Bilious Vomiting Syndrome in Cats
Bile is a bitter, yellow-green fluid that is created in the liver and stored in the gallbladder until food has been ingested. It is then released into the small intestine to aid in digestion of food and to emulsify the food so that it can be used appropriately by the body. Bile also carries various waste materials out of the body along with the feces.
Bilious vomiting syndrome occurs due to motility problems, when bile abnormally enters into the stomach, causing irritation and vomiting. That is, when the gastrointestinal tract fails to react automatically to the normal functions that occur within the tract, contents in the tract do not move as they should, causing abnormal behaviors within the system. Bile that has entered into the stomach is expelled by the cat, and the vomit contents are found to contain bile.
This reaction is usually seen in the early morning or late night just before eating, especially in cats that are fed once daily. It is a rare condition in cats; when it does occur it is usually in older cats. Both genders are equally affected.
Symptoms and Types
- Chronic intermittent vomiting containing bile
- Usually occurs in the morning or late night just before eating
- Abdominal discomfort
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- The exact cause is still unknown
- Diseases causing gastritis or inflammation of the intestine, leading to modified gastrointestinal motility
You will need to give a thorough history of your cat's health, a background history of symptoms, possible incidents that might have led to this condition, and recent activities. As much as you can, you will need to tell your veterinarian when the symptoms began, and how frequently the vomiting occurs.
Your veterinarian will then perform a thorough physical exam on your cat, with a complete blood profile, a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis.
A history of intermittent vomiting with bile contents is usually enough for a preliminary diagnosis. In the course of diagnosing this disease, laboratory testing is not of much help as the results are usually within normal ranges. Specific radiographic and ultrasound imaging studies of the abdomen may reveal delayed stomach motility. Endoscopic examination often returns normal in these patients.