation of allergens can end the symptoms.
If a foreign body is identified, surgery to remove the object should resolve the issues.
When a causative organism, such as roundworms or helicobacter bacteria , is identified , a vermifuge or a specific antibiosis helps to solve the problem.
The vet may also prescribe medications such as sucralfate to protect the stomach lining or omeprazole to reduce acid production. This is to provide more favorable conditions for the healing of the stomach wall. Once the symptoms go away, the medicine can be slowly removed.
For more severe cases, a veterinarian can administer antiemetic medications that decrease or eliminate vomiting and provide fluid and electrolyte therapy for dehydration.
How to prevent gastritis in cats
To prevent the development of gastritis in your cat, you can follow the following tips:
It is essential to provide your cat with a quality balanced diet and to respect the amount of food appropriate to its size and age. In addition to eliminating prohibited foods from its diet, remember not to offer foods that are spicy or that are difficult for your cat to digest.
At home, avoid leaving the garbage within reach of your cat. Avoid their access to cleaning products, pesticides, medications and other products that can be harmful to your pet.
Control your exits abroad
Many cats are used to being free in the street, but this wandering represents a serious risk to their health. In addition to the risk of eating spoiled food or toxic substances, they can also be infected by many pathologies, either in street fights, during sex or by direct contact with pathogens.
All cats should consume appropriate preventive medications throughout their lives. Therefore, do not forget to make regular visits to the vet, follow the reminders for vaccination and periodic deworming, and always keep your pet physically and mentally stimulated.
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