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Cat with megacolon

Species: Cat
Breed: domestic long hair
Age: 11-15 years
We have a cat, Poofter, who has mega-colon. The vet prescribed Hills Prescription W/D but the cat refuses to eat it and has lost several pounds over the last month or two.

Before this the cat was on prescription C/D for urine crystals and he will get crystals with supermarket food, though we have not seen signs with the W/D.

We are changing the rest of our cats from 9 lives to Blue Buffalo Wilderness, a high protein, low residue food. Some people on the internet have said that low residue is an option for mega-colon and I would like your opinion on that. How about the crystals (not the coffin shaped ones, the other ones)? Would this food exacerbate the crystal problem (which was controlled well under C/D but that caused constipation.

Some cat in the household has very bad smelling fecal matter since the changeover but we don't know which one.

Also, we give Poofter an enema if he seem to need one but are always worried about not doing it soon enough. Are scheduled enemas an option (using unscented, plain dish washing liquid and water) or is this a bad idea?

Thank you in advance, sorry it was so long.
Jeffery


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm sorry to hear that Poofter is having these problems. Constipation issues in cats can be extremely frustrating.

I'll give you a few of my thoughts on what you have written.

My first concern was the statement that Poofter is refusing to eat and has lost several pounds. While this could be because he doesn't like the food, it could also be that there is a medical issue. Often cats with constipation issues will also have kidney issues. It really would be a great idea to have your vet have another look at him and possibly do some blood tests.

While some cats with constipation do well on a high fiber diet such as w/d, you are correct that others will do better on a low residue food. One that I like to prescribe is eukanuba low residue.

I've recently had great success with feeding constipated cats VMD (Medi-cal) gastro diet. This food has psyllium in it and it really does help cats to move their bowels. All of the VMD foods are safe for cats with urinary tract issues. I really can't speak for any over the counter foods though. If you do find that an over the counter food is helping with the constipation, one thing you can do is have your vet check a urine sample every few months to be sure that there are no crystal issues.

Personally, I don't ever have my clients give their own cats an enema. There are a lot of risks involved with giving cats enemas such as perforating the colon. I will occasionally prescribe something called a micro-lax enema which is a tiny tube of solution that can be squirted into the rectum. But I tell my clients that if it is not working then they need to come in to have my staff give a series of warm water enemas.

Constipation in older cats is one of the most frustrating things I deal with. Some other things that you can talk to your vet about that may help are a medication called cisapride, or using lactulose or miralax granules to help to soften and move the stool along.

You may also find this article on megacolon helpful.

I hope things are looking up soon!

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.