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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.

Gastroenteritis Average Cost

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Average Cost

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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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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.

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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

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Ralphi

dog-breed-icon

British Blue

dog-age-icon

10 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

My cat has had runny poo for 2 weeks now. Been to the vets and first we was given this proclat stuff for Diarrhoea... didn’t work then the vet gave him an antibiotic injections .. that kept it at bay for 3 days but now it’s returned again .. he hadnt been sick at all , he is an indoor cat , and he loves to eat !!?? So what could this be??? Iv even tried a worming spot on ... 2 weeks now and I’m so concerned :( he is also urinating a lot ??

June 6, 2018

Ralphi's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Being an indoor cat doesn’t protect against infections, it may reduce the risk but may occur; there are many different possible causes for diarrhoea including infections, parasites, poisoning, food intolerance, foreign objects, stress among other causes. If there is no improvement, you should speak with your Veterinarian about doing a faecal examination to check for worms and protozoa as well as thinking about an antibiotic like metronidazole (however this would need to be prescribed with your Veterinarian if they believe it would be a suitable treatment). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 7, 2018

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Jayme

dog-breed-icon

Cat

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Not Eating
Dragging

My cat has been lethargic for two days. She got bloodwork done and its normal. She was diagnosed with hyperthyroid in January. She takes meds twice a day but shes not eating. I tookmy cat to the vet they gave her fluids and nausea meds because she started drooling. Its day three she hasnt eaten and shes just moving slow. I dont know if i should get an ultrasound or wait a few days. She threw up green bile also. I have the thyroid meds and the anti nausea pills here

June 5, 2018

Jayme's Owner

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0 Recommendations

It may be worth returning to your Veterinarian and discussing whether an x-ray or ultrasound is indicated, however it is possible that the methimazole is suppressing the appetite and causing the vomiting. Check the link below and return to your Veterinarian for a discussion on what the next course of action should be. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://wagwalking.com/cat/condition/methimazole-allergy “ADVERSE REACTIONS: In a US field study with 113 cats, the most common adverse reactions included change in food consumption (increase or decrease), lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea/loose stool, skin lesions, and abnormal vocalization. Three cats were withdrawn early from the study, one due to unmasking of latent renal disease and two due to the development of skin lesions. Over the course of the study, there was a decreasing trend in the mean counts of red blood cells, lymphocytes, neutrophils and monocytes; however, means remained within or near normal ranges for the testing laboratory. In the extended use phase of the US field study with 101 cats, the most common adverse reactions reported in the study above (lethargy, anorexia) were also observed. Additional signs occurring more frequently in the long-term study were: depression/withdrawn behavior, weight loss, haircoat abnormalities, increased blood urea nitrogen (BUN), weakness, agitation and diarrhea. Most of the adverse reactions reported were mild and transient.” www.dechra-us.com/Admin/Public/DWSDownload.aspx?File=%2fFiles%2fFiles%2fProductDownloads%2fus%2ffelimazole-25mg-pack-insert.pdf

June 5, 2018

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Tang

dog-breed-icon

American Shorthair

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

My cat has been lethargic for the past 3 days and has been uninterested in food.I took him to the vet two days ago after he vomited mucus like vomit and she performed an X-ray and blood/chemical test which did not show anything and the blood/chemical test came back normal. The vet gave my cat an anti nausea shot and fluids under the skin. That evening he seemed a little more normal but still very lethargic. The next morning he was back to just hiding all day and did not want to come out. I have not seen him eat since we returned from the vet 2 days ago and he is not throwing up and just wants to hide all day. I did see him urinate last evening but we have two cats so I can’t tell if he has deficated. The vet gave me anti nausea pills and I have given him one so far. Is it normal for a cat to take this long to recover? Should I take him to the vet to be re-evaluated? Thank you for your advice.

May 28, 2018

Tang's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Tang should have responded to the medications by now, I agree. Sometimes we need to repeat x-rays to reassess the possibility of a foreign body, and it would be a good idea to have him rechecked is he is not eating. The anti-nausea pills may help, but need to be given as directed. I hope that he is okay.

May 28, 2018

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Clyde and Bonnie

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tabby

dog-age-icon

8 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Gagging
Lethargy
Vomiting
Loss Of Appetite

I have an 8 week old kitten (I have two a boy and a girl) the male gagged yesterday and had a foamy spit come from his mouth. I called the vet and they said just keep an eye on him. He continued to play and was normal otherwise. He gagged and spit up again later that night, but again no change in behavior besides not eating or drinking as much as usual. The next day he was sleepy all day and when he got up he didn't really play much and would just go back to sleep. Did not eat anything and would sniff it and walk away. By the end of the night I was really worried and fed him some wet cat food off my finger. After two or three licks he took off to the litter and had diarrehea and then got out and gagged and vomited foam again. After he was playing again. My female just gagged and threw up some white foam now too. I can't get them to the vet until Monday and I have been force feeding them pedilyte. What else should I be or not be doing to get them to Monday?

May 27, 2018

Clyde and Bonnie's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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There really isn't much that you can do at home without knowing why they are having this problem, unfortunately. If there is any way that you can have them seen earlier, it would be better for them, especially if Clyde is becoming uninterested in food. I hope that they are okay.

May 27, 2018

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Jinxi and dusty

dog-breed-icon

Calico

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Puking

So I have two cats one boy who's 5 one girl who's three her name is jinxy she hasn't been feeling well the last two days she's been puking constantly (mwthought she also had diarrhea because we were checking for stool to see if it was something else turns out that is Dusty that has diarrhea and not jinxy so I don't know what to do at this point I don't know if stomach bugs are contagious I've never dealt with this before but she was sick first and now he's sick we've cleaned the food bowls and cleaned out their cave underneath the chair where they like to hang out and couldn't find anything please help today shes doing fine but now hes sick.

Feb. 23, 2018

Jinxi and dusty's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Cats like other animals may get tummy bugs now and then many of which will pass without much trouble, however some are more serious than others; also poisoning, parasites, foreign objects, dietary issues among other causes may also result in gastrointestinal upset. I would recommend having a sample of faeces examined by your Veterinarian to check for any protozoan parasites and for a general examination. It is important in these cases to ensure that both Jinxi and Dusty are kept hydrated. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Feb. 23, 2018

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Kya

dog-breed-icon

dsh

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

Took Kya to the vet yesterday. She's 4 and was constipated with an ear infection. The vet gave an enema, prescribed trasederm, laxatone and famotadine usp. She'll drink water but not eating anything yet a treat here and there.

Gastroenteritis Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$800

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