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What are Gastritis?

Gastritis is a scientific term for inflammation of the stomach, and is rarely an end diagnosis in its own right. Typical signs include vomiting, often associated with altered appetite and lethargy. Gastritis in cats can come on suddenly (acute) which may well be self-limiting, or it can be a long-standing condition (chronic), for which diagnosis and treatment are key to resolving the issue. Gastritis is often a result of either eating spoiled food or disease elsewhere in the body.

Gastritis Average Cost

From 560 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Gastritis in Cats

Vomiting is the most common sign of gastritis. But since the condition is often the result of an underlying health issue, there may be other symptoms arising from the primary problem. These include: 

  • Vomiting, which may be intermittent and may consist of food, hair, or bile
  • Recent history of scavenging
  • Weight loss, which is more likely with chronic gastritis
  • Poor appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Behavioral change such as becoming hyperactive
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Causes of Gastritis in Cats

Gastritis can arise for a simple reason, such as eating too much or scavenging spoiled food, or from more complex causes such as an underlying health problem. The causes are numerous and some of the most common include:

  • Overeating, eating too rapidly or eating spoiled food
  • Worms, such as ascarids (roundworms)
  • Infections, such as helicobacter
  • Food allergy
  • Foreign bodies, such as hair or non-digestible objects
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Inflammatory bowel syndrome
  • Overactive thyroid glands
  • Damage to the stomach lining by drugs
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Diagnosis of Gastritis in Cats

In cases of acute gastritis in a cat that is otherwise well, the vet may opt to treat the symptom (vomiting) rather than reach a definitive diagnosis. However, if the problem persists beyond 24 hours then diagnostics may be required. 

These include screening blood tests to check organ function and look for indications of systemic illness which could cause vomiting. The results of these tests may point the clinician in a particular direction, such as running diagnostic blood tests for pancreatitis, or liver or kidney disease. 

Fecal analysis is helpful if an ascarid burden in the stomach is suspected. 

If these tests come back normal, the vet may use imaging such as ultrasound or radiographs to check for foreign bodies in the gut or tumors. If these findings are inconclusive then inspecting the gut lining with an endoscope is helpful and facilitates endoscopic biopsy.

In the most complex cases, full thickness biopsies of the stomach lining may be necessary in order to reach a diagnosis. This allows a histologist to look at a tissue sample under the microscope and identify the nature of the pathology. 

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Treatment of Gastritis in Cats

For mild acute gastritis, the vet may prescribe antacid medications or anti-inflammatories. Withholding food for 24 hours gives the stomach a chance to rest and the inflammation to subside. In addition, if hairballs are suspected as an inciting cause, regular brushing of the cat helps to prevent recurrence. 

In cases of food allergy, changing diet to a hypoallergenic alternative that avoids the triggering allergens can bring about a full resolution of symptoms. Should a foreign object be identified, then surgery to remove the offending item should lead to a resolution of signs.

Where a causative organism is identified such as ascarid worms or helicobacter, then specific deworming or antibiosis helps to resolve the problem. In many cases, managing the underlying condition, such as kidney or liver disease, helps the gastritis to be brought under control. 

The vet can also prescribe medications such as sucralfate to protect the stomach lining, or omeprazole to reduce acid production. This is with the aim of providing more conducive conditions to allow the stomach wall to heal. Once the symptoms resolve, the medication may be slowly withdrawn with the owner carefully monitoring for signs of recurrence.

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Recovery of Gastritis in Cats

For the majority of cases, the outlook is excellent, depending on the cause. However, reaching a diagnosis is sometimes a protracted process that requires patience on the part of the owner.

Triggers such as food allergy may need lifelong management in the form of a special diet, whilst underlying causes such as kidney disease will also need long-term treatment. However, if the trigger is a hairball then simple actions such as brushing the cat daily can bring about a complete and permanent resolution to the problem. 

Once a cat has had gastritis, it may be prone to the condition in the future. Thus the owner is well advised to monitor their cat and seek appropriate treatment early, in order to stop the problem becoming well established and minimize the recovery time. 

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Gastritis Average Cost

From 560 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

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Gastritis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Maine coon

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13 weeks

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting Lethargic

We have a new 13 week.old maine coon kitten. Seemed fine on arrival but not keen on his food and didn't really eat much. On second day gave him a little tuna and he ate that but around 8 hours later he brought up some bile. About 3am he did the same and the following very he was lethargic and wouldn't eat. Vet gave him anti sickness another worm tablet and anti inflammatory as his gums a little red but not.sure if teething as he's chewing. He was fine then and ate his foodWent to.sleep today and when he woke a little bile vomit again. Managed to get a little chicken in him but lethargic still.

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I am sorry for the delay in answering, this platform is not set up for urgent emails. That certainly isn't normal for a kitten, I agree! If he is still having a problem, it would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian for a recheck, as they can examine them and see what might be going on, and give him further treatment if needed.

Oct. 12, 2020

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Barbet

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One month

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting, Loss Of Appetite

What kind of antacid can I give to a month old kitten for a stomach upset

July 12, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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Unfortunately you’re not going to be able to find a size of antacid that is safe for a kitten that is so small and young. If she is actively vomiting it likely won’t be effective either. Kittens can become very dehydrated at that age when they are vomiting so I would recommend taking her to a veterinarian so that they can assess the underlying cause of the vomiting and give her some anti-emetics to help stop the vomiting. Good luck I hope she feels better soon.

July 12, 2020

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Mavis

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Domestic shorthair

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

My 2 year old female cat has been vomiting for a couple of days now. She was spayed a few months ago and I feed her dry cat food. She is active and normal otherwise. She is well hydrated and drinks enough water. But the vomit is concerning me. The vomit is digested food. And twice it was undigested food. The only vet in my town is unavailable at the moment and I am really worried about my cat. What should I do?

Aug. 9, 2018

Mavis' Owner

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1 Recommendations

Vomiting is a really vague symptom and is shared with numerous diseases and conditions including infections, parasites, poisoning, foreign objects, pancreatic disease, liver disease, ileus among many other conditions; in order to determine a cause I would need to examine her to look for other symptoms which may indicate an underlying cause. You should try to get an appointment with your local Veterinarian as soon as possible and ensure that she is kept hydrated in the meantime and offer small regular meals. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 10, 2018

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Tiger

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Maine Coon

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11 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Cat started vomitting a week ago when we were out of town, mostly food and hairballs. Took him to the vet when it became bile. Vet did a nausea shot, blood test, and xray. All of these came back normal. Vomitting bile and not eating started happening again 2 days later so I took him back in they gave him a anti nausea shot and a antibiotic for infection possibility. Two days later we are back to vomitting food and water. The vet mentioned scoping him if this did not work. I am curious what is all causing this and are we taking the right steps?

Feb. 3, 2018

Tiger's Owner

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0 Recommendations

There are various causes of vomiting in cats which may include infections, parasites, foreign objects, other obstructions, liver disease, pancreatic disorders among other causes; endoscopy is useful to rule out some causes but can be costly, if x-rays and blood tests came back normal we would be looking at dietary issues or having to go through with the endoscopy. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Feb. 4, 2018

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Kuro

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Shorthair

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11 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

Kuro is less than a year old, and an indoor-outdoor cat. She has no previous health problems and was fixed and vaccinated as a kitten. She is a short hair, but our house is generally hairy because the elder cat, Izzy, has very long hair. During Christmas my boyfriend and I both left and couldn't take her or Izzy, so we left out 3 days-worth of food and took out the trash. When we got home there was both food and water left, and Kuro appeared to have suddenly gotten fat. We assumed she just overate. We also noticed the bathroom trash can was knocked over, but there was just tissues and q-tips, so no chance of spoiled food. Then two days ago she vomited food mush and white mucus and was tired after, and tonight vomited again, this time with food mush, white mucus, and a small amount of clear liquid with white foam. Her energy afterward is fine. I have been home most of the time the past two weeks, and have not observed any behavioral, eating, or drinking changes, and when I cleaned the litter today everything looked healthy. Her abdomen doesn't seem sensitive when we apply pressure. But I am concerned about the sudden apparent weight gain and vomiting. Could they be related? Thanks for your input.

Jan. 5, 2018

Kuro's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your email. Without examining her, I am not sure if the weight gain and vomiting are related, although it seems unlikely that she would have eaten enough in 3 days to gain that much weight, and the bathroom trash can is concerning, as she may have eaten something that is causing problems and causing her to vomit. At this point I think a visit to your veterinarian makes sense, and have her examined, possibly an x-ray if it is warranted, and make sure that she is okay. I hope everything goes well for her.

Jan. 5, 2018

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Merlin

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Short haired oriental

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Seven Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarhoea, Vomiting, Drooling

A week ago our short haired oriental boy, who is 7, had his annual booster vaccination. By the evening of that day he was clearly unwell, as in very lethargic and not wanting to eat. He also felt really hot. He continued to go down hill, vomited bile a few times and was drooling. Back to the vet who kept him in and put him on a drip because by now he was dehydrated. This is the third day he has been with them and we just had a phone call to say he has produced a huge amount of vile, blood stained diarrhoea, but we can bring him home should we wish. I have suggested to the vet that he’s with them for another night and they will let us know in the morning how he is. He still hasn’t eaten anything. Getting really worried now.

Gastritis Average Cost

From 560 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

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