Tricky! Bizarre! Meet the Trichobezoar!

Posted May 9, 2012

This nasty character visits most cats eventually. He’s rarely dangerous, but he’s no fun, either.

That’s A Hairball?!?

It doesn’t bear much resemblance to your cat’s gorgeous coat. In fact, it looks more like something from the bathtub drain-trap. But if you were to inspect it closely – not recommended for the squeamish – you’d find what’s known medically as a trichobezoar: a densely packed mass of hair, usually tubular in shape and surrounded by digestive fluids. Sometimes, small amounts of food will be recognizable in the deposit as well.

What Goes In Must Come Out

Trichobezoars (trick-o-BE-zoars) are a natural by-product of feline grooming behavior: swallowed fur collects in the stomach, forming a mass that can’t easily pass through the intestinal tract. Some cats don’t limit their grooming to themselves, but will groom other cats they live with as well, exacerbating the issue. Unfortunately, if the hair doesn’t pass down into the litter box, it has to come back up, usually onto your best carpet.

Move on Down, Hairball!

Brushing helps reduce hairballs but for cats who don’t participate willingly, there are special foods, treats and other products to control hairballs. Dietary fiber, in the proper amounts and proportions, encourages optimal digestive tract function, aiding the movement of hairballs through the gut – and out of sight! Ask us for the best way to help reduce hairballs in your cat.

Copyright © 2012 by Roxanne Willems Snopek

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