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What are Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers?

The condition is often called gastroduodenal disease and the ulcers that are symptomatic of this condition are called gastroduodenal ulcers. While there are numerous possible causes, these sores are most commonly caused by a bacterial infection within the gastric system of the cat and can result in abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and bleeding within the digestive tract and consequently in the feces. Pain is often worst when the stomach is empty or after consumption of fatty or spicy foods. Both the ulcers and the underlying cause will need to be treated under the supervision of a veterinarian.

Stomach and intestinal ulcers, also referred to as gastric ulcers, are open sores that develop on the mucous membranes that line the stomach and small intestines. These sores are then exposed to the stomach acid, which can be painful.

Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers Average Cost

From 522 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,500

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers in Cats

Some cats suffering with stomach and intestinal ulcers will not present with any visible symptoms, which makes it nearly impossible for a pet owner to realize that the cat is experiencing nearly constant discomfort. Many cats with this condition, however, will experience the following symptoms:

  • Chronic vomiting, sometimes with blood in the vomit
  • Very dark red or black stool, which indicates blood in the digestive tract
  • Pale gums, which results from anemia, or low levels of red blood cells
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Borborygmus, which is internal gas noise, often called gurgles
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Diarrhea, often bloody
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Causes of Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers in Cats

There are several possible causes of gastric ulcers in cats but the most common are the following:

  • Bacterial infection of the digestive tract, usually by one of the many variations of bacteria called heliobacter, which studies have shown is exceedingly common in the gastrointestinal system of cats.
  • Sustained use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Stress caused by surgery, injury, or shock
  • Various intestinal parasites
  • Underlying diseases such as renal, or kidney, failure, hypovolemia, which is low blood plasma, inflammatory bowel disease, or cancer
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Diagnosis of Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers in Cats

If you have observed any of the symptoms listed above, it is important that you contact your veterinarian immediately as stomach and intestinal ulcers can be very painful for your cat and can sometimes result in life-threatening internal bleeding. In order to make a diagnosis of gastric ulcers your vet will likely employ the following diagnostic tools:

  • Ask you questions about the symptoms you have observed and how long it has been since these symptoms began.
  • Ask you about your cat’s diet.
  • Take a fecal sample to test for blood.
  • Test blood for anemia.
  • You may be required to return after a period during which your cat has not ingested water or food for a prescribed length of time
  • Perform abdominal ultrasound to locate possible ulcers.
  • Perform abdominal x-ray to locate possible ulcers
  • Perform  endoscopy to locate possible ulcers. An endoscopy consists of using a flexible tube called an endoscope that has a small video camera on the end. It can be inserted through the mouth to examine the stomach or through the rectum to examine the intestines. Your cat will be under anesthesia during this procedure.
  • Biopsy of gastric or intestinal tissue or of any tumors found in the stomach or intestines.
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Treatment of Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers in Cats

While stomach and intestinal ulcers are not exceedingly common in cats, it is not uncommon that those cats that are diagnosed with the condition are not diagnosed until they are in critical condition as a result of prolonged gastrointestinal hemorrhage, or bleeding. It is imperative that treatment begin immediately upon the diagnosis of gastric ulcers. Treatment of these ulcers requires treatment of the ulcers themselves and, even more important, the treatment of the underlying cause of the ulcers. Possible treatments include the following:

  • Intravenous liquids for hydration
  • Antibiotics to fight bacterial infection
  • Antacid medications
  • Bland diet
  • Cessation of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Rest and isolation for animal recovering from traumatic experience or surgery
  • Anti-parasitic medications if necessary
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Recovery of Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers in Cats

Depending upon how critical your cat’s condition was at the time of diagnosis, your cat may need to stay at the veterinary hospital overnight or for several days for hydration, observation, and treatment. Your cat’s prognosis is dependent upon the underlying cause of the ulcers. The prognosis is usually not very good for cats that have developed ulcers due to cancer or kidney failure. However, cats that have developed ulcers because of bacterial infections, gastrointestinal parasites, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs usually have a positive prognosis after six to eight weeks of treatment. Your veterinarian may perform periodic endoscopies to measure your cat’s progress.

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Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers Average Cost

From 522 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,500

Average Cost

$500

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Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Maow

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Domestic cat

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13 Years

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Critical severity

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1 found helpful

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite
Vomiting
Diarrhea
Anemia

My cat stopped eating and had black diarrhea with blood. I took him to an emergency vet and he needed a blood transfusion. They suspect he has irritable bowel disease and ulcers causing the bleeding. After two days in hospital he was eating and his blood count was stable. Then overnight his blood count dropped and he was very sick again. He was given another blood transfusion but unfortunately his blood level remained low as it was possible he had another internal bleeding episode. The vets say he needs an endoscopy and biopsy and surgery as he is not getting better and very possible he will bleed again. No one is certain what is causing the bleeding. I would appreciate your thoughts and any advice for my cat.

May 3, 2018

Maow's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

If Maow is continuing to bleed from his GI tract, endoscopy is the best test for him, as they will be able to visualize his intestines and get a biopsy sample. Cats are difficult to give repeated blood transfusions, so it is important to get to the bottom of the problem. I hope that they are able to resolve this problem for him and that he gets healthy again.

May 4, 2018

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Raisin

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Black cat

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2 Years

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Dehydration
Tired
Weakness
Weight
Loss Of Appetite
Tires Easily

Cat was taking 2ml itrafungol oral solutionot for a 5 week period Treatment daily on weeks 1, 3 and 5. Left untreated on weeks 2 and 4. Cat began vomiting after treatment in the middle of week 5. Treatment was stopped. One week has passed and cat is dehydrated does not eat drinks very little water and typically vomits after eating or drinking.

March 14, 2018

Raisin's Owner

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0 Recommendations

If Raisin is showing signs of being dehydrated, you should visit your Veterinarian immediately for fluid therapy; if Raisin isn’t eating or drinking you should try to encourage him to at least drink a little by giving water with a syringe. Sometimes side effects of some medications may cause vomiting or a loss of appetite, but if Raisin is getting dehydrated you need to visit your Veterinarian regardless. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

March 14, 2018

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Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers Average Cost

From 522 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,500

Average Cost

$500

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