Feline Constipation: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment Options
Much like humans, cats can become irregular when it comes to eliminating waste. Feline constipation has several causes, symptoms and treatment options.
A common cause of constipation in cats is dehydration. Most cats simply do not drink enough water. Ensure your cat is drinking enough water a day, by making sure that there are several sources of fresh clean water available to your cat, this can either be by placing two or three water bowls in your home and changing them often or by using an automatic water dispensers.
If your cat is on a dry food diet, we recommend adding a high quality wet food to their daily meal plan.
Chronic constipation is caused by or causes an enlarged, sluggish, poorly contracting colon, a condition called megacolon. Cats with megacolon require lifelong treatment with stool softeners and special diets.
Other causes of feline constipation can include hairballs, a low-fiber diet, obesity, tumors, intestinal obstruction, block anal sacs, ingestion of foreign object, neurological disorder, abnormal colon shape, enlarged prostate gland or side effects from a medication.
Cats usually have one to two stools per day. If your cat is passing stool every two to three days, it’s important to take your cat to the vets, this may be a sign that your cat is constipated. If your cat's stool is significantly dry and hard, or your cat appears to be straining or making noises which sounds like crying when using their cat litter box,feline constipation may be the problem.
Cats that experience constipation may look bloated, especially in their stomach area. Another sign that your feline is suffering from constipation is if your cat makes several trips to the litter box, sits in the box but leaves each time without successfully eliminating.
Cats that are constipated may defecate outside of the litter box, appear lethargic, vomit, hunch over as a result of discomfort, lose their appetite, and experience feline weight loss. It is essentially to take your cat to the vet if they are exhibiting any of the above behaviors. Feline constipation can be both uncomfortable and painful for your cat.
When treating your cat's constipation your cat veterinarian may recommend switching your cat’s food to a high-fiber formula. Fiber for both humans and cats assist in cleansing your system and effectively allows waste to leave your body.
However some vets believe that a low carbohydrate, therefore low fibre diet is much more effective in treating feline constipation, and would recommend eliminating hard food and switching to a soft food diet, in addition to adding a teaspoon of rice bran to your cat's soft food.
For mild conditions, your vet may recommend bulk laxatives, such as Metamucil, canned pureed pumpkin or wheat bran. It's important not to use any type of over the counter Stimulant laxatives unless prescribed and or recommended by your vet. Repeated use of Stimulant laxatives can interfere with your cat's colon health and function, however they can be effective for feline constipation when properly used under the guidance of a vet.
Other possible treatments your cat’s vet may recommend for feline constipation, depending on what symptoms your cat is exhibiting and the severity of the constipation, includes increasing the amount of exercise your cat does, an enema, manual evacuation of the bowels, medication to increase the large intestine’s contractile strength or surgery to remove an obstruction.
Constipation in cats should not be taken lightly because it can be both painful and have a negative effect on your cat's overall health. If your cat is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, it is essential to take your cat to the vet to find out the cause of your cat’s constipation before proceeding with treatment
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