Did you know that bezoars, those solid masses of indigestible material, can affect not only humans but also our furry friends? Bezoars usually form in the stomach, sometimes in the small intestine, and rarely in the large intestine, causing potential blockages. Let’s delve into the types of bezoars and how we can prevent them.
Types of Bezoars
Phytobezoars are composed of indigestible food fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and seeds.
Trichobezoars are hair or fiber clumps, commonly known as “fur balls” in pets. In some cases, young girls who twirl and chew their own hair may develop what is referred to as “Rapunzel’s syndrome.”
Pharmacobezoars consist of medications that do not dissolve properly in the digestive tract.
These troublesome masses can either pass through the digestive tract or, in the case of cats, be regurgitated into unexpected places like your favorite slipper or bedside carpet. Some bezoars may require surgical removal, highlighting the severity of the issue. In fact, hairballs are deemed important enough to have their own Awareness Day on April 24th.
How Do Bezoars Form in Cats?
Cats are meticulous groomers. When they lick their fur, tiny hook-like papillae on their tongue catch and swallow loose hairs. Most of these hairs pass through their digestive tract without any problems. However, some hairs stay in the stomach and gradually accumulate, eventually forming a bezoar. If the clump manages to exit the stomach, it may end up in the litter box. Alternatively, the cat may try to cough it up. These hairballs, which are not really balls but rather disgusting sausage-shaped clumps of hair, can cause discomfort and even prevent the cat from eating.
When bezoars form, your cat may exhibit the following signs:
- Inability to eat or lack of interest in food
- Weight loss
- Choking/unproductive coughing
If your cat displays any of these symptoms, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian.
How to Prevent Bezoars?
Prevention is key when it comes to bezoars. Here are a couple of strategies you can employ to keep your cat safe:
Regular grooming: Just like us, cats feel better when they are clean and healthy. Brushing your cat regularly helps remove dead and loose fur, reducing the chances of hairball formation.
Add fiber to the diet: Including fiber-rich foods like pumpkin or sweet potato puree in your cat’s diet can help prevent the formation of bezoars. These foods push hair through the digestive tract, preventing it from clumping up in the stomach.
Check out Hairball Support Chews for a comprehensive hairball prevention solution!
Key Benefits of Hairball Support Chews:
- Comprehensive fiber-based formula
- Delicious chew that your cat will love
- Developed by veterinarians and nutritionists, made in the U.S.A.
Grooming your cat regularly and providing preventive measures like Hairball Support Chews can go a long way in keeping them healthy and trouble-free. Remember, if something doesn’t seem right with your cat, it’s always best to consult a veterinarian. Additionally, having pet insurance can provide peace of mind for any unexpected health concerns. Let’s ensure our furry companions live their best lives by our side.
To learn more about cat grooming and pet safety, visit Katten TrimSalon.