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Hairballs and IBD  

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

My cat sheds like crazy and has had a propensity to hack up hairballs fairly often throughout her life ... she is now 13.    Well, about a year ago she developed what appears to be IBD (we did all the tests but stopped short of the biopsy).


So I have read in various blogs that researchers think there might be a link between hairballs and IBD.   The thought is after so much hairball irritation the intestines get inflammed and maybe scarred and react to the hair.   Its so bad that not only does she vomit hairballs but her poop is basically 60% hair..... yes I did check closely with gloves on.


Well in my case my cat Precious has had 4 or 5 bad IBD downturns over the past year - each one of them started off with her hacking up a hairball.   So I am wondering if this is the culprit.   I have a furminator but even after brushing for 20 minutes and after handfuls of hair there is no end to it.   I have lately considered just shaving her.    It would be strange for both of us but if it stops the IBD flares it will probably be worth it.



Anybody have a thought or insight??

post #2 of 13

I'd try Vet's Best Hairball Relief.  Simple to give and most cats love it.

post #3 of 13

I have a kitty with IBD that is prone to constipation along with the vomiting and anorexia.  I think there is a definite connection between swallowing hair and IBD flares but it's kind of the chicken or the egg thing.  Is swallowing large quantities of hair the cause of the inflammation or is the inflammation and the resulting loss of motility the cause of all the hair building up in the gut?  I don't know but yeah there is a connection.  My IBD kitty is a short hair but my other kitty has longer hair with a deep undercoat.  Before I got a diagnoses for my IBD kitty I was getting my longer hair kitty lion cuts, it didn't seem to help my IBD kitty.  I think it might be worth a try though, what works for each IBD kitty is different.


Have you done diet changes and is your kitty on any medications long term.

post #4 of 13

I am dealing with the same issue.  Obi has always been a hairball vomiter, and in late winter, it increased.  Long story short, he has pancreatitis.  It is not clear what the underlying issue is.  He does not have diarrhea, and most of the time his stools are normal and firm.  Go figure.


However, Obi has almost always only thrown up hair, rarely food.  I too have a furminator, and I get  your frustration with the endless gobs of hair we can pull off our guys - and they still vomit hair.


I personally would worry that shaving Obi would distress him a lot, and also, might open the door to skin problems.  Cats have hair for a reason.

post #5 of 13

Tim's not been diagnosed with anything, but vets have tossed out the possibility of IBS/IBD. He was a frequent hairball hacker, and he also vomited fairly frequently, would have diarrhea on occasion, and had two very bad constipation episodes.


If your cat grooms a lot and therefore is ingesting hair, be happy he's passing hair in his stools. Hair is not digestible and has to come out some way; better in the stool than up and out. I never saw hair in Tim's stools until we improved his digestion. Now he rarely hacks up a hairball, but I see hair in his stools. My n=1 opinion is that hairballs are a result of digestive problems, inflammation, something. However, I can see how it could be a chicken-and-egg scenario, where too much hair stuck in the digestive tract could contribute to inflammation, making it worse.


A lot of people have had luck with Vet's Best hairball relief. Some cats can't tolerate it. Tim's responded well to a tiny, tiny amount of psyllium mixed with a lot of water. When I say tiny, I mean like 1/16 tsp once per day or less. It's worked so well for him that I now give a bit to our female cat once a week or so. It seems to really scrub the hair out. We were using Laxatone almost daily, but have stopped that entirely with better results.


As Denice mentions, you might try looking at your cat's diet. Adding probiotics to Tim's diet really helped, as did looking long and hard at what he eats and eliminating all foods that contain carrageenan. We are still experimenting with proteins and other additives such as gums.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

I did see on Lisa Piersons site that she does shave one of her kitties.   Anyway Precious didnt make it thru this time.   She passed Friday at around 2 pm.    The vet thought there was something more than just IBD  going on - but had no clue what.


The thing was I had just started her on prednisone 2-3 days before.    But she was totally dehydrated from vomiting and dyhrea.   The vet gave here a bunch of sub-q fluid and the prednisone and said come back in a week.    But the day after the first dose of prednisone she lost all the fluid and was still vomiting.   I don`t  get it....  somebody please explain to me how you can give a dehydrated cat prednisone knowing it is going to make her lose even more fluids.    At least some cerenia might be in order to stop the vomiting.


I am sad and angry all  at once.    Do not use Banfield vets.... they are horrible.


My only consolation is Precious had a reasonably long 14 year life.    Though she was an alpha cat....  hated having other cats in the house ,,,, especially boys.


I know it`ll take some time to get over the hurt.   I have vowed to adopt an older cat from a shelter .....  the ones that tend to get neglected in favor of kittens.    Just my landlord wont let me get another one.


Please send her prayers.


Love u Precious  .....  run free

post #7 of 13

Pred is a pretty standard treatment with IBD, my kitty is on a small maintenance dose.  I am so sorry, for things to go this quickly it does sound like there was something more going on.  She may have had lymphoma.  Unfortunately IBD and intestinal lymphoma often go hand and hand.  It's often very difficult to know which a kitty has and IBD often turns into intestinal lymphoma.  That nagging worry about lymphoma is something that all of us with IBD kitties live with.

post #8 of 13

Yeah, pred will make most hold onto sure sounds like something else was going on.  You did the best you could and Precious passed in a loving home.  Sometimes that's the best we can do.


Gosh I'm sorry.  RIP Precious!

post #9 of 13

Zoneout, I am really sorry about your Precious.  I ran a pet loss support group for many years, and I know from that experience that sometimes things just happen fast with cats and dogs; I dont know why, maybe it is because their lives are shorter in general.


Precious was lucky to have had you to care for her.

post #10 of 13

I am so sorry about Precious.

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for the support.   My doc kept saying it seems like more than just IBD was going on.    She had 4-5 flare-ups over the past year - each one getting progressively worse.   At least the first 4 times I could always entice her to eat those freeze-dried chicken treats.   Her ears would perk up as soon as I touched the bag.   But this time I knew something was much more wrong.   I would open the bag of treats ... even lay a few in front of her and she wouldn`t even sniff it.    I could only get baby food in with syringe.... and then she would even heave that up shortly after.



I have tons of pics of her .... even from her chubby days when she was free-fed Deli cat (what garbage I figured out later).    She used to lie on the carpet on her back and would love getting her fat belly rubbed.


The funny thing is she was the quinticestial `fraidy-cat`.   Anything new or different in the house and she would run for cover under the bed.    Till one time we had a family of raccoons come into our living room through the cat screen door.    She made such a fuss and commotion hissing at them to protect our house.    She was very heroic when it counted.



Here she is waiting for a nice belly rub....

post #12 of 13

I'm so sorry for your loss, @zoneout.  How devastating.  frown.gif

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

They say IBD can morph into other deseases.   That seems like the case.   Each flareup seemed to get progressively worse.   When the idiot vets finally gave me preds by the final time it was too late.  She couldnt eat or drink on her own at all.


A wise friend of mine said we are really sorry for ourselves at times like this due to the loss..... something missing in our lives.   But the departed are better off for they are suffering no more.   We feel sorry for ourselves .... not really for them.    For they are in a better place.

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