Excessive vomiting in older cat

brebur06March 9, 2009

I have an approx. 7-year-old long hair cat who has always been very underweight. I have had her for 4 years (took her in as a stray) and she has always had a vomiting problem. I was concerned at first, but my vet at the time said "oh, she's just a skinny kitty." So I didn't worry about it. I've since moved and changed vets. My new vet was almost over-the-top in her concern for my cat. We've since been through a series of tests, without a real diagnosis.

Symptoms (keeping in mind she's been this way for 4+ years):

- Meager appetite

- Very thin, about

- Vomits near daily, at times whole food, others just liquid (bile?)

- If I feed her higher fat food (canned, tuna) she will eat it eagerly, then turn around and vomit it all.


We started with a trial run with an allergen-free cat food (Science Diet), but there was no reduction in vomiting.

The vet ran a CBC w/ dif which returned with elevated white blood count. She was subsequently de-wormed; a repeat CBC showed no change in white blood count (still elevated).

I was told she either had an intestinal disorder that was causing her GI to inflame and reducing her nutrient intake, OR Feline Leukemia. To be sure, they would need to do a exploratory surgery (2K). The alternative was a trial run of steroids (Prednisone), based on the assumption that it was not Feline Leukemia. She has been on this for about 5 months and I'm not seeing any noticeable improvements. I don't know why they didn't run the blood test? I assume that if she had Leukemia she would have already died? Either way, the impression I got was that the trial run of steroids was my vet's last idea before surgery.

My question is, what do I do next? Is she really "just a skinny kitty?" I feel a little mistrustful of my vets, former and present, at this point. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


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Something is wrong.

Does she eat a great deal at once? Is there blood in her stool? What do her stools look like? Have you tried changing to canned food? Have you tried chips of "tagamet" half an hour before feeding? (Mind, you must confer with your vet before doing this!)

I am sure other people here will offer ideas, but this is not normal, and I think can damage the esophagus, at the very least. I hope your vet gets a handle on this. I know you are trying the best you can!

One more thing: Someone on this forum will tell you that the food you are feeding your cat is causing this, and you should change her diet to a higher-quality wet food, because he thinks all diseases stem from not feeding the three brands he recommends. He may suggest you euthanize you cat if you don't switch to the food he recommends. Please ignore him.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 6:49PM
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I am certainly no expert on the matter, but just throwing this out there FWIW- did your vet test for giardia?

My cat has many health problems, and she was diagnosed with giardia last year and treated. The notable thing is that her vomiting (which was attributed to her other illnesses) has all but stopped since she was treated for giardia. Since you mentioned a possibly intestinal problem, that came to mind. I believe the diagnosis and treatment of giardia is a bit different than other worms, but can't say for sure.

Good luck finding help and answers.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 1:12PM
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I certainly would be concerned by a cat vomiting that regularly. What would concern me as well is the long-term prednisone treatment. (Note: prednisolone is safer for cats). Prednisone can cause diabetes. But why continue with this treatment if there is no significant change, especially as steroids have serious side-effects?

Did the vet prescribe the dry or canned version of allergen-free food? I usually do not get into dietary big discussions, but dry foods are not the best for cats, although many vets continue to prescribe it. I am sure there will be more expert advice coming your way.

When was her last blood test? I certainly would ask for another blood test.
Any changes in urinating? --diabetes, kidney problems? Those would have shown in the blood work.

I really hope you can get to the bottom of this problem.
Best of luck,

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 6:59PM
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Just a quick addition.
I just re-read your post and saw that you do/did give her canned food (would stay away from tuna-try chicken), and that she vomited. How about feeding her very small servings at a time, more frequently?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 7:03PM
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My cats used to vomit on a fairly regular basis, it wasn't unusual for me to find that someone had vomitted most mornings. I switched them to a higher grade canned food and also took them off all tuna, they eat chicken, turkey or occasionally salmon. They rarely vomit since the change and my 14 yr old is doing great with this diet.

This site - http://www.catinfo.org/ -has excellent information on feline nutrition.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 12:32AM
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