My cat is continually gagging and is ill – Please help
(Edmonton, AB Canada)
Cookie as a baby (was abandoned by her mother)
My cat is displaying behavior that clearly shows she is sick. But even after many tests at the vet no one has any idea why. Her name is Miss Cookie, she is 6 and if anyone has any ideas it would be so helpful.
She started out gagging and throwing up puddles of saliva (nothing else, no vomit). She was still eating good and having bowel movements. After one week of this I took her into the vet where they said she seemed in good health but there were a bunch of tests they could run.
I didn't want her to go through them if she didn't have to so I took her home. The vet at this point was convinced she had pancreatitis.
The gagging continued but the intensity went down. She was really hyper, playing lots. Eating good and still having regular bowel movements. On the Friday (2 weeks of the gagging) she became lethargic. She was still gagging but never throwing up saliva or anything else. We brought her into the vet and got blood work. The vet mentioned this time she was a bit dehydrated so they also gave her fluids.
The blood work came back and I was told everything was really great except her white blood count was slightly elevated. This meant it was not pancreatitis. The vets were now convinced it was a foreign body.
I really didn't think so since my Cooks has never been one to eat things she shouldn't. She wouldn't even eat grass. But they wanted to do more tests I told them I would think about it. That night cookie worsened very quickly she could barely hold her head up and wouldn't eat anything. The next morning I rushed her into the vet where they did an x-ray and saw nothing out of the ordinary.
Finally getting the vets off that it was a foreign body. They wanted to do an ultrasound but it was a lot of money so I asked they just to treat her with antibiotics just in case it was just a small infection.
She improved a lot after getting the antibiotics. That night she was walking around checking stuff out again. She had a small appetite again. I was so hopeful she would keep getting better. It is now 4 days after the antibiotics and no new improvements.
She is still gagging, she has little appetite where she mostly just licks the broth off the food (which i have been watering down to get more liquids in her cause she is no drinking water) I am just hoping anyone out there has had any experience like this and can help me.
Please email Spewin_23@yahoo.com
Hi Brandy... thanks for visiting and asking. I am sorry to hear that Miss Cookie is ill. I'll try and shed some light on the problem. But your vet has done test and now wants to do ultrasound tests - is that to check heart condition?
The one consistent symptom throughout is gagging but no vomit.
The fact that the blood test proved OK would indicate, as the vet said, a physical problem, namely a foreign body. An X ray was taken, which did not show a foreign body.
Where was the X ray taken? What if it is a small object, a difficult to see object, such as string, bone splinter, gristle, sliver of wood, pin, a fish-hook or part of a toy that is stuck in the throat or mouth or tongue. Depending on how far down the throat a object is logged the cat will gag or extend the neck on swallowing and choke on swallowing. Is your cat also pawing at the mouth, drooling, licking lips and/or holding the mouth open? Are these signs present?
Clearly if the X ray was of the throat area and that was all clear, this line of inquiry is wrong. But you might like to check with a good light source and gently open Cooker's mouth.
Larvae of the common feline roundworm that are swallowed, after migrating up the windpipe, can cause bouts of gagging and coughing.
"Vomiting" (and Miss Cookie gags which is a form of vomiting) that is not associated with eating can be caused by an infectious disease, kidney or liver disease or a central nervous system disorder1.
I will presume that the blood test were to check for an underlying disease. But the most common cause of vomiting is the swallowing of an indigestible object. An underlying infectious disease would show other symptoms I would have thought. But Miss Cookie has one consistent symptom - gagging. This leads to not eating properly which in turn leads to health issues.
My conclusion based on what you say is that you might re-visit the idea that it is small foreign body lodged in the throat.
See also: Cat Vomiting
1. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook page 188.