Acid Reflux In Cats: What Do You Need To Know About It?


The acid reflux in cats is somewhat common in cats, and might happen at any age, even though younger cats at a much greater risk. In this article, we will discuss further the acid reflux in cats, what causes it, its symptoms, as well as its possible treatments. If you want to know this and more, feel free to give this article a read.

Acid Reflux in Cats: What is this condition?

In a healthy upper digestive system, the sphincter valve or the stomach closes to prevent digestive fluids from refluxing skyward. Nevertheless, the fluid seem to pass this sphincter when the acids that reside in the stomach become too excessive, which is commonly due to a dietary influenced gastritis. After a while, the cat’s esophagus starts to become painful and inflamed, a condition vets term esophagitis. This particular smooth tissues start to become narrowed or scarred and stiffen to guard the acids from any further damage to the esophagus, thus forever affecting the ability of the cat to consume foods easily.

Moreover, acid reflux in cats is a condition wherein the fluids in the stomach tend to flow upward in the esophagus. This is also known as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Vets don’t know the precise cause of the disease, yet hypotheses have already been made. The up flow of the stomach acid chronically irritates the lining of the esophagus, medically known as the mucosa, thus causing clinical indications of spewing.

Causes of Acid Reflux

The acid reflux in cats may affect any breed, any age, or even gender. This is even though the acid reflux has already been reported in more young cats than the older ones. Cats, which eat table scraps or have a constantly changing diet are more susceptible to developing acid reflux than a cat that’s fed a well-balanced diet.

Moreover, an acid reflux is also found in cats, which are diagnosed with hairballs and vomiting. Vets also have hypothesized the likelihood of a hiatal hernia, being one of the main causes. This is due to the fact that this hernia may cause a tear in the cat’s diaphragm. Additionally, anesthesia is known to cause acid reflux in cats for a time after a surgery, yet this particular form of acid reflux is commonly temporary and may resolve on its own gradually.

Symptoms of Acid Reflux

The symptoms of acid reflux in cats might mimic the clinical signs that comes with the human acid reflux condition. Vets may assume as well that a feline may feel the similar sensation of heartburn, with the feeling of the[A1]  throat blockade. This is the reason why they tend to display clinical signs that are the same with other humans. Even though the way a cat feels may not be determined, cats display clinical symptoms of acid reflux, which clue cat owners in an underlying condition.

The symptoms of acid reflux in cats may include:

  • Change in the nature of the meow
  • General discomfort
  • Chronic nasal discharge
  • Chronic non-productive cough
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Salivation
  • Vomiting of food
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Weight loss
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing

Prognosis of Acid Reflux

Ensuing a systematic review of the cat’s medical history and performing some medical examination, the vet may proceed to performing a logical diagnostic tests, in order to determine the main cause of the condition. Furthermore, vets may likely to request these diagnostic tests:

  • Endoscopy –the use of a fiber-optic camera placed inside of the esophagus, trachea, or lower airways for some evaluation purposes.
  • Radiographs –thoracic x-ray examinations of the chest comprising the lungs, heart, and the upper digestive tract, as well as the abdominal x-rays on the abdominal cavity.
  • Urinalysis –examination of the urine to screen for various infections, metabolic conditions, as well as damages to the kidneys.
  • Biochemistry profile –blood tests, which provide information regarding the level of the electrolytes and gastrointestinal enzymes that the cat is producing. This particular blood test may indicate the functionality of the organs of the cat as well as its overall internal health.
  • Complete Blood Cell Count or CBC –a blood test that is used in evaluating the number of circulating platelets, white and red blood cells.

Treatments for Acid Reflux

Most of the treatments for acid reflux in cats may be done at home. The vet might advise you to withhold the food a day or two, subsequently following a dietary routine of low-protein, low-fat meals given in small, regular feedings. The dietary protein and fat must be limited, as the fat reduces the strength of the muscle in between the esophagus and the stomach, while the protein kindles the secretion of the gastric acid.

The medications are an added option. Medications known as gastrointestinal prokinetic agents may help in improving the movement of the stomach contents via the intestines. Moreover, they may also help in strengthening the gastroesophageal sphincter. Regardless of whether the medications are given, a diet change is advisable.

Don’t give your cat Bismuth subsalicylate. It is considered dangerous for the use in cats, because of the cat’s sensitivity to salicylates.


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