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Choking and Gagging in Cats

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Foreign Bodies in the Throat (Choking and Gagging) continued...

However, if the cat has fainted, the foreign body will have to be removed at once to reestablish the airway. Open the cat’s mouth. This is now easily accomplished because the cat is unconscious. Take hold of the neck behind the object and apply enough pressure to keep the object from passing down while you hook it with your fingers. Work it loose as quickly as possible. Then administer artificial respiration, if needed.

Prevention: Watch your cat carefully and do not let her play with small, easily torn toys. Do not feed a cat chicken bones or long bones that can splinter.

Foreign Bodies in the Mouth

Foreign bodies that can lodge in the mouth include bone or wood splinters, gristle, slivers of wood, sewing needles, pins, porcupine quills, fishhooks, and plant awns. Some penetrate the lips, gums, and palate; others become caught between the teeth or wedged across the roof of the mouth. Pieces of string can become wrapped around the teeth and the tongue.

Suspect a foreign body when your cat paws at her mouth, rubs her mouth along the floor, drools, gags, licks her lips, or holds her mouth open. Occasionally, the only signs are loss of pep, bad breath, refusal to eat, and an ungroomed appearance.

Treatment: Sit under a good light source and gently open your cat’s mouth. A good look may reveal the cause of the problem. It is possible to remove some foreign bodies using tweezers. Others will require the cat to be under general anesthesia-which requires a trip to the veterinarian.

Foreign bodies left in place for a day or longer may cause infection. A broad-spectrum antibiotic is recommended for one week.

WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"

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