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Hairballs

Author: Calvert Veterinary Center Staff

~~Hairball Awareness Day
 April 29th is Hairball Awareness Day. Does your cat produce hairballs? If so, you should take a moment to learn about hairballs and when they merit a trip to the veterinarian.
 Cats groom themselves on a daily basis and as they are doing this they will consume their own fur. Most of this fur will pass through their digestive system and leave their body through bowel movements. However, some fur can remain in their stomach or intestines and build up until cats expel it through vomiting. Hairballs are not completely uncommon in cats, but can become an issue for some cats especially if they occur on a regular basis.
 We recommend brushing your cat on a daily basis to help cut down on the amount of fur he or she may consume while grooming. Long haired cats tend to be more prone to hairballs as well as cats that shed a lot or over groom. Another preventative measure pet owners can take is ensuring their pet’s skin and coat are healthy. Feeding a well-balanced diet helps keep their skin and coat healthy and there are even diets that aid in the digestion of hairballs. There are also omega-3 fatty acid supplements available through veterinarians, such as Welactin. Welactin also supports kidney health and brain/vision health in addition to skin and coat health.  Your veterinarian can also prescribe oral lubricants to aid in the digestion of fur.
Hairballs can occasionally cause digestive obstruction that puts a pet at risk. These cases can sometimes require surgery to remove the hairball. Pets that produce hairballs can have other underlying medical conditions too. In some cases, hairballs can also be a sign of anxiety, allergies, or even inflammatory bowel disease. For these reasons, we recommend bringing them to the see one of our veterinarians for an exam if they are producing hairballs on a regular basis.

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