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Chronic cat diarrhea.

Species: Cat
Breed: DSH
Age: 2-5 years
I had emailed you several times regarding my cat Bandit in December and January. Since the day after Christmas, he has been having very bad diarrhea off and on . I have taken him to my vet 3 times and the medications they were putting him on were making it worse, so they took him off everything, except his prednisone(for asthma), and it seemed to get better. However, it just started up again this week and he has been licking his butt a lot again, and this morning, he just went on the floor, which is what he was doing in December. The vet couldn't find any major problems to cause the diarrhea but they never did bloodwork. They only did 3 xrays and examined him. They also gave him worming medication and that didn't do anything but make it worse. I don't know what else to do. I just went back to work after being laid off for over a year. Could he have anxiety from me going back to work and maybe that is causing this? Do cats get anxiety that bad? If so, is there an anxiety medication for cats? I'm so exhausted and cannot go through this another time. ??? What could be causes of constant diarrhea for over 2 months? Before this, he used to strain to poop and never had diarrhea not even once in his life. I've tried the special diet food from the vet and none of the cats would eat it, even after I would leave it out for over a day. I have 4 other cats so changing just one's diet is really hard when they all eat in the same place?? Help


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh dear. I'm sorry to hear that Bandit is having problems again.

Anxiety can cause diarrhea in cats, but it doesn't usually cause long term diarrhea problems.

Unfortunately, at this point, getting a diagnosis is going to be hard. You have had a number of tests done with no obvious answers and this makes things difficult. You mentioned that the vet has not done bloodwork but really, there are not a lot of things that would show up on routine bloodwork that cause chronic diarrhea.

Inflammatory bowel disease is still a possibility. However, most cats with IBD get better with prednisone. You may want to ask them if increasing the prednisone dose is a possibility.

I have had some cats with chronic diarrhea that have responded to a medication called tylosin. This is a type of antibiotic that can help with bacterial causes of diarrhea such as clostridial diarrhea. The problem with tylosin though is that it can be hard to get it into a cat.

There are other tests that can be done but they can be pricy. An intestinal biopsy would tell us a lot. It would tell us if IBD is present or if there is something more serious such as intestinal lymphoma.

I will often run a test called a diarrhea panel. This test is a pile of DNA tests that look for unusual causes of diarrhea such as tritrichomonas, clostridium and other causes. It's controversial though as some of these tests are not completely accurate. I have occasionally had cases though where the answer to a chronic diarrhea problem is found on one of these tests.

I wish I could give you more answers. It's a tough thing to deal with. :(

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.