Gastritis in Cats
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Gastritis is one of the most common gastrointestinal diseases among domestic felines. It is characterized by an inflammation of the gastric mucosa, which can be acute or chronic. Gastritis can affect cats of all ages, whether they are mestizos or of a defined breed. However it is more common in felines that live in the streets. Although gastritis diagnoses are not usually fatal, they require rapid veterinary attention to establish an adequate treatment and avoid any aggravation of symptoms.
In this article at AnimalWised, we will summarize the main symptoms, causes and treatment of gastritis in cats.
Causes and risk factors associated with gastritis
In general, symptoms of acute gastritis are related to inadequate eating habits, such as the unhealthy diets, the consumption of toxic substances (insecticides, medicines, toxic plants, cleaning products, pesticides, etc.), and faeces. The excessive consumption of food, the formation of hairballs and intake of foreign bodies (plastics, toys, etc.)can present a serious risk to proper functioning of the digestive tract of felines.
However, gastritis can also appear as a symptom of other underlying pathologies, such as bacterial or viral infections, kidney or liver problems, food allergies and cancer. Intestinal parasites can also cause severe inflammation in the intestinal mucosa.
Felines that maintain an unbalanced diet based on low-quality feed, prohibited consumption of inappropriate foods (such as spicy, greasy or spicy foods), are more vulnerable to gastrointestinal pathologies. In addition, stress appears as an common risk factor of gastritis, as well as the excessive consumption of antibiotics.
When not treated quickly and adequately, inflammation in the gastric mucosa can worsen, giving rise to chronic gastritis. In these pictures, we can observe damages not only to the stomach, but also to the bacterial flora of the intestine.
Symptoms of gastritis in cats
In general, the first symptoms of gastritis present themselves as intense pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen, accompanied by the sensation of heartburn, mainly after meals. As our cats do not express pain or indigestion as clearly as we do, these symptoms may go unnoticed.
With the advance of inflammation, the most common symptoms of gastritis will appear. At this stage, your cat may present the following clinical signs:
- Vomiting: in acute gastritis, the animal presents sudden and frequent vomiting, which may contain bile, fresh or digested blood. Already in chronic gastritis, vomiting is severe and persistent, and may also be accompanied by blood and bile. Vomiting bile appears as a yellow or green color. Fresh blood gives a red or reddish-brown color to vomit, while digested blood appears as dark grains or nodules.
- Alteration in mucous membranes: if the gastritis of the animal is derived from the consumption of some toxic substance, its mucous membranes may appear yellowish as a symptom of intoxication. In cases of more severe gastritis, mucous membranes are usually pale, due to the loss of blood.
Other symptoms of gastritis in cats:
- Loss of appetite and weight
- Weakness and lethargy
- Excessive drooling
- Blood in the stool
Diagnosis of gastritis in cats
If you notice any of the already mentioned symptoms in your cat, you should go to the veterinarian immediately. In a clinic, a professional can analyze the symptoms in detail and propose necessary clinical tests to verify the health status of your cat and most importantly rule out the presence of foreign bodies in its digestive tract. If you are suspicious it is in fact chronic gastritis, your veterinarian may also request to perform a biopsy of the gastric mucosa.
Treatment of gastritis in cats
Once a diagnosis of gastritis is confirmed, treatment will depend fundamentally on the cause and progress of the pathology in the organism of the animal. If the presence of a foreign body in the stomach is identified, it will be essential to remove it surgically.
In mild acute gastritis, stopping food consumption for a certain time (from 12 up to 48 hours) and limiting water intake can be effective in relieving inflammation and alleviating pain. During recovery, it is essential to feed your cat several times a day, offering a small amount of food in each feeding.
In more advanced cases, the veterinarian may administer antibiotics and corticosteroids to control the progress of inflammation in the digestive tract and to treat possible infections. On the other hand, if the cat is suffering from frequent vomiting, antiemetic drugs may be used to reverse the condition.
In all cases of gastritis, it is essential to change the animal's diet, correcting bad habits noted in its routine in order to avoid future episodes of severe inflammation. Your veterinarian can help guide you regarding these changes to offer a better quality of life for you cat.
How to prevent gastritis in cats?
When it comes to the health of our pets, we must always bear in mind the saying that "prevention is better than cure". To prevent the development of gastritis in your feline, remember to follow these below mentioned tips :
- Good nutrition: it is essential to provide a balanced diet of excellent quality to your cat. It is also very important to respect the amount of food appropriate to its size and age. In addition to removing prohibited foods from its diet, remember not to offer spicy human food or hard-to-digest foods to your cat.
- Home care: avoid leaving trash or any kind of waste within reach of your cat. Organize your home in an intelligent way, avoiding access to cleaning products, pesticides, medicines, and other products which can be for your pet.
- Control exterior influences: many cats are accustomed to walk alone outside, but this wandering presents a serious risk to their health. In addition to the risk of consuming foods of poor condition or toxic substances, they can also be infected by numerous pathologies, whether in street fights, during sexual intercourse or by direct contact with pathogens.
- Preventive medicine: all cats must consume adequate preventive medicine throughout their lives. Therefore, remember to make periodic visits to the veterinarian every 6 months, respect vaccination reminders and periodic deworming, and always keep your pet physically and mentally stimulated.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to Gastritis in Cats, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.