Hairballs are a collection of hair and fur formed in the stomach of the cat due to their self grooming.
Due to the fact that cats cannot digest digest hair because one of its components is keratin (an insoluble protein), hair, fur and other ingested food accumulate in the cat’s stomach and from time to time he vomits the hairball.
Sometimes the ball is too large and the cat cannot vomit it, causing a serious health threat. More than that, the hairball could reach the small intestine and become tightly lodged there. If this is the situation, it is imperative to perform a surgical intervention.
– Brush and comb cats’ coats daily, especially when cats get older.
-If you suspect your cat suffers from a blockage of a hairball, do not give him a laxative without approval of your vet.
-“A cat that is lethargic, refuses to eat for more than a day or two or has had repeated episodes of unproductive retching or true vomiting should be examined by a veterinarian without delay” advises Dr. Goldstein, DVM, an associate professor of small animal medicine at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine at: http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/health_information/Hairballs.cfm
How to Diagnose intestinal blockage?
Diagnosis of intestinal blockage is based on physical examination, bloodwork, X-rays, perhaps ultrasound, and a history of the animal’s pattern of hairball regurgitation.
Are Hairball always like balls?
Despite the term, disgorged hairballs are not usually round. They are often slender and cylindrical, shaped more like a cigar or sausage than a ball. According to Richard Goldstein, a spit-up hairball’s elongated shape is imparted by the narrow food tube (esophagus) in which it develops or through which it passes on its journey from the cat’s stomach to the outside world. However, he notes, a hairball that is not disgorged and remains in the stomach will indeed be round — “like a sponge or a rolled-up sock,” he says.
Do Hairballs exist only on cats?
No, rabbits also suffer from the same problem, as they groom themselves, being this a more serious issue as they cannot regurgitate them.
Humans suffering from Rapunzel syndrome also ingests hair, in this case the solution has to be a surgical intervention as the human gastrointestinal tract is not able to digest hair.
What is a trichobezoar?
A trichobezoar is a Hairball.