Author Topic: Some illuminating thoughts on hairballs and why they are not normal  (Read 3409 times)

Offline Middle Child

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Article by vet Dr Fern Crist. Very good information here.  Read the comments too, because she goes into a lot more detail in one of her replies.

http://consciouscat.net/2010/04/28/some-startling-new-thoughts-on-cats-and-hairballs/

A small excerpt:

Quote
Why would we think that “lubrication” of the gut with petroleum products would help?  A cat is not a car.  And in no way could a cat have naturally evolved to require the dosing with “lubricants” to survive or to thrive.  Likewise, cats in the wild would never eat a “high-fiber” diet, and so would seem unlikely to benefit from one.  On the contrary, it would appear logical that a cat would thrive better on what a cat has been evolved to eat – namely a mouse or a reasonable facsimile thereof – and that feeding a cat something wildly different from the diet it has evolved on is more likely to result in harm than in good.

No, she says, I think it likely that a “hairball,” far from normal, is probably a common early symptom of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  Impaired motility of the gut would account for the balling up of hair that should pass right through, if stomach-emptying time is the 0.2 – 2 hours it is reported to be in a normal cat.  A cat shouldn’t be able to swallow enough hair fast enough to outrace normal stomach emptying time.

Offline Middle Child

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Re: Some illuminating thoughts on hairballs and why they are not normal
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2013, 07:41:31 AM »
What I do:

Along with a combination raw and grain free low carb canned diet, I use egg yolk lecithin to break down the fat that binds the fur into a "ball" and helps the cats pass them. TC and LC each get a half capsule every other day. SK gets a full capsule, split between morning and night, every day.

This is sufficient for TC and LC.

SK, whose digestion and motility was ruined from 6 1/2 years on a very bad "prescription" dry diet (to control struvite in the urine), still has a lot of inflammation and a motility problem. She is now taking Slippery Elm Bark twice a week to help with inflammation, and getting raw egg yolk four times a week. Egg yolk is rich in choline, and choline aids/increase motility.

A large egg yolk is between .5 and .65 ounces usually. SK can't manage more than .3 oz at a time so she gets .3 oz four days a week, and TC and LC take turns getting the balance, because it is good for them, even if they don't "need" the extra help.

I am convinced that the massive doses of petroleum based hairball products are what caused my Sweet Pea boy's cancer. I stopped using them at all shortly after he died and won't recommend anyone use them, ever.

Offline DeeDee

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Re: Some illuminating thoughts on hairballs and why they are not normal
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2013, 11:39:34 AM »
I am convinced that the massive doses of petroleum based hairball products are what caused my Sweet Pea boy's cancer. I stopped using them at all shortly after he died and won't recommend anyone use them, ever.

Other countries consider petroleum jelly a carcinogen & have banned it:

http://www.health-report.co.uk/petroleum_petrolatum_health_concerns.htm

You'll have to ignore the unusual spelling, because that's how it's spelled over there.

It has different grades, as stated in this next article, but you're not going to get me to believe that any of it is safer than the rest. Kind of like that saw-mill "purified" cellulose. Some things just weren't intended for people and animals to have on or in their bodies.

http://multiculturalbeauty.about.com/od/Skincare/a/Is-Petroleum-Jelly-Safe.htm

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The problem is that not all manufacturers choose to use refined petrolatum or use low-grade refinement processing, and there is the potential for PAHs to still be present.

Now if some of them still use low-grade refinement products for humans, why would anyone think they'd make it any different at all for animals?
« Last Edit: April 26, 2013, 12:06:10 PM by DeeDee »
"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." Edward Hoagland
"Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog; but you're never friendless ever, if you have a dog."

Offline Lola

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Re: Some illuminating thoughts on hairballs and why they are not normal
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2013, 05:49:46 PM »
Do you recommend a certain brand... at Amazon.com maybe?  :)  Also, can a cat have too much?  I ask because our cats tend to eat the meal on their own plate, and then they all switch around and lick everyone else's clean. 
Lucky is the only one that is somewhat consistent with hairballs.  Vet's Best does the job, but I think your plan would be cheaper.
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Offline Middle Child

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Re: Some illuminating thoughts on hairballs and why they are not normal
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2013, 08:49:01 PM »
Do you recommend a certain brand... at Amazon.com maybe?  :)  Also, can a cat have too much?  I ask because our cats tend to eat the meal on their own plate, and then they all switch around and lick everyone else's clean. 
Lucky is the only one that is somewhat consistent with hairballs.  Vet's Best does the job, but I think your plan would be cheaper.

Brand of egg yolk lecithin you mean?  I use both available brands. Swanson's Egg Yolk Lecithin costs a little less and contains a little more choline (so someone who researched it told me). It is loose powder, so easy to pour out of the capsule, because the "other ingredient" is rice powder.

I have one cat (SK) who cannot tolerate any grains at all, even the minute amounts of rice powder in Swanson's Egg Yolk lecithin. For her I use the brand Nature's Plus. It's a bit stickier and I have to use a tiny measuring spoon (very tiny) to scoop the lecithin powder out, but she is doing well on it.

All my cats say it is very tasty. They will eat it straight, but I usually mix it with a little food. I don't think they can 'overdose' on it.

Two of the cats each get 1/2 capsule of Swanson's Egg Yolk Lecithin every other day. SK gets a whole capsule of Nature's Plus daily, split between a morning meal and an evening meal.

I give the egg yolk lecithin with the first meal after the over-night fast (and for SK, second dose is in her first evening meal, after about a 6 hour fast)

I still use Vets-Best but more for incentive dusting than hairball control.

I get both brands through Amazon.

Offline Lola

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Re: Some illuminating thoughts on hairballs and why they are not normal
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2013, 12:44:16 AM »
If I don't want Lucky to have grains or hairballs...Natures Best Egg Yolk Lecithin.  Better than Vet's Best because....  ? 
Maybe I should just leave well enough alone. 
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Offline Middle Child

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Re: Some illuminating thoughts on hairballs and why they are not normal
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2013, 06:47:43 AM »
I don't know if one is better than the other Lola. I went with the egg yolk lecithin partly for price, it is less expensive to use, because a bottle of it lasts so much longer. And I liked the theory better, that it emulsifies the fat helping the fur stay loose so it will pass the way it is supposed to.

 Plus I don't like to use too much psyllium (bulk forming fiber) on a daily basis.  I do use the Vets-Best daily, for incentive, mostly to cover the calcium/taurine/B powder on their PMR meal, then a little more over any supplement powder left in the dish, to encourage them to lick it all up. But the amounts, used that way, are very small, less than half a tablet between 3 cats.

The product is perfectly safe, you may remember the time TC OD'd on it, with no ill effects. (that cat has the digestion of a goat anyway, LOL).  So if it is working, why fix it? On the other hand, like anything maybe it is good to alternate methods?

As far as I'm concerned ANYthing is better that those awful petroleum products.  I can't believe I used them and believed in them for so many years, how could I not realize, hello, petroleum is TOXIC to ingest? 

Offline DeeDee

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ATTENTION CLAUDE: Re: Some illuminating thoughts on hairballs
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2013, 09:41:02 AM »
And I liked the theory better, that it emulsifies the fat helping the fur stay loose so it will pass the way it is supposed to.


Claude and I were talking about which digestive enzymes he uses for his cats, since I'm thinking about changing Vlad & Barkly's.

The page of the ones he uses, that I'm going to try next time because they have so many more types of enzymes than the ones we use for the dogs per great dane lady, tells what every enzyme does in the ingredients' list. One of them lists its purpose as breaking down fats:

http://www.petenzymes.com/frontproduct/total-zymes.html

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Lipase; Will digest lipids or fats as they are commonly called. Lipase  is critical to digest that fat in the diet that supports a healthy coat and skin.

Maybe the cats that are getting so many hairballs are missing Lipase in their diets? When Vlad developed his shoulder issue, I was told that they never get enough enzymes no matter what and that's why dogs like to eat grass. Like I've said before, I'm not so sure that they work from the supplements, but I was going to give them anyway just to err on side of caution.

Claude will know about using it better than me though when it comes to cats.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 09:51:19 AM by DeeDee »
"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." Edward Hoagland
"Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog; but you're never friendless ever, if you have a dog."

Offline claudeone

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Re: Some illuminating thoughts on hairballs and why they are not normal
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2013, 08:15:10 PM »
Great question and probably should be directed to the manufacture of the product.  All if not most mammals produce the lipase enzyme but may not produce enough to be efficient when consuming lots of fat.  The added enzyme would help where the animal was lacking or deficient. 
Claude
All cats have itchy chops.  Besides scratching the next complaint by owners is it rubs its face on corners and such.  The behaviorist say it is marking..Bah Humbug..to a point there is some relevance in their comment.  I say kitty you are a thumb and forefinger away from a chop squeeze.

Offline Middle Child

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Re: Some illuminating thoughts on hairballs and why they are not normal
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2013, 09:07:25 PM »
I used digestive enzymes for four months for SK.  The only benefit I saw after four months was she had very long luxurious whiskers for the first time in her life.  The downside was she became noticeably less active.  She wasn't playing at ALL any more.  So I stopped using them.  Her whiskers are now thin and straggly again, but she is back to playing like a 9 year old kitten.

The digestive enzymes (Prozyme original) had no effect on her hairballs or regurgitation issue.

Offline DeeDee

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Re: Some illuminating thoughts on hairballs and why they are not normal
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2013, 09:44:06 PM »
The digestive enzymes (Prozyme original) had no effect on her hairballs or regurgitation issue.

I've not tried that one. It's one of the ones I checked out but didn't decide on b/c it didn't have very many enzymes in it. That's one of the reasons I've decided to change Vlad and Barkly's brand from N-Zymes brand to the Total-Zymes that ClaudeOne uses with his cats--so they'll 16 enzymes instead of just eight.

The downside was she became noticeably less active.  She wasn't playing at ALL any more.  So I stopped using them.  Her whiskers are now thin and straggly again, but she is back to playing like a 9 year old kitten.


I wish to heck that something (other than getting sick) would slow these 2 down sometimes! Some days I really don't feel like taking those 4 x 1/2 mile brisk walks.



"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." Edward Hoagland
"Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog; but you're never friendless ever, if you have a dog."

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