Cat Hairball Symptoms

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Cat hairballs come from cats grooming themselves, and long-haired cats will often get hair tied up in their gastrointestinal system. Look for vomiting and wheezing as a sign of hairballs in cats with help from a staff veterinarian in this free video on cat health and pet care.

Part of the Video Series: Dog & Cat Diseases
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Video Transcript

Let's talk about cat hairball symptoms. Hairballs come from grooming. We usually see it in longer haired cats because they obviously have longer hair that can get tied up with the GI system. So what happens is cats naturally groom themselves and they have a rough sand papery tongue which grabs some hair and they will automatically swallow it. Hairballs form generally in the stomach and they can be mild to severe and cats typically when they are symptomatic or having a hairball issue are going to be wheezing because there will be hair sometimes caught in the back of the throat and they will make this distinct kind of almost like a cough but it is a wheezy type of sound and they will also be commonly vomiting. They may not vomit a hairball. They can vomit and have a hairball and you may not see anything, just bile sometimes. Another symptom would be if they really have a large hairball and are having trouble could be decreased appetite, laying around, not passing a lot of stool. You can also see some of this hair in stool as well so cats with hairballs typically do really well. There are hairball foods out there these days and also hairball types of medications that can be given, syrups that will bind hair and get it moving through the GI system so they don't become symptomatic. If your cat is wheezing it may not be hairballs so make sure your veterinary clinic diagnoses that first and that is not some other type of problem. Hairballs are very very common because cats are very common groomers and so if you think that is going on let your veterinary clinic know and they can help you on how to treat it.

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