Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Symptoms Of Colitis In Cats

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How To Treat Constipation In Cats

Colitis in Cats Dr. Deborah Fegan Part II

For mild cases, your vet can provide instruction on how to relieve constipation in cats with simple changes to the pets diet and lifestyle, along with other at-home remedies. However, some cases are more severe and need the attention of a veterinarian.

Before the vet can determine how to treat constipation in cats, he or she will first need to identify the underlying cause for the condition. They will likely provide fluids or an enema for immediate relief. Then, theyll recommend over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs, such as prokinetics or laxatives, for treatment.

In very severe cases that dont respond to treatment, your cat might need to be anesthetized to manually remove the feces from the colon . Cat constipation needs to be treated as soon as possible to reduce the risk of permanent damage resulting from prolonged distension of the colon.

If your pets constipation is long-term or they suffer from obstipation , it could lead to an abnormal dilation of the colon, known as a megacolon. If medical management has failed to help with megacolon, you may consider a surgical procedure called subtotal colectomy to remove the non-functioning part of the colon.

Treatment For Colitis In Cats

The therapeutic goals of treatment for feline colitis are to relieve pain and discomfort, and to restore normal bowel function. If there is an underlying medical condition which is causing colitis or colitis-type symptoms, this will need to be identified and treated.

The choice of treatment will depend on the causes of the inflammation and the frequency and severity of symptoms. Acute colitis often resolves itself in a few days without requiring treatment however, chronic or episodic colitis almost always requires medical attention. Where the cause is an infection or parasite, colitis can be cured, but generally, it can only be controlled through appropriate medical management and dietary modification.

Treating Colitis In Cats

Since colitis in cats is created by a wide range of causes, getting to the veterinarian quickly is important. Bringing a fresh stool sample can help speed up the diagnosis . The diagnostic tests for colitis in cats could get expensive there are low-cost veterinary clinics and other animal medical resources available.

Bring a list of anything new or different that your cat may have experienced since the symptoms began. Treatment will be determined by what exactly is causing the issue. While it could be something mild, it might be life-threatening, so its imperative to take any cat displaying symptoms of colitis to get a thorough medical examination right away.

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There Are Other Risk Factors For Fic

These include obesity, neutering, lazy cats, cats that wont go out in the rain to toilet. These cats tend to empty their bladders less often, so the inflammatory chemicals are not flushed out.

Synthetic cat pheromones are available as environmental sprays or plug ins. Pheromones are reported to have a positive effect on owner-reported stress levels.

Increasing water intake

Greater fluid intake results in the production of more dilute urine and encourages urination. This flushes the inflammatory chemicals out of the bladder speeding recovery. Wet food is usually recommended to increase water intake. Some prescription dry foods have also been found to be effective in reducing FIC recurrence. If you need to change a cats food, do not mix old and new foods. Provide small amounts of new food in a separate bowl and slowly increase the proportion of new food in the ration. Changing food should take 4-7 days. Do not attempt to change your cats diet when they are unwell, wait until they are feeling better. Food aversion and refusal to eat can occur if they associate with the new food with feeling unwell.

How Digestion Is Affected

Colitis in cats: causes, symptoms and treatment

Since the final stages of digestion are affected, the body cannot reabsorb moisture from the feces. Thus, a pet suffering from colitis will show symptoms of diarrhea and his feces will be watery. Your pets stool will contain mucus and appear slimy. The feces may also contain fresh, red blood. Your pet will suffer from severe pain in the abdomen and appear lethargic and depressed.

Dehydration is a concern due to the vomiting and diarrhea. If the pet is suffering from chronic colitis, weight loss may be accompanied by a loss in appetite. If the colitis is caused by parasites, the feces may contain intestinal worms or segments of the worms.

A hypoallergenic diet and the administration of fiber can prevent future episodes of colitis. Regular deworming can help rid your pet of parasites and antibiotics. Antifungal and antiviral medications can also treat colitis caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses.

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Symptoms Of Ibd In Cats

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a tricky condition to diagnose in cats since the most common symptoms can mimic those of intestinal lymphoma, .

You may notice a number of symptoms in your cat, which can vary in both severity and frequency depending on which parts of the GI tract are affected.

For example, if the colon is inflamed, diarrhea with or without blood in the stool is likely, while if the problem is in the stomach or higher areas of the small intestine, chronic vomiting may be your cat’s most noticeable symptom.

Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in cats include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bright red blood in stool
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of appetite

How Is Colitis In Cats Diagnosed

Colitis is a condition that will require an accurate diagnosis before effective treatment can be prescribed. You vet will likely consider other illnesses with similar symptoms when evaluating your cat.

To help your vet diagnose your cat, you will need to provide your vet with your cats history. As there are many causes of colitis, your vet will probably ask you about:

  • Reoccurring symptoms that you have noticed
  • Your cats diet and whether there has been changes to it
  • Anything that your cat might have eaten other than its usual cat food
  • Your cats exposure to other cats
  • Places out of the ordinary that your cat might have gone to

If indeed the signs and symptoms all point to colitis, several tests will be performed to identify the underlying cause in order to prescribe the most effective treatment. Tests include:

  • A complement blood count to check for inflammation, infections, anaemia and other blood related issues
  • A chemistry profile to check for illnesses such as diabetes mellitus and kidney, liver and pancreatitis.
  • Tests on faecal samples to check for parasites and bacteria
  • X-rays to evaluate the GI tract and intestines as well as to check for tumors and other abnormalities.
  • Ultrasound on the GI tract and abdominal organs
  • Urinalysis to check kidney function
  • Tests to check for viral infections
  • Electrolyte tests to check on electrolyte balance and dehydration
  • Test for thyroid hormone levels to evaluate for hyperthyroidism

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So Whats The Answer For Cats With Cystitis

MEMO , increasing water intake and feeding wet or prescription diets provide a successful treatment strategy. Careful assessment of a cats environment and stress reduction have proved effective adjuncts to traditional treatments. Non-responsive cases are rare, but in some cases long term medication is necessary.

Mucosal Immune System And Immune Responses

Signs your cat may have IBD/Lymphoma

The mucosal immune system, immune tolerance, and other innate and adaptive immune processes also play roles in the development of chronic inflammation of the GI tract.

Immunoglobulin A , important in the mucosal defense system, provides a barrier to keep luminal bacteria from crossing the luminal epithelial cells. Loosely and tightly adherent mucus produced by goblet cells and tight junctions between luminal epithelial cells also provide an immediate barrier. Any irregularity in these barriers can lead to the transposition of GI pathogens and commensals and result in chronic inflammation.

The focus of inflammation can exacerbate the degradation of tight junctions. T helper 1 cells and complementary T cell subsets are involved in the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines, whereas T regulatory cells antagonize proinflammatory states for appropriate homeostasis of the gut adaptive immune system. In IBD, this balance is lost.29

Intensive and hyperresponsive states of inflammation result from aggressive T-cell responses to antigens and pathogens with upregulation of inflammatory mediators, as well as defects in microbial extermination and downregulation of inflammatory control mediators.13,23

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How Is Ibd In Cats Diagnosed

At Sharon Lakes Animal Hospital, our veterinarians have a few diagnostic tests and methods they can use when it comes to diagnosing IBD in cats. Your veterinarian will first take a detailed medical history and ask questions about frequency and duration of symptoms.

After a complete physical exam, routine laboratory tests will be completed. These can include:

  • Urinalysis
  • Biochemistry profile
  • X-rays

Though these non-invasive tests will not definitively diagnose the condition, they are useful in ruling out other diseases , whose symptoms can mimic IBD.

These routine laboratory tests often come back normal. Some cats with IBD may have an abnormally high number of white blood cells, along with anemia. Your vet may also discover abnormal levels of liver enzymes and protein levels. More tests may be needed to find out how your cats small intestine is functioning.

Abdominal Ultrasound

An abdominal ultrasound can help rule out other diseases not revealed with blood work . This treatment method can also help vets examine the stomach and find out how thick the intestinal wall is.

Stomach Biopsy

The only way to definitively diagnose IBD and determine the extent of the disease is to take biopsies. Stomach and intestine biopsies can be done via surgery or endoscopy.

Once your vet is able to definitively diagnose IBD in your cat, a customized treatment plan can be created.

Is That All That Is Required For Diagnosis

The tissue reaction that occurs in the stomach, small intestine, or colon is diagnosed with biopsy as discussed above.

“Determining what is causing the tissue reaction to occur usually requires further testing.”

However, determining what is causing the tissue reaction to occur usually requires further testing. Tests or treatments will be performed to rule out stomach and intestinal parasites, cancer, and infections. Blood tests to rule out problems with the kidneys, liver, and pancreas, as well as diseases such as hyperthyroidism and diabetes, are performed. In some cases, the exact cause cannot be determined. Other tests that may be performed are:

  • fecal tests – these look for infectious organisms
  • measurement of the level of vitamin B12 in the blood – this can indicate whether there is decreased ability to absorb nutrients and a need for supplementation
  • measurement of folate in the blood – this will indicate whether there is an imbalance in the normal bacterial populations in the GI tract.

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Other Therapies For Ibd In Cats

Prebiotics and probiotics may help balance your kitty’s GI bacteria and reduce your cat’s symptoms of IBD.

Soluble fibers such as psyllium may also be added to your cats diet if inflammatory colitis is an issue. Folate or vitamin B12 may be recommended by your vet if your kitty is deficient in these.

Signs And Symptoms Of Colitis In Cats

Do Cats Die From Ibd

When cats have diarrhea, it can involve only the large intestines, just the small intestines, or both. Cats with small bowel diarrhea often experience vomiting, weight loss, and lethargy. Blood in small bowel diarrhea will look dark in color and may resemble coffee grounds or tar. Conversely, blood in the stool from large bowel diarrhea looks like fresh red blood.

It’s possible for cats to have both kinds of diarrhea at the same time, especially in those with inflammatory bowel disease. However, colitis alone is less likely to cause nausea, vomiting, and weight loss.

Signs of colitis in cats include:

  • Soft or runny stool that may contain mucus or red blood
  • Defecating outside the litter box
  • Increased frequency of bowel movements
  • Straining to defecate
  • Discomfort while defecating
  • Increased flatulence
  • Discomfort in the lower abdomen

If your cat is exhibiting any of these signs, contact your veterinarian for advice. You will probably need a vet visit to help your kitty feel better.

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What Test Will My Veterinarian Perform To Determine A Definitive Diagnosis

  • Blood Work
  • Pancreatic Test
  • Fecal Exam
  • Imaging
  • Biopsy
  • Abdominal Exploratory Surgery
  • Parasite Tests
  • Diet Trial

These tests allow your veterinarian to rule out inflammation caused by intestinal parasites, cancer, food sensitivities or allergies, ingestion of toxins, foreign body obstructions and/or disorders of the liver, pancreas, thyroid, or kidneys.

Cats are often treated for IBD without an official diagnosis . Your cat may get a provisional diagnosis of IBD, meaning that your veterinarian believes this is the most likely diagnosis given the symptoms.

Some cats could be given an IBD diagnosis when they in fact have a food intolerance, a thyroid disorder , or gastrointestinal lymphoma. Additionally, similar to people, some cats likely start out with IBD and later develop gastrointestinal lymphoma.

Diagnosis Of Colonic Or Rectal Inflammation In Cats

The veterinarian will need to know the cat’s complete health history in order to diagnose and treat the cat. Explaining all of the cat’s symptoms, as well as giving the approximate time that the symptoms first began, can help the veterinarian in diagnosing what is causing the colitis or proctitis. The veterinarian will gently examine the cat and perform a rectal palpation by using a gloved hand to feel inside the cat’s rectum for any polyps or abnormalities.

Several labs will be performed in order for the veterinarian to see the impact that the inflammation is having on the cat’s body and to determine why it is occurring. These labs include a complete blood count, urinalysis, and biochemical profile. The veterinarian will also want a stool sample from the cat in order to perform a fecal flotation test and a direct fecal smear. These tests will look for the presence of any parasites, bacteria, infectious organisms, and fungi.

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Food Intolerances And Allergies

Colitis can result from a dietary intolerance and dietary allergies. For example, some cats may not respond well to preservatives or food coloring. It is not uncommon for cats to be allergic to foods such as beef, wheat and corn. Additionally, colitis can also be triggered by consuming unsuitable foods such as a plant, garbage or spoiled food. A reaction to medications such as antibiotics have also been known to cause colitis in cats.

How Is Ibd In Cats Treated

Inflammatory Bowel/IBD In Dogs and Cats

If your cat has not recently been treated for intestinal parasites, your vet may recommend this along with changes in diet and introduction of medications. Though no single treatment is best, several different combinations of medication or diet may be needed to find the best therapy for your cat.

Specifically, treatments can include:

Food Trials

If your cat has an issue with dietary allergens, a hypoallergenic diet may help to resolve the problem. Protein or carbohydrate sources the cat has never eaten before, including venison, rabbit or duck-based diets may be recommended initially.

If symptoms do not improve with these, low-fat, easily digestible, high-fiber foods may be chosen. Be patient with dietary changes – it can take several weeks or longer for symptoms to improve. For the diet to be successful, all other food sources, including treats, flavored medications and table scraps should be eliminated.

Medical Treatment

Along with dietary changes, medications may be needed to calm symptoms, Metronidazole has antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and antiprotozoal properties may help.

Corticosteroids, potent anti-inflammatory and immune-suppressing agents, may be recommended if diet changes or metronidazole prove ineffective.

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Recovery Of Colonic Or Rectal Inflammation In Cats

Cats with colitis or proctitis have a good prognosis with proper treatment. It’s important to follow-up with the veterinarian to monitor medications, for follow-up testing and for treatment for any accompanying conditions, such as cancer. As environmental stress can cause relapses in colitis, it’s important that the cat remains in a calm environment away from stressors, such as other animals or children, in order to prevent this from occurring.

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Colonic or Rectal Inflammation Average Cost

From 309 quotes ranging from $200 – $1,000

Average Cost

Treatment Of Colonic Or Rectal Inflammation In Cats

Fluid Therapy

Because colitis and proctitis can cause severe dehydration, the cat may need to be hospitalized in order to receive intravenous fluids. The cat will need to be hospitalized until their fluid levels have returned to normal. The cat’s kidneys will be monitored during this time to ensure they are reacting well to the fluids.


If tumors or scar tissue are found in the colon or rectum during the examination, surgery will need to take place in order to remove the tumor or severely scarred sections. Fungal infections may also require surgery.


Anti-inflammatory medications, such as prednisone, may be prescribed in order to reduce the inflammation in the cat’s digestive tract. Immunosuppressive drugs will be prescribed if the inflammation is the result of an autoimmune reaction. Fungal infections and parasites will also need to be treated with medications known as anthelmintics. Any other infections will be treated with antibiotics.

Specialized Diet

The veterinarian may recommend that food be withheld from the cat for 24 to 48 hours in order to give the colon time to relax. After this, a low-residue, high protein diet will be prescribed. Food will first be given in small quantities and will be formulated to be digested easily.

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Can Humans Get Colitis From Cats

If your cat’s colitis is caused by a bacterial infection like salmonella or campylobacter then yes a human could in theory develop colitis from their cat, but only if you were to touch their feces without washing your hands and accidentally ingesting it. So, despite being technically possible, it’s very hard for a human to contract colitis from a cat, more so if it’s not caused by bacteria.

You should be washing your hands regularly as standard hygiene practice in and out of the home, but particularly if you own a pet and more so if you know your pet’s sick, you’ve handled their waste or are preparing food.

That said, cats can cause colitis in each other by passing on viral, bacterial, or fungal infections and parasites which is why their vaccinations and parasitic prevention treatment are so important to stay on top of. These dont just protect your cat, but they protect the pets in your entire neighborhood.

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