Porky and Buddy Pet Health – Flatulence Can Be Sign of Other Problems

Dear Porky & Buddy,
My sleek and elegant cat,  Sophie, is perfect in every way except one.  Just lately she has begun to pass gas. How do I know this?  Because my eyes are still watering. OMG, she can clear a room. What should I do?

Dear Jon,  
We are talking about flatulence. Which, quite honestly, we think is just as funny a word as the other F-word, farting. But right after we stop giggling and acting like 8 year old boys, we’re going to get serious, because this is a health issue and Sophie should not just be the butt of our jokes. (Get it?)

Flatulence is simply excess gas in a cat’s digestive system. It is more common in dogs than in cats, but cats can develop gas when food ferments in the digestive tract, when they swallow air after eating too fast or too much, or if there’s a disorder of the stomach, small intestine or colon.

A little gas is a natural part of the digestive process and usually passes quickly. Excessive gas, however, especially when it is foul-smelling and accompanied by other symptoms, may indicate that something is wrong, so it is good that you are asking these questions.

We contacted our friends at the ASPCA for some grown-up advice and this is what we learned.

Some common causes of flatulence in cats include: diets high in wheat, corn, soybeans or fiber, dairy products, spoiled food, overeating, food allergies, poor food absorption, eating too fast, hairballs, and intestinal parasites.

There are some things you can try at home first to see if they help. You may want to write down what Sophie eats within a 24-hour period and make note of exactly when she has these episodes of gas in order to see which foods might be causing her problem.   You may want to gradually change her diet to a low-fiber, easily digestible food. Ask your vet for a recommendation.

You could offer smaller, more frequent meals. If Sophie is not your only cat, feed your cats separately to avoid food competition. Keep her away from spoiled food, i.e. the garbage. And make sure she gets regular exercise.

So if some particular food is causing her problem, or if she is just eating too fast or too much at one time, you might be able to get to the bottom (Get it?) of it and solve the problem.

But if none of these tips help, and especially if she has any of these other symptoms, please see your veterinarian, as these may indicate a more serious health problem: Pain when you touch her belly,  a bloated abdomen, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, or scooting across the floor.

Your vet will ask you about Sophie’s diet and eating habits in order to find out if the cause of her flatulence is food-related. A physical exam will check for any health problems that may be causing the gas. If further testing is necessary, your vet may suggest, among other diagnostics, blood work, urinalysis, fecal examination and/or x-rays of the abdomen.

Flatulence can be a sign of much more serious disorders, including inflammatory bowl disease,  an intestinal virus, parasites, an obstruction, cancer, serious food allergies, or pancreatic problems.

This may sound scary, but of course you want to make sure that Sophie’s problem is identified and taken care of. We hope for both you and Sophie that you find a not very serious cause and an easy cure and that the next F-word you use to describe Sophie is Fabulous!

Speaking of fabulous, have you checked out the pets for adoption at the Oswego County Humane Society. You have until January 2 to adopt a pet and help the Humane  Society reach its goal of 430 adoptions during the Home 4 the Holidays adoption campaign.

To see other pets available for adoption go to www.oswegohumane.org

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.

Phone (315) 207-1070. Email:[email protected]

Because people and pets are good for each other.