Stomach ulcers in cats can be extremely painful as well as very dangerous to your pet. Although they are not as common in cats as they are in dogs, they can and do occur. This condition is also known by another name, Gastroduodenal ulcer disease. It can cause your cat to become weak, vomit excessively, and develop severe abdominal pain. If the ulcers are severe enough, it can also cause your cat to develop a very rapid heartbeat.
What are stomach ulcers?
Stomach ulcers in cats in most every case develops in your cats stomach or their duodenum area, which is the first section of their small intestine. They are almost always the result of deterioration of the stomach lining which causes the actual ulcer to form. Your cats mucosal lining of the stomach or their intestinal lumen is exposed, which then causes the deterioration to start. The intestinal lumen in your cat comes in direct contact with food and is responsible for the absorption of nutrients. However, when it compromised, ulcers will begin to form.
The most common cause is from excessive gastric acid in the stomach as the result of this exposure, but there are several other potential causes.
Stomach ulcers in cats are usually a condition where there is too much gastric acid buildup that occurs. While they can be extremely painful to your cat, they do not just suddenly appear on their own. It most all cases, they are a sign that your cat has an underlying health condition and as a result, the ulcers form.
The most common causes of ulcers in your cat are from tumors, IBD or Inflammatory bowel disease, or some type of bacterium that has entered into your cats gastrointestinal tract. Stress is one of the most common causes of ulcers in humans, but not in cats. Even though cats can be extremely finicky and appear to be very easily stressed, they do not reach stress levels that are considered strong enough to produce ulcers.
Accidental poisoning in cats is also one of the leading causes and can come from plant intoxication from mushrooms, castor beans, or sago palms. Pesticides or rodent toxicity can also easily cause ulcers, as well as chemical poisoning. This would include some type of heavy metal poisoning from zinc, iron, or metal.
Tumors in your cat are extremely dangerous regardless of where they are located, but they are especially dangerous if they form in the gastrointestinal tract. The build up that occurs in these cells causes an excessive leakage of gastric acid in your cat, and when this acid reaches a certain point, an ulcer develops. IBD is generally caused by a bacterium in your cats rectum or their colon, and the end result of this is excessive diarrhea.
A prolonged bout of diarrhea places a lot more gastric acid in your cats stomach or small intestines, which in turn also paves the way for ulcers to easily develop. However, although not very common, it could also be the result of early stages of kidney and liver failure.
Stomach ulcers in cats can be very challenging simply because you may never know that they have an ulcer until the symptoms become severe. However, there are some early warns signs that you can watch for, and if ulcers are caught early very early, they are much easier to treat.
By far and away the most common sign that you cat has or is developing an ulcer is a sudden and then very persistent vomiting. Vomiting in cats is a natural defense mechanism and if it is occasional, it is not a major concern. But when it becomes persistent, something is usually very wrong. If blood starts to develop in this process, it is almost always a sign that your cat has an ulcer.
If this does occur, you may also see blood in their urine, which is than rapidly followed by pain in your cats abdomen as the ulcer intensifies. Once this occurs, your cat will start to become weak, start to lose weight, and may even become anemic as a result of the blood loss. However, the most chilling sign that you will see with stomach ulcers in cats is if they start to stand in a position that almost looks like they are praying.
This position is very common when an ulcer is starting to become quite painful as your cat is trying to place their body in a position where they do not hurt. In the most severe of cases, your cats heart rate may also become very rapid as their stress levels do start to rise.
Treatments for stomach ulcers in cats will always begin with identify the actual underlying cause and then treating it accordingly. In most all cases, if the underlying cause is treated, the ulcer will heal itself. However, in the most severe of cases where the ulcer has perforated your cats stomach or their intestinal tract, surgery will be required.
The real key, however, in dealing with the vast majority of stomach ulcers in your cat is controlling the build of the gastric acids. In dealing with this challenge, there are some natural remedies that are very effective.
The first form of natural treatment is referred to as Glycyrrhiza glabra and although this sounds quite foreign, it is more commonly known as licorice. Licorice is perhaps the most powerful natural defense against ulcers and the acids that cause them as it has both pain relieving as well as anti-inflammatory properties. It will immediately help to smooth your cats stomach as well as assisting in the promotion of cell growth. This is extremely important especially if a tumor is the underlying cause and cell growth has been impaired by the tumor.
Slippery Elm is also very effective as it helps to both soothe and lubricate your cats digestive tract, and in doing so, it improves the overall digestive health of your cats stomach and small intestines. But it does not end there, as there is one other very effective natural treatment; marshmallow. Marshmallow helps to smooth your cats mucus membranes that have become inflamed by the ulcer.
Stomach ulcers in cats can be extremely painful as well as very dangerous. Identifying the underlying cause is the first consideration, but if you do not know the signs you may never know your cat has this painful condition until it has become severe. Once you recognize the symptoms, you should immediacy seek professional treatment.
However, there are natural and very safe methods of treating this painful condition before it reaches the critical stage and all of them also help in preventing the condition from ever occurring.