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Constipation or megacolon?

Species: Cat
Breed: Domestic s/h
Age: 2-5 years
We having been treating sassy for constipation issues for almost 3 yrs with 1.5 lactulose 2x daily along with Hill's prescription diet w/d. My vet says its idiopathic constipation but reading about your article sounds like undiagnosed mega colon. We give her enemas at home usually weekly but she still requires the "deep" enemas several times a year at the vet. We don't seem to have this under control. What is the difference in mega colon treatment vs what we are doing for constipation? My vet doesn't seem to think there is anything else that we could try. He has done X-rays to see the impaction. Seems like we are treating the symptoms not preventing them from reoccurring. Shes is an adorable family member and hate to know she is always in discomfort. Thank you for any suggestions and directions you can give me. Cindy


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear that Saccharin is having these problems. Constipation issues in cats can be very frustrating.

Not all cases of chronic constipation are megacolon. If she has had xrays then she probably doesn't have megacolon or else your vet would have mentioned it. Megacolon is usually very obvious because the colon look much much larger than normal. It is very obvious.

Regardless, the treatment for chronic constipation and megacolon is pretty much the same. You may want to ask your vet about the possibility of trying Royal Canin Gastro Fiber Response diet. This prescription food has a number of things in it that I have found to work better than w/d.

There are a number of other things that can possibly help. I will often put these patients on a drug called Cisapride which can help to move the intestines. Sometimes I will also prescribe Lactulose to help to soften the stools.

There is the odd case where cats with constipation issues actually have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). While most cats with IBD have diarrhea, some can have constipation. Sometimes putting the cat on a low dose of steroids can help.

I have also had success with adding very small amounts of miralax granules to the food every day.

I wouldn't do any of these treatments on your own though, but it is worthwhile to ask your vet if they believe that any of these things could possibly help for Saccharin's case.

I have had some cats where no matter what we did, the constipation issues would keep coming back. However, since we started using the Royal Canin Fiber Response, *most* cats that I put on this do really well and don't need medication. (And no, I am not paid by the company to say that.)

I hope that helps!

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 you. I found the royal canin diet is by prescription only. I will see if that brand is available here. I appreciate your time and experience. Cindy


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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.