Gastroenteritis in Cats

Gastroenteritis in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Gastroenteritis in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What are Gastroenteritis?

The most common symptoms of gastroenteritis are vomiting and diarrhea. Although it’s normal for your cat to vomit or have diarrhea on occasion, if it is happening repeatedly within a short time frame, this signals something more serious. Cats can become severely dehydrated if their gastroenteritis is not properly treated, so it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Gastroenteritis describes the inflammation of your cat’s stomach and intestines, or the gastrointestinal tract. It can be caused by something as minor as a change in your cat’s diet to more serious issues such as infections, pancreatitis, and intestinal blockages.

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Gastroenteritis Average Cost

From 336 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Gastroenteritis in Cats

Gastroenteritis disrupts the functioning of your cat’s gastrointestinal tract and causes discomfort. You may notice your cat acting sluggish or lazy, with little to no energy. Besides lethargy, some of the other symptoms you may observe include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry heaving
  • Gagging
  • Abdominal pain or tenderness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
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Causes of Gastroenteritis in Cats

A cat’s stomach and intestines can become irritated and inflamed for a number of reasons. Some of the underlying causes will require treatment by a veterinarian, while others can be treated at home. However, you will need to bring your cat to the vet to determine the cause. Gastroenteritis is most commonly caused by:

  • Dietary changes
  • Reaction to medication
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Pancreatitis, or other abdominal disorders
  • Bacterial infection
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Blockages
  • Virus
  • Parasitic infection
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Diagnosis of Gastroenteritis in Cats

To determine what is causing your cat’s gastroenteritis, the vet will need to perform tests to eliminate as many causes as possible. As soon as you arrive at the vet’s office, it’s important to give the vet information on your cat’s diet and medical history. If your cat has just started to take a new medication or eat a new cat food, don’t forget to bring this up in the consultation. Vets will also need to know if it’s possible your cat has been exposed to anything toxic in your home. For example, if you accidentally left a household cleaner out where your cat could reach it or sprayed pesticides in your yard, it’s important to let the vet know. 

After collecting all of this information from you, the vet will most likely perform a complete blood count test, urinalysis, and blood chemistry profile. These tests will help the vet identify any abnormalities in the cat’s health. For example, if a bacterial infection is the cause, the vet will see an elevated level of white blood cells in the complete blood count test. The vet may also perform an ultrasound on the cat’s abdomen to determine if there are any blockages that could be causing the cat discomfort.

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Treatment of Gastroenteritis in Cats

The treatment of gastroenteritis in cats will depend on the underlying cause of the condition. First, the vet will focus on stabilizing your cat if the tests reveal the cat is severely dehydrated or suffering from an electrolyte imbalance due to vomiting and diarrhea.  If the diarrhea and vomiting is ongoing, the vet can also administer medications that will disrupt stomach and intestinal activity. 

If a bacterial or parasitic infection is the cause, medication will be prescribed to your cat. However, if it’s a virus, you will have to wait for it to pass since it can’t be treated with medication. Medication will also be administered if the cause is pancreatitis or hyperthyroidism. However, it’s important to note the vet will most likely require that you wait about 24 hours before giving the first dose of medication. During the first 24 hours, the treatment will focus on putting a stop to the vomiting and diarrhea. If you don’t stop the vomiting before you administer medication, chances are your cat will throw up a pill not long after you give it to him.

Most gastroenteritis cases can be treated with medication. However, your cat will need surgery if the cause of the gastroenteritis is a blockage in the stomach or intestines. 

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Worried about the cost of Gastroenteritis treatment?

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Recovery of Gastroenteritis in Cats

After your cat is rehydrated and given medication to slow down his gastrointestinal tract, he should begin to immediately feel better. If the symptoms go away, the vet will most likely not need to see your cat again. However, if after 48 hours, your cat is still exhibiting gastroenteritis symptoms, you should have him reevaluated. 

The vet may ask that you adjust your cat’s diet while he recovers from gastroenteritis. You may need to cut back on the food you give your cat for the first 24 hours and then slowly begin to reintroduce him to very bland food that won’t upset his stomach. The vet may also tell you to limit the amount of water your cat drinks for the first 24 hours. But, do not make these decisions on your own—always ask a veterinarian what is right for your cat.

Gastroenteritis in cats can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your cat is at risk of developing gastroenteritis, start searching for pet insurance today. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Embrace. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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Gastroenteritis Average Cost

From 336 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

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Gastroenteritis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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dog-breed-icon

Short hair cat

dog-age-icon

Ten Years

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8 found helpful

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8 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Vomiting, Diarrhea

My cat has been vomiting bile and has diarrhea. This has been going on for only today, and yesterday he was very much "normal". Today he won't eat, but seems alert, isn't avoidant of the other cat or us, but is definitely not as energetic as usual. He has not had a diet change in several years, and eats a urinary diet (due to struvite crystals; We have witnessed him urinate so it is not that). What should we do?

Aug. 7, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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8 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Since he seems to be doing okay otherwise, you may be able to feed him a bland diet of boiled white chicken and boiled white rice for a day or two and see if things resolve. If he continues to vomit or have diarrhea, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian, as he may need treatment. I hope that all goes well for him.

Aug. 7, 2020

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dog-breed-icon

Not sure

dog-age-icon

Three Months

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1 found helpful

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1 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea Vomiting

My cat is vomiting cleat and foamy

July 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Kittens are prone to parasites and infectious diseases, and they can become dehydrated quickly. If your kitten is vomiting and having diarrhea, it would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian right away. They will be able to examine your kitten, see what's going on, and get treatment. I hope that everything goes well for your kitten.

July 28, 2020

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Gastroenteritis Average Cost

From 336 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

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