What is Painful Abdomen?
Pain located in the abdomen can result from conditions ranging from trauma to disease, so it is important to take your cat to a veterinarian for an examination as soon as possible if it is suffering.
There are numerous reasons why your cat may be experiencing abdominal pain. Cats are not normally expressive creatures when it comes to pain, but there are ways to detect if something is wrong in the abdominal region. Since the abdomen lies between the pelvis and the chest, a number of organs can be the culprit behind their pain.
Symptoms of Painful Abdomen in Cats
Your cat may not always show signs to indicate it is experiencing abdominal pain. Also, pain can, unfortunately, be referred to another area of the body that isn't the real sources. It is important to pay close attention to your cat to discover if it is experiencing abdominal pain. The main symptoms to look out for are listed below:
- Loss of appetite
- Blood in feces
- Difficulty urinating
- Change in appearance or posture (e.g. hunched over)
- Tenderness/pain when touched
- Weight loss
Causes of Painful Abdomen in Cats
A number of conditions can bring about abdominal pain in your cat, including:
- Pancreatitis (inflammation in pancreas)
- Ruptured bladder
- Urinary obstruction
- Dietary intolerance
- Kidney stones
- Ascites (buildup of fluid within abdominal cavity)
- Bacterial infection (e.g. pyometra, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis)
- Intestinal obstruction
- IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)
- Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP, a fatal viral infection)
Diagnosis of Painful Abdomen in Cats
To diagnosis your cat's condition, the veterinarian will want a full medical history and will also conduct a thorough physical examination that may lead to further diagnostic testing. What you provide the vet can help immensely in narrowing down potential causes. Knowing if there has been any reaction to a specific type of food, exposure to dangerous substances or circumstances, and all of the other symptoms your cat has shown can aid in this process.
If the vet has determined further tests are required, there are a few common ones they will conduct. The common diagnostic testing includes a CBC (complete blood count), a urinalysis, and a biochemical profile. The three tests are generally used to check for signs of inflammation or infection, and to examine how well the organs are functioning. A fecal test may be conducted as well if parasites are suspected.
Your vet may also perform a biopsy or even a peritoneal fluid analysis, which checks the type of fluid in your cat's abdomen if fluid is detected. Lastly, an X-ray or ultrasound of the abdomen will be taken. These scans can discover any inflammation, tumors, kidney stones, or ruptures in the organs.
Treatment of Painful Abdomen in Cats
Since there is a range of causes for abdominal pain, treatment plans may vary.
If cancer or tumors have been found, the vet will almost certainly recommend surgery to remove it. A surgical procedure is also sought in the case of a ruptured bladder.
In the event of a parasitic infestation or a bacterial infection, your vet will prescribe a round of antiparasitic or antibiotics. Although these medications may come with risks (e.g. side effects, developing a resistance), the benefits typically outweigh those concerns. It is important that they are given as prescribed so that your cat will reap all of the benefits.
Some medications may be given as supportive care. If your cat is suffering significantly, your vet may recommend the use of pain medication for relief. Anti-nausea medicine may be given to help stop vomiting, and in the event of seizures (mainly due to poisoning), your cat may be given anti-seizure medication. Additionally, drugs that suppress the immune system may be prescribed, typically in the case of IBD.
When poisoning is the cause behind your cat's suffering, your vet will begin treatment immediately upon knowing which toxin was ingested, if possible. If your cat only recently swallowed the poison, its stomach will be emptied and activated charcoal or fluid therapy may be administered to help curb any ill effects.
Additional treatment methods may vary based on the specific toxin. For example, in rat poisoning, the vet may administer vitamin K.
In the event of IBD or other dietary complications, a change in diet tends may be the recommended plan of treatment. Your vet may recommend a hypoallergenic diet or even an elimination diet. Both can help with IBD as well as determining if your cat has an allergy.
Beyond pain and anti-nausea medication, supportive care may include the administration of fluids to treat dehydration. Also, if your cat has the misfortune of being afflicted with FIP, supportive care may be the primary form of treatment, as the viral infection has a high mortality rate.
Recovery of Painful Abdomen in Cats
It is important to follow the treatment plan laid out by your veterinarian, especially if medicine has been prescribed. Prognosis will vary with the cause of abdominal pain. Relapse can occur from some conditions, and some be be chronic. IBD, for example, cannot be cured and is managed, rather than resolved. Keep a watch on your cat's appetite as well as any other symptoms. If they return, be sure to take your cat into see the veterinarian.
Painful Abdomen Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My cat seems to be having stomach issues. I just watched him pee and have a normal bowel movement. He is not throwing up. He has been walking, but keeps trying to hide in the corner of the closet. He seems to be breathing normally but he yells and hisses when any pressure is put on his lower stomach and even tries to bite. Right now he is sleeping but I can tell by how he is laying that something is wrong. What is going on?
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My cat growls anytime I lightly touch her stomach and she has thrown up a few times. She has gotten into my food a few times rather than eating her own food. I noticed some diarrhea a few days ago but she doesn't like being picked up right now and I can't afford to have a checkup on her right now, is here anything I can do for her?
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i have a kitten she stop eating drink water but little.she sleeps alot not playing and doing anything ..not weight loose please do something she was fine yestrday i tried variety of food but she dont agree to eat
There are many different causes of loss of appetite in kittens, the treatment would be dependant on the underlying cause; foreign bodies, infection, parasites and congenital anomalies may all cause loss of appetite. If there is no improvement you would need to visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
We have a cat that is 16. He started with diarrhea, so we tried some medication and food, he is loosing so much wt, he eats very little and drinks. But i noticed when i touch his left tummy it hurts. I cant afford a big vet bill but I want him better and willing to do payment plans. I am in the houston Hobby Airport area. Can someone please help. He is our Son!
I have a car she is over 14yrs old. She initially had loss of appetite, which lead to weight loss. She is eating wet food slowly but have not pooped. I rubbed her belly and she started panting when I touched her left side of the tummy.
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