Salmonellosis is an infection caused by the Salmonella bacterium. It often leads to intestinal disorders, miscarried pregnancy, and blood poisoning. It is also zoonotic, meaning humans can be infected too. Learn more. READ MORE
While a source of heat is important for your reptile's thermoregulation, some heat sources can burn the reptile as it tries to get closer to the heat source. Learn more about this common injury and how it is treated. READ MORE
Are you an animal "owner" or an animal "parent"? Do you call your companion animal your "pet" or your "fur-baby"? We have our own quirks here in the offices of petMD, but one thing we can say is true: dogs do act like children. READ MORE
First discovered in Mexico, the Chihuahua is best known for being the smallest dog breed in the world. Extremely loyal to its owner, the breed has recently become a popular culture icon in the United States. READ MORE
It may be hard to believe, but hairballs don’t have to be a regular part of cat ownership. If your cat is hacking up the occasional hairball, a small change in diet can help to prevent them. Learn more. READ MORE
From the relatively safe vantage point of the United States, it’s easy to forget how bad the rabies virus can be in countries where the animal population is not routinely and thoroughly vaccinated against it. Read more. READ MORE
Cats love to play with little things, but when they start swallowing them, things can get messy. For Kitty the cat, all of her nine lives would have passed at once had surgeons not found the culprit of her misery. Read more. READ MORE
Pica is a medical issue referring to a craving for non-food items and the subsequent eating of them. Coprophagia is the eating and ingesting of feces. Generally, neither of these conditions are the result of an underlying disease, but may be the result of a mineral or vitamin deficiency. Fortunately, there are treatment options in these types of cases, or behavior modification practices that can be implemented if it is a non-threatening issue.
Symptoms and Types
You may observe your cat eating dirt, clay, rocks, soap, or other items that can endanger the animal’s health. The largest organ system that is affected by this behavior is the gastrointestinal tract, especially if foreign objects are being swallowed. You may notice that the animal is vomiting, has loose stools, or has diarrhea. There may be weakness and lethargy in the animal.
There are several possible reasons for why an animal would eat feces or other non-food items, including malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, increased appetite, or conditions such as diabetes or thyroid disease. Parasites, too, can be another of the causes for this behavior.
Sometimes an animal will eat its feces if there are remaining undigested articles of food in the stool. Mothers with newborns will also commonly eat the feces of their newborns; this is a normal part of their grooming behavior. As such, puppies may also eat feces as an observation of the mother's behavior, or as part of exploration. In addition, an animal may eat feces as a response to recent punishment, to attract attention, because it desires to clean its environmental area, or because it is hiding its mistake.
Your veterinarian will need to distinguish between medical and behavioral causes. will need to begin by giving a thorough history of your pet's health and recent activities. A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. If it is not due to a medical condition, your veterinarian will need a full history on your cat, including its diet and appetite, handling practices, and information about its environment. This will assist your veterinarian in developing a proper treatment plan.