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Loss of appetite in a cat or dog. Refusal to eat.

It turns out that refusing to eat, in other words, the term anorexia, does not only apply to the fashion world and to girls who suffer from a morbid desire to lose weight. Animals suffer from this disease too.
Anorexia is the disappearance of the feeling of hunger. The interest in food disappears and the animal refuses it. This behaviour is usually caused by a disease. Primary, secondary and pseudo anorexia are distinguished.

Causes of primary and secondary anorexia

Physiological. Most often due to infectious diseases, respiratory or gastrointestinal disorders.
Behavioural problems. The pet tries to attract the attention of the owner. For example, it wants to be hand-fed or fed only meat.

Emotional. The pet becomes anxious when left alone in the house. Or anxiety is caused by moving house, death or the departure of a family member.
Over-intrusiveness: the owner tries too hard to get the pet to eat, causing food aversion.

Pseudo anorexia occurs in those animals thate can’t grasp, chew or swallow food because of illness. These animals usually feel a strong sense of hunger but cannot eat.

What to do?

The first thing to do is to eliminate the possibility of pseudo-anorexia. This should be done by offering the animal food and observing how it behaves. Is it interested in the food? Can he grab it and chew it? Are there signs of pain? The mouth should then be well inspected.
The pet should be shown to a vet. It should be determined whether the anorexia is related to a medical condition or emotional distress. In addition to the veterinary examination, a clinical and biochemical blood test, a simple urinalysis, an X-ray of the chest or an ultrasound of the abdomen may be necessary.

Anorexia differs from other forms of wasting in that it is the result of a disease process.
In the initial stage of the disease, in addition to treating the underlying disease that caused the anorexia, the animal should be artificially injected with protein food. Liquid food is injected through the bThis is one of the simplest methods and the nutrients fill the animal’s stomach quite quickly.
So, refusing to eat is a sign that the animal is seriously ill. Let us consider the physiological causes of this condition, i.e. disease, for a moment. By the way, these causes vary from one age to another.

Viral infection (usually affecting cats aged 2-6 months): the first sign of illness is reduced activity and refusal to eat. Also an increase in body temperature.
Inflammatory process in the gastrointestinal tract causing pain, including pain in the oral cavity (gingivitis, periodontitis, gastroenterocolitis, hepatic pancreatitis).
Foreign body entering the gastrointestinal tract. Vomiting will occur along with refusal to eat, even after the animal has simply had a drink of water; constipation is also one of the symptoms, although partial passage of the intestine may be present.

Renal failure (develops in animals of older age groups). It occurs because the kidneysit does not fully fulfil its function. The products of the protein degradation process are partially eliminated through the gastrointestinal tract, while the animal’s mouth smells uremic, ulcers in the oral cavity are visualised and the pet suffers from vomiting.

Oncological diseases (older animals are more vulnerable). Refusal to eat is associated with general intoxication of the body, disease of the organ where the tumour is located.
Internal bleeding. For example, after a fall from a height, after a road traffic accident or after a blow. Such a condition is characterised by enlargement of the abdominal cavity, anaemia of the mucous membranes (pallor).

Inflammatory process in any other organ or tissue (urocystitis, abscesses, etc.). This causes discomfort and pain to the animal, so that appetite and general mobility are usually reduced.

Any of the above conditions requires a full and effective medical examination. If you notice that your pet is refusing to eat, do not delay a visit to the vet.

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