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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 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 bile vomiting in order to determine when veterinary intervention is necessary.

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Vomiting With Bile Average Cost

From 389 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800

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 which may be yellow or green and/or foamy. There is normally not a large amount of liquid
  • Weight Loss
  • Disinterest in Food
  • Excessive Drooling

Types

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.


  • True Vomiting. Vomiting is accompanied with nausea and a cat may drool and refuse food. Some will lick their lips and may be depressed for a few hours. The abdomen forcefully contracts before and during a vomit. Your cat may gag and retch.
  • Regurgitation: Regurgitation is when undigested food is brought back up from the stomach. There are no abdominal contractions and a cat is not nauseous. There are several potential causes including eating too quickly. Bile should not be seen.
  • Hairball: Hairballs are regurgitated or cleared from your cat’s stomach in a manner that may seem similar to vomiting. They cat may heave for several moments attempting to clear the hairball and may also bring up a small amount of stomach fluid or regurgitated food with the hairball due to the aggressive coughing.
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Causes of Vomiting With Bile in Cats

In many cases, the exact cause of 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 (gastritis)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cholangiohepatitis
  • Improper Diet
  • Parasites
  • Infection
  • An obstruction
  • Liver Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Toxin ingestion
  • Cancer
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Diagnosis of Vomiting With Bile in Cats

The first thing your veterinarian will do in order to diagnose the cause of bile 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 given.

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 imaging studies such as x-ray or ultrasound to examine motility of the contents of the stomach or any potential obstructions. 

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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 condition 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 inflamed 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 digestion 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 recommended to help restore the levels of good bacteria in your cat’s digestive system. 

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Recovery of Vomiting With Bile in Cats

The prognosis will depend on the underlying condition.

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 should help relieve signs quickly. 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.


Courses of ant acids may be given for several weeks and it is important not to miss a dose.

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Vomiting With Bile Average Cost

From 389 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800

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Vomiting With Bile Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Domestic longhair cat

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting, Lethargy

My cat has been throwing up on and off all afternoon. It started out as a small amount of regular vomit, then one instance of white foam, and now it looks like bile. He is lethargic as well. My husband gave him a small bit of honey ham this morning 2.5 hours before his first vomit episode. Not sure if that could be the cause? He was vomiting every half hour or so, but it seems to have slowed a little bit. He throws up about a tablespoon of liquid each time.

July 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It is difficult to say whether the ham caused this problem, or there's something else going on. If he continues to vomit repeatedly throughout the day, he does need to be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. They will be able to examine him, see whether this is an intestinal infection, a foreign body, or another problem. They will be able to help treat him so that he feels better. I hope that all goes well for him.

July 25, 2020

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Bengal

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1 year 10 months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting Bile

We just brought our new boy home 3 days ago. The past two nights he’s been vomiting bile. He is still playful and drinking plenty of water and we’re keeping him on the same raw food the breeder sent home. We also mix in fresh pet vital (very little) in the raw food as the breeder suggested. Trying to approach this with optimism and hopes that this will not be a long term problem. Any assistance is appreciated!

July 25, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello- The general consensus from most veterinarians is not to feed raw food. It has the potential to cause bacterial infection in the G.I. tract which could lead to severe G.I. upset. I would recommend calling your veterinarian and having him examined. They will be able to provide medications to help with the vomiting and guide you on an appropriate diet for your cat. I hope he feels better soon.

July 25, 2020

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Vomiting With Bile Average Cost

From 389 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800

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