It can be worrisome when our furry friends start frequently vomiting or show disinterest in their food. While transient vomiting or appetite changes are common, ongoing issues may indicate an underlying health problem requiring veterinary attention. This in-depth guide covers potential causes, warning signs, at-home care tips, and when to seek medical intervention for vomiting and appetite loss in cats and dogs.
Causes of Vomiting and Appetite Issues in Dogs
Eating expired, moldy, or inedible food like trash can cause acute vomiting and appetite loss. This often resolves once the irritation passes.
Food allergies to ingredients like beef, dairy, chicken, and wheat can trigger gastrointestinal upset and lack of interest in eating.
Dogs may gorge on food at times, especially fatty treats, leading to vomiting. This often resolves with fasting.
Riding in cars or other motion can unsettle some dogs' stomachs, causing drooling, vomiting, and inappetence during and after transit. Medications can help prevent nausea.
Bacterial and viral gastrointestinal infections, like parvovirus, can cause severe vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, and complete loss of appetite. These require prompt veterinary treatment.
Swallowed foreign objects, tumours, or accumulated hair can block intestines, causing vomiting, painful bloating, and appetite loss. Surgery may be required for removal.
Inflammation of the pancreas often stems from high fat intake. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, cramping, and reduced appetite.
Nausea, vomiting, and food aversion can result as kidney dysfunction allows waste buildup and throws electrolytes out of balance.
Conditions like cirrhosis impede liver function, causing vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss, and disinterest in food.
Diabetes, infections, cancer, hyperthyroidism, Addison's disease, and other conditions with systemic effects can induce gastrointestinal upset and appetite changes.
Causes of Vomiting and Appetite Issues in Cats
Constant self-grooming leads cats to ingest hair that forms dense hairballs causing vomiting and appetite loss. Regular brushing and hairball remedy products can help.
Allergies to foods like fish, beef, and dairy can lead to intestinal inflammation, vomiting, and poor appetite in cats. A veterinary hypoallergenic diet may help identify and exclude irritating ingredients.
Excessive grooming behaviours related to stress or skin problems can cause cats to ingest too much hair, leading to vomiting.
Intestinal worms like roundworms interfere with digestion, causing vomiting and poorer food intake in cats. Annual faecal tests help identify and treat parasitic infections.
Ingesting harmful items like string or plastic can obstruct or perforate cat intestines, eliciting vomiting and anorexia. Keep trash sealed and surfaces clear.
High fat cat foods can trigger pancreatitis which leads to vomiting, painful belly, hunched posture, and reduced eating from abdominal discomfort.
Overactive thyroid hormone creates excess metabolism that can cause weight loss, increased hunger, vomiting, and poor grooming in cats.
Toxins build up in blood when kidneys fail, causing nausea, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, weight loss, and declining appetite.
Increased thirst and urination, weight loss, appetite changes, and vomiting can indicate diabetes in cats, requiring insulin therapy.
Feline intestinal, liver, kidney, and other cancers often cause nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and reduced appetite.
Inflammatory bowel disease creates chronic gastrointestinal upset like vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and poor appetite. Long-term diet and medication management is required.
At Home Treatment For Cats & Dogs:
For vomiting that is short-lived and not a symptom of any underlying disease, you can try the following:
- Withhold food for 6-12 hours
- Small amounts of bland food once vomiting stops
- Ensure access to fresh water
- OTC anti-nausea medication
- Brush cat to prevent hairballs
When to See the Veterinarian
While temporary vomiting or appetite fluctuation is normal, extended duration or concerning additional symptoms warrant medical investigation. Seek prompt veterinary help for:
- Vomiting more than 1-2 times daily
- Repeated vomit episodes over 48-72 hours
- Projectile vomiting
- Evidence of blood in vomit or stool
- Weight loss or muscle wasting
- Signs of pain like whimpering or tense belly
- Lack of appetite beyond 1-2 missed meals
- Lethargy, weakness, collapse
- Increased thirst or urination
- Vomiting and diarrhoea concurrently
Seemingly minor issues like transient vomiting can sometimes have more serious underlying causes in pets. By recognising abnormal or worsening symptoms, pet owners can act quickly to get veterinary diagnosis and treatment to resolve the problem and prevent dangerous complications. Though alarming, vomiting and appetite issues often respond very well to prompt medical intervention.