Intestinal obstruction by trichobezoars in five cats

J Feline Med Surg. 1999 Dec;1(4):199-207. doi: 10.1053/jfms.1999.0042.


Between 1997 and 1999, five domestic crossbred cats (four long haired, one short haired) presented with a palpable abdominal mass and were shown to have small intestinal trichobezoars at laparotomy or necropsy. Hair balls were associated with partial or complete intestinal obstruction and were situated in the proximal jejunum to distal ileum. In four cats obstructions were simple, while the remaining cat had a strangulating obstruction. Three of the cats were 10 years or older, and two were less than 4 years. In the three older cats abdominal neoplasia was suspected and investigations were delayed or declined in two of these cats because of a perceived poor prognosis. Predisposing factors identified in this series of cats included a long-hair coat, flea allergy dermatitis, inflammatory bowel disease and ingestion of non-digestible plant material. This report shows that the ingestion of hair is not always innocuous and that intestinal trichobezoars should be considered in the differential diagnoses of intestinal obstruction and intra-abdominal mass lesions, particularly in long-haired cats.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bezoars / complications
  • Bezoars / diagnosis
  • Bezoars / veterinary*
  • Cat Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cat Diseases / etiology
  • Cats
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Hair
  • Intestinal Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Obstruction / etiology
  • Intestinal Obstruction / veterinary*
  • Male
  • Plants, Edible / adverse effects
  • Radiography, Abdominal