Numerous things can cause a feline to end up being constipated: a digestive blockage, stress, insufficient workout, inadequate water, arthritis, a growth, or something else completely. Symptoms include straining to defecate, tiny or difficult feces, and sometimes not defecating for days. A mild case of constipation can be treated by including fiber to the feline’s diet or by providing him a laxative. Severe cases can need a procedure to remove the affected feces. And in extreme situations, if the colon’s nerves have actually been harmed by extended impaction, surgery may be recommended to get rid of the broken area of colon.
Constipation may sound like a harmless adequate problem, however for some cats constipation can cause disease procedures that can even be life ending.
Constipation is a condition in which felines pass feces less often or in smaller sized quantities than regular. Feces are frequently difficult and dry, which might cause cats to strain or have problem passing feces. While constipation might happen regularly, obstipation is a more relentless and severe form of constipation, in which defecation is difficult or nearly impossible.
Main Causes of Constipation in Cats
The reason for constipation and obstipation (the severe, end-stage kind of this disease procedure) is believed to be multifactorial. A few of the prospective causes include:
- Blockages from hairballs or other foreign products
- Unwillingness to use the litterbox due to the fact that of stress, a change in litter, a full/dirty box, or painful urination
- Lack of workout
- Reduced water intake
- Dehydration, typically caused by kidney disease
- Nerve damage
- Arthritis, making it painful to squat
- Some drugs, including anesthetics
In some felines, a condition called megacolon contributes to constipation and obstipation. Megacolon is characterized by a decreased capability of the colon to move fecal material through in the regular method. Fecal product collects in the colon, leading to constipation. Researchers think that megacolon is brought on by an issue with contraction of the muscles in the colon. It has also been suggested that severe extended retention of feces (similar to constipation or obstipation) can extend and damage the muscles of the colon, triggering megacolon to establish. Nevertheless, the reason for megacolon is undetermined for the most parts.
Constipation in Cats: Signs & Symptoms
Felines with constipation or obstipation may exhibit the following signs:
- Infrequent or no defecation
- Straining to defecate
- Difficult, dry feces
- Defecating outside the litterbox
- Small quantities of feces
- Percentage of liquid stool with mucus or blood
- Lack of cravings
Male cats with a blocked urinary tract might likewise strain in the litterbox. Owners might mistake this for constipation, which is an issue considering that a blocked urinary tract is a medical emergency situation. If your feline is straining in the litterbox and there is no evidence of urine or just a percentage of urine, contact your veterinarian instantly!
Vets may be able to palpate (feel) the abdominal area to find firm feces in the intestines. In overweight cats, nevertheless, abdominal fat can restrict a vet’s ability to feel fecal product in the intestines. In these cases, a radiograph (X-ray) might be essential to examine the problem. When it comes to obstipation or megacolon, the colon will be greatly stretched beyond its normal size.
Sometimes, an endoscopic test might be required. Anesthesia is needed for this procedure, which involves placing a tube consisting of a little cam into the rectum. This enables the veterinarian to look inside the anus and colon for irregularities such as constricting of the colon or tumors that may prevent feces from passing. A biopsy of the tissue might also help recognize other disease processes that are causing/contributing to this procedure.
Vets will also suggest blood work to search for underlying diseases that might cause dehydration resulting in constipation.
All breeds of cats are susceptible to developing constipation.
Treatment differs depending upon the degree of constipation and the amount of pain an animal is experiencing. If constipation is mild, vets might supplement a cat’s diet with fiber, such as canned pumpkin, bran, or psyllium. Other medications, such as stool softeners, laxatives, and motility modifiers, may help, as well.
If an underlying condition, such as kidney disease, might be causing dehydration and constipation, dealing with the issue and rehydrating the cat with fluid therapy can help.
For more severe kinds of constipation, enemas may be needed. Anesthesia for manual removal of feces might be advised in severe cases.
In cases of megacolon, the size of the colon can sometimes be extended so far that the muscles of the digestion tract are completely damaged. When this occurs, surgical elimination of the affected portions of the colon may be required. Postoperative complications can include chronic diarrhea, but this procedure is frequently considered a lifesaver.
Due to the fact that dehydration is often involved in constipation, making certain cats have adequate access to clean water is essential. Similarly, if a feline has kidney disease or another illness that inclines to dehydration, extra fluid therapy might be recommended. Cats with arthritis may gain from joint supplements or pain medication, and cats with a history of constipation may benefit long term from a special diet or supplement that provides additional fiber.
Obstipation and megacolon might be prevented in many cases by extremely assiduous observation of the cat’s elimination habits and medical management of the disease process throughout.