What is Vomiting With Bile?
Bile is a yellow or green substance produced in a cat’s liver, which aids in digestion of food. Vomiting with bile, or bilious vomiting syndrome, in cats can be an alarming condition for both the feline and the worried owner. Vomiting with bile may be especially difficult for an owner to recognize, given that animals are likely to clean up after themselves, unless you manage to catch your cat in the act of vomiting. This can make it difficult to determine exactly how long the condition has been occurring. It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms that can occur with bilious vomiting syndrome in order to determine when veterinary intervention is necessary.
Symptoms of Vomiting With Bile in Cats
Vomiting with bile typically occurs in the morning or early evening, when a cat’s stomach is empty, although it can also happen at any time. Here are the main symptoms to watch for:
- Long term occasional vomiting
- Vomiting that occurs with bile
- Weight Loss
- Disinterest in Food
- Excessive Drooling
Vomiting can take many forms, and it’s important to distinguish the various types to know when a serious condition exists that warrants a trip to your local vet.
- Regurgitation: In the wild, cats will eat small meals frequently, as food is available. When domesticated cats eat too much food at once, or eat too quickly, they can regurgitate their food after eating.
- Hairball: Hairballs are regurgitated or cleared from your cat’s throat in a manner that may seem similar to vomiting. They cat may heave for several moments attempting to clear the hairball and may also return stomach fluids or regurgitated food with the hairball due to the aggressive coughing.
Causes of Vomiting With Bile in Cats
In many cases, the exact cause of bilious vomiting syndrome, or vomiting with bile, is unknown. However, there are several conditions that can cause the condition and that should be ruled out by your veterinarian. Common causes may include:
- Intestinal Inflammation
- Irritation of the Stomach Lining
- Improper Diet
- Liver Disease
Diagnosis of Vomiting With Bile in Cats
The first thing your veterinarian will do in order to diagnose the cause of vomiting is ask for your cat’s history concerning the condition. It is therefore important that you document the number of times, frequency and approximate start date of the vomiting. Additionally, you should collect a stool and urine sample if possible and supply your vet with the brand and specific recipe of any commercial cat food.
After reviewing the history of your cat, your vet may then opt to perform several diagnostic tests to rule out serious, life threatening conditions. These tests may include liver and kidney assessment via a urinalysis, a full blood profile including white blood cell count analysis, and a thorough physical exam. Your vet may also perform radiographic tests such as x-ray or ultrasound to examine motility of the contents of the stomach or any potential obstructions. It may take several days to over a week for the results of these tests to be returned to your vet.
Treatment of Vomiting With Bile in Cats
On some occasions, vomiting with bile in your cat will subside on its own. In cases where the syndrome is ongoing, there will be various courses of treatment depending on the underlying cause. In the event of food causes, your vet may prescribe an approved cat food formula for animals with problem stomachs or food sensitivities. They may also alter the amount or frequency of your cat’s meals.
If food or diet alterations don’t alleviate your pet’s symptoms, the veterinarian may prescribe certain drugs such as antibiotics for infections or digestive affecting drugs to increase the ability of your pet to digest food or to reduce the amount of bile in the digestive system. Probiotics may also be prescribed to help reset the levels of good bacteria in your cat’s digestive system.
Recovery of Vomiting With Bile in Cats
With appropriate treatment, the prognosis for your cat is very good after being diagnosed with vomiting with bile. Stomach conditions can take time to fully heal and your cat’s entire digestive system will often times need to reset and regrow important balances of good bacteria. In the case of prescription medicine, it will be important to complete the entire regimen in order to fully resolve the condition.
For food-based treatment, following the recommended course of meals and sticking with a consistent diet will almost immediately eliminate bilious vomiting syndrome. Alteration of the course of feeding, if followed, will provide lasting results. Most cats with this condition will respond well with maintained treatment, whether dietary or prescription based.
Vomiting With Bile Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Hi there! My cat, Missy vomits almost every day. It began as hairballs with bile and is now bile and sometimes regurgitated food. She has had her bloods checked and all is fine. I've tried her on a hypoallergenic diet and she's not responding. Does she need X-ray's and contrast study to check her for obstructions? She is still providing a stool.
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