Rudy is a typical young neutered male Abyssinian cat. He is very active, curious, and social. His owner became concerned one evening because Rudy was repeatedly vomiting and having projectile vomiting. My clinic was closed, so Rudy went to one of the local emergency clinics. Rudy had a fever and was very depressed. X-rays did not conclusively show anything, but as with any young cat, the emergency vet was concerned that Rudy could have eaten something that he shouldn’t have.
The next morning, the emergency vet also thought that Rudy might be a bit constipated and gave him an enema. Rudy still wasn’t feeling well and was still gagging.
Rudy’s owner called me later in the morning to get my opinion. I told him that I was extremely concerned that Rudy ate something he shouldn’t have.
The other hospital was recommending a barium upper GI series to look to see if there was an obstruction, but my opinion was that this procedure should not be performed and it would be better to consider immediate surgery instead.
Rudy was transferred to my care and I rearranged my schedule for his surgery. He still looked terrible and his fever hadn’t broken. I told Rudy’s owner there was a chance we wouldn’t find anything, but I thought surgery was the best course. We proceeded with his abdominal exploratory surgery.
The area of the obstruction looked very bruised and angry. It was next to his pancreas, so I was concerned that inflammation might also be affecting his pancreas. I moved the foreign object that was blocking the intestine higher up in the intestine to a site where the tissue looked healthy and removed a large foam plug.
We completed Rudy’s surgery and called his owner. His owner said he did have some ear plugs around the house, but he also thought the object we removed could have been part of a foam antenna ball that Rudy liked to play with and had chewed in the past.
Rudy was stable the day after surgery but not really rebounding. By the looks of his intestine and the history the owner gave me, it is possible that the foam had been in his system for a long time before it moved down to create a complete obstruction.
Two days after surgery, Rudy was eating and more comfortable. He is now back to being a high-energy kitty.
We frequently surgically remove foreign objects that cats ingest at my clinic. If your cat is projectile vomiting, don’t wait to have him checked out by your vet.
Written by Dr. Wexler-Mitchell of The Cat Care Clinic in Orange, CA
Copyright © 2011 The Cat Care Clinic