Constipation in Cats: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Constipation in cats may cause discomfort and restlessness, and it can even become a health risk if not treated immediately. Our Somerset County emergency veterinarian discusses the signs and symptoms of constipation in cats, as well as the reasons and treatment options for the illness.
What is constipation in cats?
Pooping is done by the majority of cats every 24 to 36 hours on average. Constipation is most likely the cause of your cat’s decreased pooping frequency, straining when she attempts to defecate, and failure to drop any waste in the litter box. In cats, it’s a frequent condition that’s typically mild enough to be treated at home with over-the-counter medications. If it occurs only seldom, there is no reason to be concerned; however, if it becomes a regular problem or if it has been more than 48 to 72 hours since she last had a bowel movement, you should consult your veterinarian.
What causes constipation in cats?
Constipation can develop if things aren’t passing through the intestines in the regular manner. Constipation in your cat can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Having back pain or other concerns with your spine
- Being anxious or stressed Pain associated with arthritis
- Diets high in dry food (which can lead to constipation and dehydration in cats)
- She is not getting enough fiber in her diet. An obstacle, such as bones or thread, that prevents the colon from functioning properly. Having problems with your kidneys
- Excessive grooming (which results in an accumulation of hair in the digestive system)
- A cat’s megacolon (a colon that becomes so enormous the muscles no longer have enough room to compress it and hard, dry feces begins to accumulate inside)
- IBD (inflammatory bowel illness)
- Nerve difficulties
- Narrow spots, tumors, or other abnormalities inside the colon
- Chronic conditions such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, or renal disease
- Gastrointestinal parasites
- Anal sacs that have ruptured or been impacted (which might cause pain while defecating)
- Disease of the perianal region
However, even though constipation affects older cats more frequently than kittens, it can affect cats of any breed or age that are fed a low-fiber diet or who don’t drink enough water in their daily lives.
What are symptoms of constipation?
Cat excrement is often well-formed, a deep brown color, and wet enough that litter will adhere to it in the normal course of events. Constipation in cats manifests as in the form of firm, dry stools that end up either within or outside of their litter box (discomfort of trying to pass these stools may have your cat leaving the litter box before actually being finished). Constipation can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including:
- When you need to go, you should enter and exit the litter box many times. Using excessive force or weeping in the litter box
- Avoiding the litter box. Not being able to defecate at all is a frustrating experience.
If your cat exhibits indications of pain when using the litter box, consult your veterinarian immediately as this might suggest significant urinary tract difficulties. Given that constipation is often associated with other health problems, you may also have symptoms of the underlying problem, which may include:
- Reduced hunger
- Increased or decreased water consumption
- Difficulty leaping up
- Muscle loss
- Weight loss
- Increased peeing
- Walking with a stiff gait
If your cat is exhibiting any of these signs, whether or not it is experiencing constipation, you should visit a veterinarian.
How is constipation in cats treated?
Despite the fact that some constipation disorders are moderate and may be addressed with dietary and lifestyle modifications, as well as at-home therapies, others may be serious and need the attention of a veterinarian. Serious situations may escalate to the point of becoming crises. When constipation occurs, it should be addressed as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of long-term damage to the colon caused by persistent distension of the colon. To effectively treat constipation in cats, it is necessary to first identify and, if feasible, rectify the underlying condition.
A veterinary emergency is defined as the inability to pass urine or feces, as well as the presence of pain when passing urine or feces.
It is important to emphasize that veterinarian knowledge is required in order to properly and successfully administer the enema – these should not be performed at home since several types of enemas developed for people are hazardous to cats (see below).
Cats suffering from chronic constipation or megacolon that do not respond to medication therapy may require surgical removal of the part of the large intestine that is causing the problem.
How to treat constipation in cats: At-Home Remedies
These at-home cures for constipation in cats may be effective in relieving the condition:
- Reduce stress and worry to the bare minimum
- Increase physical activity to aid in weight loss, anxiety reduction, and the promotion of regular bowel movement
- Try a different diet (lamb, chicken, special limited-ingredient diets, or hypoallergenic diets) to decrease inflammation and enable the intestines to function normally. As natural therapies, consume high-fiber foods, such as a spoonful of canned, pureed pumpkin once or twice a day, or ginger tea. Probiotics should be provided. Help your cat maintain a healthy weight by providing nutritious food. Over-the-counter laxatives (see your veterinarian before using them, since they may exacerbate symptoms in cats suffering from underlying or chronic disorders)
Should I watch my cat for constipation?
Initial observations should be made at least twice a week, then weekly or biweekly, to determine the frequency and consistency of your cat’s litter box deposits and stool consistency. It is important to call your veterinarian if you observe your cat straining when defecating or showing other signs of constipation. This is especially important if your cat is also suffering from diarrhea, as dehydration may rapidly become a problem.
Constipation in Cats
Constipation is described as an abnormal buildup of feces in the colon, which results in difficult bowel motions, according to the American Constipation Association. This may result in a reduction in the frequency of feces or the lack of defecation. There is a feces retention in the colon (large intestine). Because one of the primary tasks of the colon is to absorb water, the held feces become hard and dry, making it even more difficult to pass the excrement. A constipated cat may strain in an attempt to defecate, which will cause belly pain.
Some people mistake the liquid feces for diarrhea, but in reality, as the cat strains, a little quantity of liquid fecal material squeezes around the hard fecal bulk, causing it to seem like diarrhea.
What causes constipation?
But it may occur at any age in cats, constipation is most prevalent in mature and middle-aged cats, although it may occur at any age in cats. Constipation is caused by a number of factors, the most significant of which are as follows:
- Hairballs, particularly in longhaired cats
- Ingestion of foreign things such as bones
- Pelvic injuries resulting in a restricted pelvic canal
- Obesity and/or a lack of activity
- And urinary tract infections
A clear reason cannot always be determined in all situations. A frequent symptom linked with idiopathic (unknown cause)megacolon is constipation, which occurs in around half of all cases.
What is megacolon?
When it comes to constipation in cats, the most prevalent reason is megacolon, which is defined as an enlarged and weak colon that results in severe constipation. Colon muscles that have been weakened are unable to effectively push fecal materials out of the colon in this state. It is possible that this is related to neurological dysfunction, issues with the muscles lining the colon, or a combination of the two. Megacolon can occur as a primary condition or as a secondary condition following long-term constipation, depending on the circumstances.
Feces then build up in this unusually distended and enlarged colon, causing it to rupture.
How are constipation and megacolon diagnosed?
The clinical indicators and medical history of the cat can be used to make a diagnosis of constipation in the vast majority of instances, however. Cats that are affected by this condition frequently struggle in vain to defecate and may scream out in agony. Any feces that have been passed are firm and dry. In addition, the cat may display indications of lethargy, a reluctance to feed, stomach discomfort and distension, and even vomiting. As long as your cat is neither fat or tight, your veterinarian will most likely be able to palpate or feel the accumulation of fecal material in his or her colon.
A variety of diagnostic tests may be performed, including abdominal and pelvic radiographs (X-rays) to look for pelvic injuries, colonic strictures (a narrowing of the exit passage caused by a previous problem), and tumors, as well as bloodwork and urine testing to look for underlying disease conditions that can contribute to constipation and diarrhea.
For the diagnosis of this illness, radiographs are also the most commonly used test.
How can constipation and megacolon be treated?
The treatment for constipation differs based on the underlying reason. An blockage such as a colonic tumor may necessitate the need for surgical intervention. Veterinary enemas and hand extraction of feces may be administered to a cat suffering from constipation in the first stages of the condition. The removal of feces from the colon is frequently accompanied by the administration of an anesthetic or sedative. Usually, intravenous fluid treatment is necessary to rectify fluid imbalances and dehydration that are contributing to the constipation’s progression.
- There are a variety of medications available to soften feces and encourage regular bowel motions in people with IBS.
- The more severely afflicted individuals may require medications that encourage the contraction of the colon to relieve their symptoms.
- Cats should defecate at least once every other day, if not more frequently.
- Make no modifications to your cat’s treatment routine without first discussing with your veterinarian beforehand.
- Regular grooming of longhaired cats may help to prevent hair ingestion, and “hairball treatments” or “hairball diets” may help to reduce the chance of hairballs causing constipation in cats with long hair.
When might surgery be necessary?
Surgical intervention may be advised in the event of the development of megacolon or if the constipation is severe and medication therapy has proven fruitless. Surgery is used to treat colon cancer. A partial or subtotal colectomy is a technique that removes a piece of the colon that has been damaged by the cancer. Following this procedure, the majority of cats perform exceptionally well with minor adverse effects.
What is the long-term outlook for a cat with this problem?
According to the origin of the constipation, the long-term outlook varies; nevertheless, most cats may be effectively controlled without surgery and return to their usual, healthy lifestyles. Fortunately, the prognosis for cats that require surgery to treat megacolon is favorable.
It is a common condition among domestic cats to suffer from constipation, which is described as the infrequent or difficult emission of hard, dry fecal matter. It is critical to treat it quite actively in order to avoid development of the disease. Constipation in cats can be caused by a variety of factors, including ingestion of indigestible material (such as fur), obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract by foreign bodies, tumors, or strictures (narrowings), electrolyte disturbances, neuromuscular disease, and the side effects of various medications.
Constipation in cats is treated by ensuring that the cat is properly hydrated, eliminating any causative agents where possible, administering medical management such as laxatives, enemas, and drugs that increase intestinal motility, modifying the cat’s diet, and, in severe/unresponsive cases in which the colon becomes distended and unable to function properly (megacolon), surgical removal of affected portions of the colon.
- When it comes to laxatives, they function largely by either increasing the amount of water in the stool or lubricating the stool to let it pass easier.
- Enemas can be administered at home to obedient cats (after receiving sufficient instruction from a veterinarian), but certain cats may require anesthesia and veterinary help throughout the enema delivery process.
- To enhance intestinal motility, dietary modification typically entails the inclusion of either soluble or insoluble fiber (or both) into the diet.
- cellulose) acts by increasing the weight of the stool, which causes the colon to be stretched and colonic contraction to be stimulated.
- During the fermentation process, insoluble fiber (such as canned pumpkin or psyllium) is produced in the colon, which results in the formation of short chain fatty acids, which are thought to directly stimulate the contraction of colonic smooth muscle.
- Additionally, excessive soluble fiber might have a detrimental impact on your ability to absorb nutrients from your food.
- Cases of constipation that are severe and non-responsive may lead to megacolon and obstipation (a condition characterized by permanent loss of function of affected colon).
This type of surgical excision of the afflicted parts of the colon may be required in order to prevent germs from being translocated from the GI tract to the bloodstream, which can be life-threatening in some situations. The most recent modification was in 2021.
What To Do if Your Cat is Constipated
Constipation is a discomfiting ailment that can afflict people, cats, and other animals of all species. When their cats are clearly agitated or unwell, cat owners may not understand that something is wrong with them until they become evident to others. By understanding how to diagnose and manage constipation in your cat, you may assist in providing your cat with fast relief from constipation or possibly preventing it from occurring in the future.
What is Cat Constipation?
It is a medical ailment in which a cat is unable to effectively expel faeces from the intestinal tract. It can result in a buildup of feces in the colon, which can cause the gastrointestinal tract to slow down and become uncomfortable. Constipation in cats can be either acute (occurring all at once) or chronic (recurring over time) (ongoing). Constipation that is chronic may come and go over time. If you suspect that your cat is constipated, it is critical that you get veterinarian assistance.
Signs of Constipation in Cats
- Frequent visits to the litter box without any stool output
- Straining to defecate
- Small, hard, dry feces (which may contain some blood streaks)
- External defects (stools are often still hard and dry when they leave the litter box). Diarrhea (as a result of liquid stool flowing around hard stool that has been lodged in the colon)
- Excessive salivation (which is usually caused by nausea)
- Appetite suppression
- Abdomen that has become distended Discomfort in the abdomen
- Voice, especially when attempting to defecate
- Vocalization Weight loss (which is more common with chronic or long-term constipation)
- Lethargy or sadness
- And other symptoms.
If you observe any of these or other indicators of sickness in your cat, you should seek guidance from your veterinarian immediately.
Causes of Cat Constipation
Constipation in cats can be caused by a number of different factors. Cat constipation may be caused or exacerbated by one or more of the factors listed below.
- Constipation can be caused by a buildup of hair around the anus, which prevents the stool from exiting. If you find that your cat is constipated, here is the first place you should seek for a solution. It’s possible that you’ll be able to remove the mat yourself. If everything else fails, a veterinary specialist or a cat groomer can assist you. Cats’ feces are affected by their nutrition, therefore a poor diet may result in constipation. Constipation can occur as a result of dehydration, which impairs the capacity of the intestines and colon to transfer waste through the gastrointestinal system. Obesity is a well-documented risk factor for constipation in cats, particularly in those that live a sedentary lifestyle. Due to the fact that physical activity encourages bowel motility, and many overweight cats do not receive enough exercise, this is the case. Constipation in cats with chronic renal disease may occur as a result of the dehydration that is typical in cats suffering from this illness. Obstructions in the gastrointestinal tract might prevent a cat from passing feces appropriately. For example, swallowing an object that is not intended for consumption, or even excessive hair when grooming, might result in vomiting. Megacolon is a condition in which the colon is unable to move feces in the same manner as it does in a healthy cat. It is believed that this ailment has an effect on the muscles of the cat’s digestive tract. The actual etiology of megacolon in cats is still unknown
- However, it is believed to be related to stress. Neurological diseases or trauma may cause nerves and/or muscles that control bowel movements to be damaged. Cats may have temporary constipation as a result of some medications. A cat’s refusal to use the litter box may cause him to keep feces until it gets too impacted to pass. This might be connected to behavioral concerns (fear, anxiety), or it could be caused by a painful disease such as arthritis, which makes it difficult to get into a comfortable posture to defecate.
Treatment of Cat Constipation
However, regardless of the underlying reason, the ultimate objective is to remove the backed-up feces, provide comfort to the cat, and avoid recurrence of the problem. When you take your cat to the veterinarian for suspected constipation, the veterinarian will ask you questions about your cat’s medical history and do a physical examination on your cat. Even though they may be able to feel the feces through their abdomens when they are palpated, obese cats may have a more difficult time doing this task.
- In certain cases, radiographs might identify underlying reasons of constipation, such as a megacolon or blockage in the colon.
- Fluids can be injected beneath the skin and slowly absorbed into the body, ensuring that your cat is completely hydrated.
- The use of a laxative or a stool softener to aid your cat’s defecation may be recommended by your veterinarian in mild to moderate cases of cat constipation.
- If radiographs reveal a substantial volume of feces in the colon, your veterinarian may suggest an enema to relieve the obstruction.
- The solution loosens the blocked feces and lubricates the colon, allowing the stool to pass more readily through the system and out the other end.
- Obstipation, a severe form of constipation, may be identified in your cat if he or she has a lot of feces in their system.
Most of the time, this is only essential in the most severe of circumstances. Your veterinarian may advise you to make dietary changes or use supplements to avoid recurrence of constipation. This is particularly important if your cat has been suffering from persistent constipation.
How to Prevent Constipation in Cats
There are a few things you can do to assist your cat avoid constipation. Take, for example, the fundamentals of cat care. Consume a diet that is comprehensive and well-balanced for your cat. Make sure your cat has access to fresh water at all times to keep him healthy. Feeding wet food may absolutely aid in the maintenance of hydration, and it is typically advised over dry food as the better option for all cats, regardless of age. In addition, keep your cat’s weight under control and ensure that they receive enough of activity every day.
- If your cat is vomiting or appears to be in great discomfort or sluggish, you should take him to the vet as soon as possible.
- Whether your cat suffers from chronic renal illness or another ailment that may cause constipation, it’s critical to ensure that the issue is properly treated and controlled.
- Follow your veterinarian’s treatment recommendations and contact your veterinarian at the first indication of difficulty.
- Always consult your veterinarian for health-related inquiries, since they have evaluated your pet and are familiar with the pet’s medical history, and they can provide the most appropriate suggestions for your pet.
Cat Can’t Poo? Here’s What to Do
For constipated cats, there are a handful of safe home treatments you may try. However, before doing any of them, speak with your veterinarian first. As humans, we can all relate to how painful constipation can be, so it’s not difficult to picture how your cat may be feeling if he’s experiencing the same problem. Cat constipation, like human constipation, may be an occasional irritation for your feline companion, but it may also be a symptom of a more serious health concern. For the time being, don’t start whipping out the butter, olive oil, or any other crowdsourcing cat constipation cures.
Anthony, DVM, has been practicing feline-exclusive care for more than 20 years.
What Causes Constipation in Cats?
Although veterinarians aren’t always sure what causes constipation in cats, Anthony says the condition is more common in cats with certain conditions, such as kidney disease. “Kidney disease frequently results in body water loss and overall dehydration, which can manifest as constipation,” Anthony says. “Intestinal illness can affect motility, decreasing the transit of digested contents and resulting in a drier stool,” according to the National Institutes of Health. Your kitten may also be experiencing physical discomfort that prevents him from placing himself properly in the litter box, causing him to avoid using the box completely.
Cats may also have impacted anal glands, which can be painful. As Anthony explains, “If these scent glands get swollen, they might produce a mechanical barrier to the departure of feces, as well as pain while defecating.” Illustration of a cat contemplating the use of a poo emoji
Signs Your Cat Is Constipated
Cats are notoriously secretive when it comes to taking care of their business (and we take the same ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude to the entire thing ourselves!) However, in order to recognize the indications of cat constipation, you must first become familiar with his feces. “An incorrect belief exists that, in constipated cats, the stool within is greater in diameter than regular stool. This is not the case. While this is occasionally the case, sometimes the feces produced by constipated cats is extremely tiny “”It’s Anthony,” he adds.
The longer the feces remains in the colon, the more water is drawn out of the body.” This produces a painful cycle: the colon drains water (which is its duty), the poo becomes harder and drier, and cat is unable to transfer it through the system.
Another characteristic is that it is frequently quite dark brown, however nutrition may affect the color.
In the event that your cat appears sluggish or meows in discomfort when you pick him up or try to touch him, it’s important to investigate his potty habits (his pride will soon recover!).
- While he is using the litter box, put him under pressure. In addition, he is not passing a substantial volume of feces (which is generally at least a couple inches in length)
- Defecation in places other than the bathroom
- He vomits after attempting to pass gas
Any of these signs and symptoms should prompt you to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately soon. In addition, some pet parents bring in their cats who are truly constipated because they are stopping themselves from urinating, according to Anthony. If you assume constipation based on your poo examination but only notice a few drops of urine, Anthony says this is typically a secondary outcome of the cat exerting all of his abdominal muscles to push and the bladder being relatively empty, but a vet will be able to confirm this.
Best Way to Help a Constipated Cat Poop Again
Take him to the veterinarian. That’s it! It’s simple! According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, a veterinarian will examine your cat’s hydration levels, check his overall health, and rule out any other probable clinical causes of his dehydration. In addition to this, if the problem is more serious, the vet team will take quick action to alleviate the discomfort of your cat’s constipation. “Constipated cats may require an enema at the veterinarian’s office in order to defecate. This is a liquid that softens and lubricates the passage of excrement, and it is used in the toilet “”It’s Anthony,” he adds.
Obstipation is a medical condition that necessitates fecal extraction by a clinician while under sedation or anesthesia.” You shouldn’t have to palpate a cat in order to get constipation relief, either.
(Whew!) There are several home cures for cat constipation that you may research on the internet, and your veterinarian will likely prescribe the safest and most effective solutions for you.
“No nutritional adjustments should be undertaken prior to consulting with a veterinarian, however, because dietary suggestions should be made with the cat’s overall health in mind,” says the veterinarian.
If you follow a high-fiber diet, you may frequently avoid constipation in the long run. Consult your veterinarian for assistance in developing a more balanced and um, digestible cuisine.
Cat Constipation Symptoms, Home Remedies, Causes, and Treatments on MedicineNet
When it comes to a pet’s digestive tract, constipation (difficult or infrequent bowel motions) is one of the most prevalent health concerns that can develop. A healthy bowel movement in a cat’s day is normally at least one every day. However, if your cat is passing dry, hard stools, straining when trying to defecate, or making failed trips to the litter box, you should consult your veterinarian immediately. These signs and symptoms may be indicative of a more serious underlying health condition.
How Can I Tell if My Cat Is Constipated
If your cat exhibits any of the symptoms listed below, you should seek medical attention immediately. These indicators might potentially be signals of a urinary issue, therefore it’s critical that you consult with your veterinarian as soon as as to discover the cause:
- When trying to eliminate, you may find yourself straining or screaming out in agony. Small, dry, firm feces that may be mucous- or blood-stained are typical. Numerous excursions to the litter box that are not fruitful
- Loss of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, and vomiting are all possible symptoms. Manifestations of abdominal pain
- A lack of grooming
What Causes Cats to Become Constipated
There are a variety of reasons why your cat may be having difficulty eliminating:
- Anal sacs that are blocked or abscessed are caused by a low-fiber diet, dehydration, hairballs, and excessive grooming. Prostate gland that has grown in size
- On the buttocks, there is tangled hair
- Excessive ingestion of foreign things such as strings of fabric, bones, and other materials
- Medication-induced adverse reaction Tumor or other blockage of the intestines Obesity
- Obesity-related disorder
- Colon shape or motility that is not usual
How Can I Treat My Cat’s Constipation?
A variety of therapies may be recommended by your veterinarian, depending on what is causing your cat’s constipation. Some of them include:
- An enema is a stool softener that is used to relieve constipation (administered by a professional, not at home, please). Remember that cats are not fond of these treatments, and some over-the-counter enemas include ingredients that can be dangerous to cats if administered to them. This is a technique that should be performed by your veterinarian. The administration of medication to raise the contractile strength of the large intestine
- Constipation is treated through manual evacuation of the bowels. An operation to remove a blockage from the bowels
- Diet rich in fiber, as advised by a veterinarian Including canned pumpkin, bran cereal, or a supplement such as Metamucil in your cat’s food will help to increase fiber intake. Water consumption should be increased, as should physical activity.
Which Cats Are Susceptible to Constipation?
Pets that are elderly frequently experience infrequent or difficult bowel motions. Constipation, on the other hand, can develop in any cat who does not consume enough fiber, does not drink enough water, does not exercise enough, or who suffers from one or more of the reasons of constipation.
Can Constipation Hint at Larger Health Problems?
Yes. Constipation should always be investigated, as it can be a symptom of diabetes, hyperthyroidism, an obstruction of the rectum or a hernia.
How Can I Prevent My Cat from Becoming Constipated?
Feed your cat a nutritious, high-fiber food with few treats, and make sure she has access to clean, fresh water at all times. Also, make sure she gets plenty of activity. Regular brushing of your cat’s coat will reduce the likelihood of hairballs forming, which can cause constipation.
When Animal (Allergies) Attack: Symptoms and Treatment for Pet AllergySee also: Slideshow
What Can Happen if Constipation Goes Untreated?
If your cat’s constipation is not improved, she may develop obstipation, which is defined as the inability to empty her colon on her own. During this condition, the colon is overburdened with an uncomfortably large number of excrement, resulting in futile straining, tiredness, appetite loss, and, in severe cases, nausea and vomiting. This can result in the enlargement of your cat’s colon as well as a decrease in the motility of the colon. Content from the ASPCA.org website that is related. Free Pet Safety Pack from the ASPCA’s Virtual Pet Behaviorist in the Pet Care Section References SOURCE: ASPCA (American Society of Preventative Medicine).
Cat Constipation: Signs, Causes & Treatment
As a cat owner, you’re no doubt eager to discover out what’s causing your cat’s constipation and how you may alleviate the situation for your cherished feline companion. Throughout this article, we’ll cover all you need to know about cat constipation, from the early signs to veterinary cat constipation therapy and strategies to prevent the discomfort so that your cat may go back to being their regular joyful selves.
What is constipation in cats?
Cat constipation occurs when there is an abnormal buildup of feces in the colon, resulting in difficult bowel motions for the animal. A typical symptom is either a decreased capacity to pass feces or the complete lack of them altogether, depending on how severe it is.
Feces linger in the colon, and because the colon’s primary function is to absorb water, the stools that remain in this area become extremely hard and dry, making it even more difficult for your cat to pass them.
Cat constipation symptoms
Cat constipation is a condition in which a cat does not generate faeces for longer than 24 hours and is thus considered to be present. Owners, on the other hand, may not always be aware of their cat’s bathroom habits, as some felines are known to prefer to go to the bathroom outside as well. As a result, you may not notice the irregularity of their bathroom habits at first glance. These are some of the additional signs and symptoms of cat constipation that you should be aware of:
- Tense abdominal muscles
- Hard, dry, and tiny stools Some owners mistakenly believe they are having difficulties peeing because of the straining. Occasionally experiencing a lack of appetite. a hunched-over position
All bunged up: Unclogging the constipated cat
Client handout has been revised and updated. With Dr. Margie Scherk’s assistance, we were able to update a client handout on feline constipation. You can get it right here. Constipated cats are inconvenient because they strain in the litter box, maybe even screaming out, or they leave undesirable hard pellets all over the house and yard. Congestion can also impair a cat’s ability to eat and can even result in vomiting in some cases. Traditional therapies to this difficult condition include the use of enemas, laxatives to soften the stool or enhance contractions, dietary fiber, and promotetility drugs, among other things.
- How about the long-term impacts of constipation?
- THE REASONS FOR CONSTITUTION Constipation is a clinical symptom that is not pathognomonic for any specific underlying disease or condition.
- In cats, water makes about 65 to 75 percent of their bodies depending on their age and percent body fat content.
- When cells become dehydrated, the body responds by taking efforts to restore the fluid balance.
- This means that medical therapy may not be the most effective first-line treatment option in some cases.
- Examining the patient’s medical history Considering the plethora of probable causes as well as concurrent disorders, it is critical to have an accurate history.
Not only is it important to inquire about the cat’s current diet (type, frequency, and appetite), but it is also important to inquire about whether the patient may be dehydrated (due to decreased intake or increased water loss), may be suffering from orthopedic pain, or may be reluctant to use the litter box due to social or toileting issues (fear, unpleasant box).
- Minor constipation does not require extensive investigation or treatment, but determining the reason is important in order to decrease the likelihood of it progressing to a more serious situation.
- 1Physical examination is required.
- It is possible to misjudge skin elasticity in elderly patients (as well as in young kittens) due of age-related changes in body water distribution, elastin content, and collagen content.
- Testing for diagnostic purposes If a cat is suffering its first bout of simple constipation, additional testing may not be required, and therapeutic rehydration will most likely be sufficient.
- The completion of a complete blood count (CBC), a serum chemical profile, a measurement of total thyroxine (T4) concentration, and a urinalysis should be conducted in order to assess general metabolic state and to get more information about the degree of dehydration.
- In order to establish that the hard mass is intraluminal and to rule out any extraluminal concerns such as obstructive masses, orthopedic or skeletal abnormalities, radiographs are necessary.
- It is possible to see evidence of a pelvic fracture or other fractures that are not properly positioned.
- A digital rectal examination should be performed on all cats that have recurring constipation.
- Perineal herniation can occur as a result of chronic tenesmus.
- In order to biopsy mural or intraluminal masses, a colonoscopy may be necessary.
If your cat is exhibiting signs of neurologic disease (such as paresthesias, hyporeflexia, urinary retention, or regurgitation), he or she should undergo a thorough neurologic examination to rule out conditions such as sacrocaudal dysgenesis (found in the Manx breed), spinal neoplasia, or dysautonomia.
- Rehydration is the first step.
- The use of intravenous fluids for rehydration is possible, however subcutaneous fluid administration is usually sufficient.
- If the total protein concentration is unknown, the packed cell volume in combination with the total protein concentration may be of assistance.
- It would be preferable to use a replacement solution such as Normosol-R (Hospira) or Plasma-Lyte 148 (Baxter) if the intravenous route is taken.
- Approximately 60 mL per kilogram of normal, hydrated weight per day is necessary for maintaining hydration (see the sidebar “Case example: Fluid volume for deficit repair and hydration maintenance”).
- To begin nutritional treatment, prokinetic agents, and laxatives, wait until the patient has been rehydrated before starting them.
3 The administration of small amounts of warm water (or saline solution), mixed with 5 ml of mineral oil, vegetable glycerin, polyethylene glycol (PEG or PEG 3350), lactulose, or docusate sodium, several times throughout the course of a 24-hour period is both safer and more effective than administering the entire volume in one go.
- It is also possible to utilize pediatric rectal suppositories (e.g.bisacodyl, docusate sodium).
- Insoluble fibers increase the volume of the feces, causing distention and contraction of the reflex muscles.
- Different fiber sources have varying ratios of soluble to insoluble fibers in them.
- This relates to the capacity of intestinal bacteria to create short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and gas as a result of the fiber they consume.
- SCFAs (short-chain fatty acids) are essential as an energy source for colonocytes and are essential for motility.
- Individualization is vital in cats, as it is in other aspects of life.
- Step 4: The administration of laxatives Cathartics are substances that stimulate the movement of the colon.
True laxatives work through a different method.
mineral oil, hairball remedies) reduces water absorption from the colon into the body; the use of emollient laxatives (e.g.
cellulose or poorly digestible polysaccharides such as cereal grain) increases Step 5: Administration of a fertility-promoting medication Consider using fertility medicines only after other treatments have been tried and proven to be ineffective.
8 Drugs that impact serotonin 5-HT4 receptors (e.g., cisapride, mosapride, prucalopride, tegaserod) have been employed to achieve the desired result in this study.
11 Nizatidine and ranitidine have been shown in experiments to suppress anticholinesterase activity, working in a synergistic manner with cisapride.
This group includes medications that cause dehydration, such as diuretics, as well as medications that impair intestinal motility, such as barium, opioids, tricyclic antidepressants, and some H1-antihistamines, among others.
A fundamental need of the environment is the availability of diverse yet distinct resources.
By establishing various places that are geographically apart from one another, the likelihood of intercat violence or threat (whether perceived or genuine) from other individuals is reduced.
Large (at least 1.5 times the length of the cat) and extremely clean litter boxes are required for indoor cats.
In addition, water stations must be kept clean and refreshed on a regular basis.
14 Having wet food increases water intake significantly, which helps to maintain a healthy hydration status.
Colectomy should only be considered as a “last option” in the case of a cat with a megacolon that has been unresponsive to medicinal care and has been suffering from constipation for more than six months.
It is possible that a simple pelvic osteotomy will be sufficient to avoid megacolon in cats if the trauma happened less than six months before.
SUMMARY Constipation should be treated and managed as soon as possible in order to avoid the development of irreparable complications.
It is important not to disregard the behavioral and environmental factors.
It is critical to follow up on a regular basis.
CatsINK is run by Margie Scherk, DVM, DABVP (feline practice).
Washabau and A.H.
Constipation, obstipation, and a megacolon are all symptoms of IBS.
The 2013 AAHA/AAFP fluid treatment guidelines for dogs and cats were published by Davis H, Jensen T, Johnson A, and colleagues.
J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 2013;49(3):149-159.
Constipation, obstruction, and megacolon: a review of the literature.
J Anim Sci, vol.
8, 1995, pp.
J Anim Sci, vol.
4, 1995, pp.
7.Freiche, V., Houston, D., Weese, H., and colleagues An uncontrolled research was conducted to determine the effect of a psyllium-enriched extruded dry meal on the consistency of faeces excretion in cats suffering from constipation.
Prokinetic agents will play an important role in the future of gastroenterology.
Colonic motility in fasting dogs was examined in relation to the enterokinetic prucalopride (R093877).
Washabau RJ, et al., The large intestine.
Washabau and M.J.
Canine and feline gastroenterology is a branch of veterinary medicine.
Yoneta, T., Ueki S., Seiki M., Ueki S., et al.
Journal of Feline Medical Surgery, Volume 15, Number 3, Pages 219-230, 2013.
14.Kirschvink, N., Lhoest, E., Leemans, J., and colleagues In cats, water intake is influenced by the frequency of feeding and the amount of energy provided, according to the results of the study. ESVCN’s 9th Congress was held in 2005.
Cat Constipation: Signs, Causes & Treatment
Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Specialist Toxicology, Writer|+ articles Dr. Lee, DACVECC, DABT is a board-certified veterinary expert in emergency care (DACVECC) and toxicology (DABT) who practices in the United States (DABT). Help! My cat is suffering from constipation. My cat hasn’t defecated in three days! Understanding your cat’s litter box habits may not be at the top of your “to do” list right now. However, it is something that you should do. Believe it or not, you’ll want to be “up to speed” on your cat’s bowel motions and digestive tract in order to provide the best care possible.
It is customary for normally healthy cats to use the litter box 2-4 times each day, consisting of one poop and 2-3 normal-sized urinations (which are generally the size of a woman’s clenched fist).
In the event that your cat feces every other day, I’m concerned about obstipation (which is defined as severe or full constipation, when no poop comes out at all!).
So, what are clinical signs that my cat is constipated?
- Having to struggle to urinate or defecate in the litter box
- Having bowl movement accidents outside of the litter box
- Having solid, dry, tiny fecal balls in or near the litter box When defecating in the litter box, it takes longer, and it requires many trips to the litter box
- A decrease in the volume of feces in the litter box or a complete absence of excrement in the litter box for many days
- While defecating, you may find yourself crying out in anguish. Having fecal matter adhered to the fur on the rear end of the animal
- More meowing in the vicinity of the litter box
- A reduction in appetite Weight loss
- And nausea and vomiting
Now, keep in mind that normally healthy cats do not become constipated on a regular basis. As a veterinarian, I find feline constipation in the following situations more frequently:
- Older cats (because they are more prone to have underlying health issues)
- Cats in their mid-to-late twenties. obese cats (who are unable to brush their back end or perineal area)
- Cats who are overweight Cats with osteoarthritis who may experience discomfort while jumping into the litter box (which may necessitate the use of pain medication, a ramp, and lower-walled litter boxes)
- Cats who have underlying medical conditions
- Cats that are overweight.
What are the common causes of constipation in cats?
- If your cat has a metabolic disorder that causes him or her to lose too much water (e.g., chronic renal disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, etc.), he or she will get dehydrated, which is why water consumption becomes increasingly crucial as your cat gets older. Feline idiopathic megacolon (in which the smooth muscle of the colon is not functioning properly)
- Pelvis/bone or nerve issues (for example, if your cat was injured as a result of a trauma such as a pelvic fracture when he was younger) or strictures in the region
- Cancer, Dietary Issues, and Other Concerns Arthritis-related discomfort
- Causes that are inherited (which are more prevalent in the Manx cat)
- The presence of foreign bodies (for example, anything lodged in the intestines, ranging from huge hairballs to misplaced toys)
How does my cat get diagnosed?
Constipation is diagnosed by your veterinarian based on a variety of factors, including a thorough history (such as what type of food you are feeding your cat, where the cat’s water comes from, and so on), physical examination findings (such as palpating a large amount of feces in the colon, feeling the size of the kidneys, and so on), and a medical work up. To determine the potential reason of constipation in your cat, a medical work-up will be performed, which will include the following procedures:
- Minimum blood tests to examine kidney and liver function, salt balance, protein level, and blood sugar levels
- A complete blood count is performed to determine the number of white and red blood cells in the body. A thyroid function test (if your cat is over the age of 8-9 years)
- A urine test is necessary to determine how effectively the kidneys are functioning (the more concentrated and yellow the urine, the better the kidneys are operating). In order to determine the size of the pelvic hole and whether there is any evident malignancy or physical explanation for the inability to defecate, X-rays will be taken
- An abdominal ultrasound is performed in situations of recurrent constipation to aid in the diagnosis of malignancy.
Getting that stopped up excrement out of your cat’s system is the most critical component of keeping your cat comfortable and treating their constipation once this veterinarian diagnostic workup is completed. Please keep in mind that some cats may require long-term medication or food adjustments in order to avoid chronic constipation from occurring again. Because we want to avoid megacolon, which occurs when the colon gets persistently dilated and is difficult to cure on a long-term basis, it is critical to do this.
How do you treat my cat’s constipation?
In order to effectively treat constipation in cats over the long term, it is necessary to switch to a high fiber diet in the form of canned food (which contains more water). The ideal new diet would have a significant amount of soluble fiber, which is vital for increasing the amount of water in the stool, as well as be highly digestible and fermentable. When it comes to cat constipation, canned food is my preferred option; unfortunately, not all cats will consume canned food! If your cat primarily consumes dry food, you should be aware that there are prescription dry cat meals that are high in fiber.
It’s important to remember that when it comes to cats, food modifications should be implemented gradually to give them plenty time to adjust. Some cats will not consume food that contains psyllium products (e.g., MetamucilTM), thus it is best to sprinkle psyllium products on top of their diet.
2. Fluid therapy
This is a vital method of helping to hydrate your cat and return some moisture to the feces, whether it is administered directly into the vein (intravenous or “IV”) or administered under the skin (subcutaneous or “SQ”). The same reason it is so crucial for your cat’s water intake to be increased – by giving clean, fresh water at all times!
3. Stool softeners
Stool softeners for cats are available in a variety of formulations. These medications can be obtained over-the-counter (MiralaxTM) or by prescription (e.g., lactulose). In the event of a question, please consult with a veterinarian before taking these products since they may induce additional negative effects (like increased potassium levels or diarrhea).
- MiralaxTM (polyethylene glycol 3350): This product can be purchased over-the-counter and combined with a tiny amount of canned cat food to give to your cat. Before beginning, consult with your veterinarian, but I often administer 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon every 12-24 hours orally as needed to cure feline constipation. This medication aids in the removal of excess water from the colon, but it might induce alterations in the body’s sodium balance, so it must be used with caution. Lactulose (a sticky, sweet veterinary prescription liquid drug used to loosen the stool) is a diuretic used to loosen the stool. This is a drug that you must obtain from your veterinarian, and it is a stool softener/laxative combination treatment. When I first start using it, I take it at 1/2 – 3/4 of a teaspoon (2.5 – 3.75 mL) orally every 6-8-12 hours until the stool becomes looser. Use on a constant basis for the following 3-5 days, and then only when necessary to soften the stool. Basically, it’s a device that draws water into the gastrointestinal tract. Unfortunately, it’s really sticky and difficult to persuade cats to eat it without causing them discomfort.
Warm water enemas administered by your veterinarian will aid in the loosening of bowel motions in constipated cats, allowing your cat to excrete more easily. A temporary feeding tube (e.g., nasogastric tube) is sometimes placed into the stomach to allow polyethylene glycol 3350 to be passed in over an 8-12-hour period, which aids with defecation and helps the patient. Please be aware that you should never administer enemas at home without first consulting your veterinarian or the American Society of Animal Poison Control.
These are medications that aid in the contraction of the gastrointestinal system. These are prescription drugs from your veterinarian, such as cisapride (which is normally only accessible to veterinary professionals or compounding pharmacies), metoclopramide, and ranitidine (which is only available to veterinarians or compounding pharmacies). Cisapride is considered to be the most effective medication.
Occasionally, in extreme situations that do not respond to medication, your cat may need to be sedated in order to physically remove the feces from the colon. This is the one that no one likes.
When medicinal treatment for a megacolon fails, surgery for a colectomy may be considered, although it is typically not suggested unless it is a “last resort” technique in the most severe instances.
8. Lastly, euthanasia
It goes without saying that we don’t want to take this unless the constipation is very bad. However, some cases can be so severe and difficult to treat that they become a constant source of frustration. Another reason I’m a strong supporter of Pumpkin Pet Care is to ensure that expenses do not play a part in the care of our furry family members.
It goes without saying that we don’t want to take this unless the constipation is really uncomfortable. The severity and difficulty of some situations might, however, make it a continuous battle to manage them. Another reason I’m a strong supporter of Pumpkin Pet Care is to ensure that expenses do not play a part in the care of our furry companions.