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Flatulence, commonly called gas, is a condition in which too much gas accumulates in the stomach and intestines. It is normal for pets to have some gas, but excessive gas that produces discomfort could signal a problem with the animal's diet, the way the pet eats or the animal's digestive system. Flatulence is more common in dogs than cats, but it occurs in both species.

How Flatulence Affects Your Pet

Gas accumulates in the stomach and intestines when one of the following conditions occurs: Indigestible food ferments in the digestive tract; Food does not move through the system as quickly as it should due to a gastric or intestinal motility disorder; the pet swallows too much air. Accumulated gas causes discomfort and must be frequently passed to relieve pressure in the digestive tract. In the majority of cases, flatulence is not a serious pet problem and is caused by a common dog or cat health condition such as lactose or other food intolerance, eating trash, eating too quickly, parasites or hairballs. Flatulence can also be a symptom of a more serious health problem, such as inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal obstruction, viral infection, food allergy, pancreatic disease or cancer of the stomach or intestines. If the condition persists or the affected pet appears generally ill, immediate veterinary care is indicated.

Common Symptoms of Flatulence

Symptoms of flatulence in dogs and cats include the following: Passing gas excessively, Rumbling in the stomach or bowels, Abdominal discomfort, Burping, A feces-like odor, Vomiting and Diarrhea. A cat or dog with gas is usually not severely ill. If, however, the pet displays any of the following symptoms, pets need prompt veterinary care: Bloody stools, Severe abdominal pain, Severe vomiting or diarrhea, Lethargy, Fever, Distended abdomen and Nonproductive retching.

Treatments for Flatulence

Treatment for minor dog and cat flatulence involves feeding frequent small meals, encouraging regular exercise and keeping the pet away from unfamiliar foods and foods known to produce gastrointestinal upset. If the flatulence is severe or persistent, the pet should be seen by a veterinarian. For mild to moderate bouts of flatulence, veterinarians can prescribe oral medications and diet changes to decrease gas. Treatment for more severe or chronic cases depends on the cause of the flatulence. If the pet has intestinal parasites, it will require antiparasitic medication. If the problem is an allergy, the source of the allergic reaction must be discovered and eliminated from the diet. If the problem is caused by a systemic disease, treatment is aimed at curing or controlling that disease. Other treatments are chosen based on the symptoms of the affected pet. In cases of severe discomfort and distension, the treating veterinarian will need to decompress the gastrointestinal tract by passing a tube into the stomach.

Breeds Affected

This cat and dog health problem occurs in animals of all breeds. Certain dog breeds, however, do tend to be more flatulent than others. Canine breeds prone to flatulence include the following: Boston terrier, Boxer, Bulldog, French bulldog, Pekingese, Pug and Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Feline breeds with flat faces, including the Himalayan and Persian, are also predisposed to flatulence.

Pet Insurance

When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.

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