General information on Hairballs
Hairballs are a result of cats licking and grooming themselves. Cats swallow hair which can collect in the stomach or small intestine. Most of the hair is passed through the digestive system in the stool. When the hair accumulates in the stomach or intestine and cannot be passed, the cat generally vomits the ball of hair. Although hairballs are common in cats, large numbers can be dangerous and can become impacted.
Symptoms of Hairballs
Symptoms of hairballs may include vomiting, gagging, retching, defecation problems, swollen abdomen, loss of appetite, and diarrhea.
Treatments for Hairballs
If you suspect an impacted hairball problem, seek the advice of your vet immediately. He may prescribe a high fiber diet and fiber supplements. There are products available that work to lubricate the cat's digestive tract which help the hairball pass easily and prevent the build up of large balls.
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Hairballs - personal experiences
Hairballs experience by - Grace
Niagara Falls, NY
Chip, my 14 yr. old cat has been vomiting for years. He vomits right after eating,(eats too fast?) he vomits hairballs, too. He is a short haired tabby, and will not take the laxatone. He recently stopped eating, was projectile vomiting food & bile. A trip to the vet, xrays, showed some obstructions. He pooped out long, thin feces, which was all hair. He went on a feeding tube for a few days, got an ultrasound, which showed nothing out of the ordinary, except something in the stomach, gas in the colon.... we feel it is another hairball that Chip simply cannot push out because he is not eating solids. He was sent home over the weekend to see if he would start eating on his own and let nature take its course. I did some research on my own, and read about canned pumpkin. I immediately gave him 2 tablespoons by way of syringe. @ days have passed; he is starting to eat small mouthfuls (I have been feeding him catfood via syringe), but still has not pooped in 3 days. A trip back to the vet is warranted, probably endoscopy to remove hairball? or foreign object? wish I heard about the pumpkin earlier. A lot cheaper route to follow!
Hopefully I will have a happy ending, as his sister is now going through chemo for gastric lymphona (Wisconsin- Madison Protocol) with good results. I would appreciate any prayers you can send my way... Just lost a 20 yr. old cat this past summer...
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