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Old 04-13-2007, 06:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default vomiting and bacterial overgrowth

Our 5 year old cat Simon (neutered, indoor-only) has vomited chronically since we got him at 6 months old. After tests and vet visits we were told Simon would probably be a chronic vomiter. He only vomits after eating too fast, and two vets said as long as he didn't lose weight, have diarrhea, etc. he'd be fine. So far that's been the case. He usually vomits 2-4 times a week, but sometimes he will go a week or two without incident.

Four months ago Simon found a thread and needle and swallowed it. When at the vet for emergency surgery, my husband mentioned in passing that Simon throws up a lot. For whatever reason they didn't realize Simon already had this checked out at their office, so they did an intestinal biopsy while in removing the thread, to determine the cause of the vomiting. It was a surprise to us, we didn't know they were going to do a biopsy. Since they're a student hospital (Kansas State) we figured someone just got overzealous.

They said Simon had an overabundance of 3 kind of bacteria in his intestines and he needed antibiotics. They gave us liquids instead of pills, even though we asked for pills, and Simon got very little of the antibiotics. He drooled and spit it all out, wouldn't eat food we put it in, etc. When told, the vet said the antibiotics probably wouldn't have helped anyway.

So we've just kind of left it, but recently he's been on a vomiting spree again. He's vomited 1-2 times a day for 4 days, and has had some moodiness I posted about elsewhere which may be related to the vomiting. Otherwise he's fine, has a good appetite, solid poops, plays with toys, etc.

Since Simon also needs to lose weight (he's about 4.5 pounds too big), I called the K-State vet med to ask about food. I kept getting passed from vet to vet because no one wanted to deal with it. Finally I got a vague appointment for next Wednesday and they want to do tests again. This will be the 4th set of tests they've done and I'm certain it's always the same tests (except the biopsy, that was new).

Since then I've been looking online and found almost nothing about bacterial overabundance. Finally I found several websites which said cats don't get bacterial overabundance in their intestines. Dogs do, but cats don't.

So now I'm pretty frustrated. I've gotten the impression that there's really no treatment for this, and if Simon's not dehydrated or losing weight, it's not a problem. Continuous testing for no reason isn't going to help. I'm wondering if anyone's dealt with this kind of thing before, if those websites were wrong or misleading, and what all I should ask the vet.

Thanks, and sorry this is so long.
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Old 04-13-2007, 07:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have to roll my eyes when the subject comes up at work (vet's office) because it seems to be our easy answer for anything. We'll tell a client that dogs and cats have a low population of bacteria in their intestinatl tract that can get a little out of whack for various reasons, and the bad outnumber the good - stress, diet change, other illness, etc. But at the same time, we can see a TON of bacteria swimming around under the microscope of dogs and cats that are acting perfectly fine with normal stools and no bacteria... so its hard to say what really causes these things.

The thing about using antibiotics is that yes, they do kill of the bad bacteria but they also kill off the good. I'm a fan of using probiotics (like acidophilus) to help the good bacteria thrive, thus limited the problems caused by bad guys.

My personal opinion is that if he's got normal stools and you really only notice the vomiting after he eats too quickly, do as much as you can to slow him down (several small meals through the day or giving him a few pieces at a time) to see if the vomiting stops. Some cats just seem more sensitive than others. If its not a constant thing, and he's not losing weight I don't think the tests are going to tell you much of anything.
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Old 04-13-2007, 07:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That sounds like a bunch of hooey from your vet. The key to your cat's problem is right here:
Quote:
He only vomits after eating too fast
Plenty of cats vomit when they eat too fast and I can't believe your vet doesn't understand that. Slow him down by putting a couple golf balls in his food to force him to nudge them aside every time he takes a bite. Or you could spread out the food on a tray. Also elevate the food dish four or five inches off the floor.

I have a cat that vomits after he eats too fast. It's a very simple fix.

Ditch the antibiotics. As Jessie says, they mess up the normal bacteria. Give Simon quality canned cat food and probiotics and the bacteria should be pretty much self-regulating.
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Old 04-13-2007, 07:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Poor Simon, doesn't sound like fun for him.

How long after eating does he vomit? If it's within a half hour or so, and he brings up a tube shaped mass then it's probably an issue with eating too fast. It's really regurgitation of food from his esophagus as opposed to true vomiting (which refers to bringing up partially digested food from the stomach several hours after eating) You can try to slow him down by putting a ping pong or golf ball in his food dish. He'll have to eat around it and it will slow him down.

Assuming it's regurgitation, I can't imagine that it's connected to the bacteria levels in his intestines. But I would suggest giving him a probiotic supplement to offset the bad bacteria with good as a precaution.

If he is truly vomiting then the bacteria could be related, using a probiotic would still be a good move. I would also put him on a grain free diet of primarily wet food. Grains can cause digestive upset. The carbs may also be a feast for the bacteria as well as if he has a high level of yeast in his body.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-13-2007, 08:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow, you guys are great!

Simon tends to vomit almost immediately after eating. Almost every time he chucks the food back up within 2-5 minutes, which is why we really weren't convinced it was an intestinal issue, and were so surprised that the vets did a biopsy of his small intestine. He usually eats twice when he eats: once he eats normally, drinks, then wanders around a bit before he comes back and then stuffs himself.

The golf balls are a great idea! We'll try that and elevating the food. I'll definitely check into probiotics, too.

We're currently looking for a good canned food. We had the cats on dry forever, because we heard it was better for their teeth. None of the vets ever told us to switch to wet, but when this recall thing started I did some research and discovered wet is a lot better for your cat. So that's why I called the vet today, but of course all this happened instead.
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Old 04-13-2007, 08:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks, doodle, for bringing up the difference between regurgitation and vomiting. Of course, I meant the former, but I assumed that's what staciacat meant because of the mention of eating too fast. One should never assume anything. My mistake.
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Old 04-13-2007, 09:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Moving him to a high quality canned food diet is always a good idea I would still try to limit the grains, Maggie has always been a puker, she would vary though...sometimes right after eating, sometimes hours later...grain free has really helped her with both situations.

Innova EVO, Wellness, Nature's Variety Prairie, some flavors of Merrick are all grain free. And the first 3 make a grain free dry (I use EVO dry as a snack and a supplement when I can't be home on time to feed wet). Feeding a food with a small amount of good grains (brown rice, whole oats and barley....no corn, wheat or soy) is fine if the grain doesn't seem to be an issue...Natural Balance, Merrick, Eagle, Chicken Soup, to name a few.
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Old 04-13-2007, 11:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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my sister's cat Phoebe is 8yrs and has vomited most days sometimes worse than others. She has been checked out for everything but always seemed fairly healthy apart from the vomiting.I don't remember why but about 3 months ago the Vet gave her a steroid shot and she has only vomited twice since then-I will ask my sister why they decided to give Phoebe the shot
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Old 04-13-2007, 11:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I would assume the shot was prednisone, which is an anti-inflammatory. It is typically used as a 2nd or 3rd tier treatment for stubborn cases of digestive upset.
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Old 04-14-2007, 12:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Until two years ago, my cats were on dry food exclusively, with canned food as an occasional treat. They now get canned plus dry plus some water mixed in twice a day. Rebel Buster has been throwing up immediately after eating since the switch, I'd say about 75% of the time. (I've also noticed that the "soupier" I make the meal, the more likely he is to throw up.) He's otherwise fine, no hairballs (which can cause the same 'throw up right after eating' problem), and, even at 14, the most playful of my cats.

After he throws up, he'll go back to eating about 5-10 minutes later. And he keeps that down. Now THIS is the disgusting part --- if I don't get to cleaning up his regurgitation immediately, I'll find him EATING it! And it stays down! Maybe he just likes his food warmed up a little......
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