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Pica in dogs and cats

Pica is defined as the ingestion of substances that are not considered food. Some commonly ingested substances include rocks, fabric, plastic, and bowel movement. In young puppies, pica is a normal behavior used to explore the environment. Most puppies eventually grow out of this behavior.

Additional information

Ingestion of non-food items

Although most cases of pica are not caused by disease, gastrointestinal or hepatic disease may lead to ingestion of nonfood items. The pathophysiology is unknown.

Systems Affected
  • CNS system Diseases such as rabies or lead toxicity can cause pica
  • Gastrointestinal tract In some animals, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract such as gingivitis and lymphocytic plasmacytic enteritis or enterocolitis, can cause pica. More commonly, however, the gastrointestinal tract is affected when obstruction occurs secondary to pica.
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