What the Fur!? Are Hairballs Normal?
A common question among pet owners is, are hairballs normal? The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center have an answer to that inquiry and can also provide some tips on hairball prevention.
As they are named, hairballs are a collection of undigested fur. Hairballs are known as trichobezoars and vary in size and shape. Among the hairballs are usually stomach acids and fluids. Not too pretty, right?
Most cats experience a hairball from time to time. The reason for this is that cats self-groom, especially those with long fur. The fur is typically passed through the digestive system without problems, but every now and then they collect in the stomach and are regurgitated.
If your cat has a hairball incident a few times a year, it’s probably nothing to worry about. If they have an increase in hairballs in a month’s time, there could be an underlying medical condition causing them.
Conditions that Cause Hairballs
When your cat is producing more hairballs than normal, there can be one of a few factors at work. Hairballs are often caused because of a digestive issue that is preventing the hair from being expelled or your cat is self-grooming more than usual.
Some common health problems that cause hairballs include:
- Obstruction in the digestive tract (an emergency situation)
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Kidney disease
Please be certain to follow up with your veterinarian to get to the source of your pet’s condition and begin treatment.
Treating Hairballs at Home
There is no cure-all for the average hairball bout, as long as your veterinarian has deemed your pet healthy. But you can do something to alleviate this gross occurrence.
- Switch to a hairball reducing diet for your furry friend.
- Opt for treats that help prevent the formation of hairballs.
- Brush and groom your cat weekly.
- Consider taking your pet to a professional groomer. Regular shampoos can help.
- Give your cat a little bit of butter or olive oil in their meal to lubricate the gastrointestinal tract.
- Use over the counter hairball gels that act like the above mentioned butter or oil.
If you would like more information about hairballs and your cat, or would like to schedule an appointment, please call! We’re here to tackle this hairy situation with you to keep your pet at their best.
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