Controlling Your Cat's Hairballs
Posted May 10, 2013
Many pet owners love their feline friends, and will do whatever
it takes to keep them relaxed and happy. This makes it especially
alarming for pet-owners to witness their cat suffer from the
discomforting symptoms that come with hairballs. Knowing how to
prevent this common problem and how to treat it when it occurs is
essential to keeping your cat healthy.
"A hairball is an accumulation of hair in the GI tract," said
James Barr, associate professor at the Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM)." It simply
accumulates together and is usually contained within the
A hairball is formed when cats accidently ingest loose hair
while cleaning their fur. The fur that is not digested accumulates
in the stomach, forming a hairball.
While clinical signs of hairballs may vary, common symptoms
include decreased appetite, constipation, and vomiting.
"In the worst case scenario, the hair passes through the stomach
and lodges in the small intestine," said Barr. "The result is an
obstruction in the GI tract which can be life threatening."
If you believe your cat is feeling sick due to a hairball it is
important to see your veterinarian right away. They may prescribe
medication or give treatments that can help cats deal with the
discomfort associated with hairballs.
"Numerous cats, especially those with long hair, will
occasionally vomit up hairballs and not show any clinical signs,
which may be completely normal for your cat," said Barr. " If there
seems to be an abnormal amount of hairballs produced, then steps
should be taken to prevent the pet from ingesting large
amounts of hair or to help the hair move through the GI tract
before it accumulates together."
Pet owners can also help reduce the severity of their cat's
hairballs by frequently brushing the cat and discouraging it from
excessively grooming itself.
"There are over-the-counter medications that are designed for
cats with hairballs to aid in digestion," said Barr. "As always, if
there are concerns for your cat's health, please call your
veterinarian for guidance."
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