Other Things That Can Help With Diarrhea
In addition to rest, fasting, and a bland diet, there are some other things you may find helpful in dealing with diarrhea issues at home.
Probiotics may be helpful when dealing with diarrhea. Since the digestive tract makes up about 60 to 80% of your pets immune system, keeping it healthy is important. Probiotics help support a healthy immune system by keeping the intestinal bacteria in good balance and aiding in digestion. You can try regular, unflavored, probiotic-rich yogurt , or you can pick up a probiotic like Purinas FortiFlora, Nutramaxs Proviable, VetriScience Fast Balance GI Paste, VetriScience Probiotic Everyday, Under the Weather Ready Balance Gel.
Cat Diarrhea Cat Constipation And Pooping Outside Of The Litter Box
How about pooping outside of the litter box? Cat diarrhea is a common cause of this behavior, so if your cat has an abnormally soft stool outside of the box, then what you really need to focus on is the diarrhea.
Conversely, constipation also can cause cats to defecate in inappropriate places. This appears to occur because cats grow weary of going back and forth to the litter box without success, and begin trying to eliminate the contents of their bowels wherever they may be. Constipated cats may posture and strain unproductively in or out of the box, and if they produce stool it may be hard and dry.
Constipation isnt just miserable. Its also potentially life-threatening, and I have encountered several unfortunate cats who died from the stress of trying to defecate while hopelessly constipated. Cats with urinary obstructions can also sometimes look constipated or pass feces outside of the box while they are straining to urinate, and urinary obstruction is urgently life-threatening. Some cats with masses or tumors in their rectums or near their anuses will defecate outside of the box often with signs of discomfort.
What If Home Treatment Doesn’t Work
When in doubt, when concerned, or when the diarrhea extends beyond a day or two, despite your best at-home efforts, your best bet is to have your cat and their poo evaluated by your veterinarian. No amount of internet searching and no number of trial and error home remedy attempts can compete with the comprehensive history taking, thorough physical examination, diagnostic testing, and the ability to prescribe safe and effective medications or supplements that only your veterinarian can offer.
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Diagnosis Of Diarrhea In Cats
Your veterinarian may conduct a variety of tests to determine why your cat is suffering from diarrhea. The most common test involves taking a stool sample from your cat. The stool is then sent to the laboratory to be tested for infections, parasites, and other common feline diarrhea causes.
If your vet suspects that your cat could suffer from an underlying condition, he or she may perform tests like:
The results of these tests will help your veterinarian diagnose the cause of your cat’s diarrhea and determine the best treatment for it.
Sudden Change Of Diet
A new diet should be introduced gradually. A sudden switch can cause diarrhea by upsetting the gut microbiome . This is particularly important when you bring a new kitten or cat home for the first time. The combination of a little stress and an abrupt change in diet will easily trigger diarrhea.
When rehoming a cat or kitten, always ensure you feed them what theyre already eating and if you wish to change over their food, wait a few weeks, then make the transition slowly over 5-7 days. Introduce tiny amounts of new food on day 1 and increase this amount while decreasing the other food over the remaining days. You can reduce stress levels by using a pheromone diffuser.
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Can You Prevent Cat Diarrhea
Yes, its possible to prevent cat diarrhea.
Avoid making abrupt diet changes or feeding your feline friend human foods to prevent cases of stomach upset. Be sure to keep underlying diseases — like hyperthyroidism, IBD, pancreatitis, and food allergies — under control with appropriate medications and/or diet, according to your vets instructions.
Diet Changes + Invest In High
Switching foods can be upsetting to your cat. When you find a food that agrees with your pet, its probably a good idea to stick with it. Buying whatevers on sale may save your budget, but it could create havoc in your cats gut. If you want to introduce a new food, do it a little at a time by mixing a small amount of the new food in with Kittys normal meal over a period of a week or more.
Always opt for high-quality food. It will save you not only money on preventable vet bills, but your cat will thank you for it.
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What Are Some Causes Of Diarrhea
Diarrhea is not a disease in itself but a clinical sign that may reflect one or more of many different problems. Most involve some degree of inflammation of one or more areas of the gastrointestinal tract. The GI tract is the continuous tube that moves food from mouth to anus. Infectious agents, such as bacteria, viruses, coccidia, and intestinal worms, or non-infectious irritants, such as chemical toxins or poisonous plants are some of the more common causes of inflammation. Food intolerances or allergies to specific ingredients of a diet can also be responsible for diarrhea.
Acute Versus Chronic Diarrhea In Cats
Acute diarrhea is quite a common occurrence in cats. It has a fairly sudden onset and lasts a week or less. The most frequently seen causes of acute diarrhea in cats include dietary intolerance, viral infections, and intestinal parasites. An abrupt diet change can easily give a kitty the runs. So can dairy products because, contrary to popular opinion, many cats are lactose intolerant. Because a cats emotions can easily translate into physical problems, a stressful event such as a change in your schedule or a move to a new home can trigger diarrhea.
Diarrhea is considered chronic if it persists for three weeks or longer despite treatment or repeatedly recurs over time. Chronic diarrhea can be associated with certain parasites, food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatic disorders, and systemic conditions such as hyperthyroidism.
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What To Give A Cat With Diarrhea
Treatment will depend on whats causing diarrhea.
In the past, veterinarians would recommend a period of fasting in order to rest the cats bowels. However, today we know that the intestines need nutrition to heal themselves, and withholding food is only recommended in case your pet is vomiting.
Dehydrated cats will be given subcutaneous or I.V. fluids. If the diarrhea is caused by parasites, your vet will prescribe a dewormer and other medications. If bacteria is present, the vet will prescribe antibiotics. In some cases, drugs may be given to decrease intestinal motility.
Never give your cat human anti-diarrheal medication, as many of them are toxic to cats.
Get To Know Your Cats Poop
To know whether or not your cats diarrhea is the sign of something more serious, its important to set the standard for what should be considered her normal litter box habits.
Normal cat feces is deep brown, moist enough that litter sticks to it, and doesn’t feel too hard or too squishy. The smell, according to cat veterinarians at the American Association of Feline Practitioners , “emits an odor, that while not pleasant, should not drive you from the room.” While each cat is different, typically cats have bowel movements at least every 24 to 36 hours, sometimes twice a day. You know what’s normal and abnormal for your cat as you scoop the litter box at least once a day and see what’s there.
Diarrhea happens when feces moves faster than normal through your cat’s intestines. Water and nutrients aren’t absorbed , so the final result can be a watery mess.
This wet stool may be a pile with soft-serve ice cream consistency or a pool of liquid, or somewhere in between. VCA Hospitals put together a helpful chart that illustrates the different types of cat poop, so you can get a visual understanding of the variations in consistencies. You may also see blood or mucus in your cats stool, and while the details are unappetizing, your cat is counting on you to notice.
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Final Thoughts: My Cat Has Diarrhea But Seems Fine
When your cat has diarrhea but seems fine, you need to do a bit of detective work. If youve just changed food, return to her old brand and then introduce the new food slowly.
Be aware that the younger and smaller your cat is the more dangerous a bout of diarrhea can be. Dehydration can seriously weaken and even kill young animals.
If your cat has diarrhea but seems fine, youre not out of the woods just yet. Watch for other symptoms like lethargy,vomiting, or fever to develop, or if diarrhea continues for more than a day or two in an adult cat, seek veterinary help.
The fact that you are aware of changes in Kittys routine will be extremely useful information for her vet if and when you need to take her there. Good job!
What Should I Do If My Dog Has Bloody Diarrhea
One clear indication that it’s time to contact your vet is if your dog has bloody diarrhea. There are two types of bloody stool to look out for when your dog is experiencing diarrhea
- Hematochezia results from bleeding in the lower digestive tract or colon. It is bright red in color and indicates certain potential medical complications.
- Melena is blood that has been digested or swallowed. This dark, sticky, almost jelly-like blood indicates that a serious problem in your dog’s upper digestive tract might be to blame.
Singular streaks of blood are often a fluke. However, if the bleeding is consistently present or if the bleeding is in larger amounts, that is a clear indicator of a much bigger problem, such as a viral or bacterial infection, parvovirus, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, and even cancer.
If you find blood in your dog’s stool, in any amount, contact your vet right away. Describe exactly what you have observed so that your vet is able to get an understanding of your dog’s condition, and decide whether a veterinary examination is called for.
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How Is The Cause Of Diarrhea Determined
It is important to provide your veterinarian with a detailed medical history. Ideally you should write this out in chronological order before you go to the clinic. Be as detailed as possible on the date you first noticed a problem, and the progression of the clinical signs. Was there any change in your cats diet such as a new bag of food? Note what diets and treats your pet has eaten in the last 1-2 weeks. Note any changes in the normal routine of your cat or your household. How frequent are the stools? What is the color, consistency, and smell of the feces? Is the cat showing any other signs such as vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, or loss of weight? To help you put this history together, please see the handout “Diarrhea Questionnaire and Checklist for Cats”.
Your veterinarian will usually ask you to bring a representative sample of fresh fecal material with you to your appointment. Besides a thorough clinical exam, your veterinarian may recommend additional diagnostic tests. In mild cases of diarrhea, these tests may be deferred unless initial treatment fails or the condition worsens. In-depth diagnostic tests may include blood work, stool, and rectal swab samples for parasite examination, DNA testing and culture, radiographs , and endoscope exam.
Identifying The Cause Of Cat Diarrhea
Your vet will likely perform fecal tests that include cytology, fecal flotation, culturing, and antigen testing to check for inflammatory and infectious diseases.
Bloodwork is used to screen for systemic or metabolic causes and check whether the diarrhea has caused anemia or dehydration.
They might also order abdominal ultrasound, endoscopy, or X-rays to check for cancer or possible ingestion of a foreign body.
Other methods to determine the cause of cat diarrhea include gastrointestinal function tests, colonoscopy, biopsy, medication trials, and food trials to assess response to dietary changes.
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Identifying The Symptoms Of Feline Diarrhea
When To Go To The Vet
There are a few things that pet owners should consider when deciding if its time for a vet visit.
First, what is the general condition of your cats health? Is your cat very young or old? Do they have any preexisting health conditions that will make them more susceptible to dehydration or other illnesses?
Next, is your cat experiencing any other worrisome symptoms, such as vomiting, lethargy, depression, or pain?
Additionally, how often are the bouts of diarrhea? Is the diarrhea extremely watery?
Finally, what does your cats diarrhea look like? Is it the color of normal, healthy feces or is it black and tarry? Black and tarry feces often points to internal bleeding, which must be treated immediately. If your cat is experiencing black, tarry stools, seek veterinary medical care right away.
Its okay if you dont have the answer to all of these questions. If your cat is looking unwell overall and their feces look abnormal, take your cat to be examined by your veterinarian.
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Treating A Cat With Diarrhea
There are a few different things that you can try when treating your cat’s diarrhea at home. One of them is changing her diet . Cat food often includes dyes and other artificial ingredients, which may make your cat’s gut have to work harder to process them. Switching to a more natural brand can help clear up the current trouble and prevent future bouts. Watch out, though — changing foods can also cause intestinal upsets, so do it gradually.
You may also consider giving your cat a bland home-cooked diet until the diarrhea subsides. Two parts cooked white rice mixed with one part boiled hamburger or chicken is easy to digest. Some cats balk at rice, so you can use plain mashed potatoes instead. Rice-based cat foods are also available at most pet supply stores.
Sometimes a 12 to 24 hour fast is enough to calm things down. If nothing at all goes in , there’s nothing to process and the diarrhea should go away. When you resume feeding, begin with the bland rice mixture, then slowly mix in regular food, reducing the amount of the rice mixture until the cat is back on a normal diet.
A bulk-forming laxative such as Metamucil seems to have a normalizing effect on cats with diarrhea. If your cat’s stools are still a little soft during or after a couple of days of the bland diet, try adding about a half-teaspoon of the Metamucil laxative to each of his or her meals for a day or two.
Originally Published: May 20, 2011
Sudden Changes In Behavior
Any sudden and unexplained changes in your cats behavior may warrant a vet trip, but they can also be monitored before rushing to an emergency vet. Consider, too, whether or not there are reasons for this behavior change. For example, if you have recently brought home a new pet, your cat may stop eating for a day as he or she adjusts.
If any strange behavior persists over several days, you should see a veterinarian.
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Your Cat Has Diarrhea: What To Do And Not Do
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Just when you think nothing can be worse than waking up and the moment you get out of bed, you step on a cold, slimy hairball… oh wait… the smell hits you.
It’s not a hairball. Your poor kitty has diarrhea and didnt make it to the litter box, or if they did, they painted the box with it. Please tell me this wasnt just my cats!
If you have a cat, you will likely have to deal with diarrhea at one time or another. And in some unfortunate cases, it may be a regular situation. If left unaddressed, it could lead to dehydration and nutrient deficiency.