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Megacolon cat with problems.

Species: Cat
Breed: Long-haired tortoise
Age: 5-8 years
Addie was diagnosed with megacolon at age 2. The vet prescribed medications - I only remember Cisapride. She was given fluids and had enemas. I eventually learned to give her enemas at home. It is very costly to visit the veterinarian every week. She even had accupuncture therapy, which worked at first, but then it did not made a difference. After 1 1/2 years of these treatments she had much of her colon removed. She has been getting along okay - I give her Lactulose 3 times a week and encourage her to come to the litter pan. Now the megacolon has returned. She had an enema last week and I am taking her for another this evening. Do you know of any other treatments or have we reached the end of the road? She is so afraid of going to the vet, I don't want to put her through this every week. And I cannot afford weekly visits. Any help you can offer will be appreciated.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that Addie has megacolon. This is one of the most difficult diseases to manage. How frustrating that you have had surgery done and yet the condition is returning. This does not happen very often.

There are a number of other things that can be done for cats with megacolon. Ultimately, you'll need to get the ok from your vet before going ahead with any of these, but let me give you some other ideas of things that I do to help my megacolon patients.

I have had really good success with switching these cats to a relatively new food on the market. It's called Medi-Cal (in Canada) or VMD (in the US) Gastro Diet. Now, gastro diet has been around for a long time, but recently they changed the formulation to add more psyllium and other things which help to keep the intestines moving. I have had several cats with constipation issues that have come off of all of their medications after switching to this food.

(Just so you know, some vets recommend high fiber food for these issues and others recommend low residue foods. The general consensus now is that high fiber foods don't really help. Low residue foods may help for some cats. But again, the Gastro food has been really a good thing in my practice.)

You mentioned you are giving lactulose three times weekly. You can ask your vet whether you could be giving this more frequently. Some cats can get it 3 times daily rather than weekly. The goal is to give enough to cause the stools to be soft, but not too much so that the stools are liquid. The problem is that lactulose does not taste good.

I've had other cats that have done well on miralax granules added to their food. This is similar to lactulose but some cats take it better.

I will often put these patients on a medication called cisapride. This is a medication that helps to move the small intestine. This movement, in turn, helps the large intestine move.

When I am really desperate with a constipated cat I will sometimes do colyte therapy. I have the cat stay in the hospital and put a feeding tube in place and then I trickle a liquid called colyte down the tube. This is the same thing that people drink just before they have a colonoscopy. It works really well to clear out the bowels. However, if I do this with a cat, I usually have them hospitalized and on IV fluids because it can do strange things to a cat's electrolytes.

Hopefully some of this information helps. I really hope that Addie improves 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.

Customer reply:

Thank for such a quick and thorough reply. I took Addie to the vet last evening where she had an enema and was given fluids. She was given a prescription for Cisapride and I will up the Lactulose. Also, I agreed to try to give her inhome fluids every other day. Addie is very high strung so we will see how that goes! I will also look for the VMD food today after work. Thank you very much. I just want to know that I have done everything possible to help her.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome and thanks so much for the generous bonus.

Just so you know, the VMD food is prescription so you'd need to get it through your veterinarian.

Have a great day!



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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.