The Parts Of A Flower That Eventually Become Seeds Are Kitty Constipation – A Holistic Vet’s Secrets to Prevention and Treatment

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Kitty Constipation – A Holistic Vet’s Secrets to Prevention and Treatment

A surprisingly large number of cats have problems with constipation (abnormal accumulation of feces and difficulty defecating) and similar but more serious conditions such as constipation (complete blockage of the colon with feces) and megacolon (damaged nerves and muscles in the colon that cause the inability to defecate). . Constipation is uncomfortable, even painful. Constipated cats may defecate (or attempt to) outside the litter box because they associate the pain or discomfort with the box itself. Other signs of constipation include irritability, abdominal pain, lethargy, and poor or even loss of appetite.

The large intestine, the last part of the intestinal tract, is a large muscular structure that ends at the rectum. It contains most of the intestinal bacteria found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. These bacteria complete the digestion of proteins. Byproducts of this process include short-chain fatty acids that feed the cells lining the colon. Some of these cells absorb water, while others secrete mucus to lubricate the stool and make it move.

Most cats defecate about once a day. A constipated cat may only defecate every 2 to 4 days, or even less often. Usually the stools are hard and dry, because their long stay in the large intestine allows the absorption of most of the water content. However, occasionally a constipated cat may appear to have diarrhea, as loose stools are the only thing that can bypass the stuck mass of feces.

Causes of pooping problems include neurological problems, pelvic injuries, obstruction (by hair, bone, etc.) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). A dirty litter box can cause the cat to avoid the box and become constipated from holding the stool for too long. Hooded litter boxes are a particular problem because they trap odors, potentially making the box environment extremely unpleasant for the cat.

In 15+ years of experience as a cat vet, I know of only 2 cats that have had problems with constipation that do not eat dry food. It is therefore logical to think that nutrition plays a significant role in the development of the problem. Some cats may need more fiber than is present in very low-fiber diets, such as most canned, raw, and homemade diets. You can always add a pinch of fiber (ground flax seeds and ground chia seeds, also known as Salba, are reasonably tasty and work very well).

Indeed, the initial treatment for constipation is usually a change in diet. Historically, these cats were usually put on a dry, high-fiber diet. Fiber modulates intestinal motility. Depending on the type of fiber and the circumstances, fiber can speed up or slow down digestion. Therefore, it is used for both constipation and diarrhea. Light foods, senior foods, and hairball foods contain more fiber, and there are several high-fiber medical diets.

Usually a change in diet helps, at least initially. However, eventually these foods seem to lose their effectiveness over time. More fiber can be added, such as canned pumpkin. Again, sometimes this leads to temporary improvement. However, most of these cats still have problems.

Since fiber promotes water absorption and increases the amount of stool produced (because it is indigestible), many experts have gone the other way and recommend a “smaller residue” diet to reduce stool volume. “Low residue” means that the food is highly digestible and produces minimal waste. Cats digest protein and fat best, but there is controversy surrounding carbohydrates; it is clear that many cats cannot tolerate carbohydrates. According to this theory, the best food would be high in fat, protein and low in fiber, as well as high humidity. One would think that such foods would also be low in fiber, but this is not necessarily true. Eukanuba Low Residue dry food contains 4% fiber, which is quite a high proportion. Most canned foods fit this description, as do most homemade foods. However, Eukanuba Low Residue manages to incorporate a large amount of carbohydrates, even into its canned food. Label reading is an important skill to develop.

Water balance is key in constipated kittens. Most vets will give constipated cats subcutaneous (or even intravenous) fluids to increase their hydration.

Treatment of constipation depends on the severity of the problem. For mild cases, occasional enemas may be all they need. In the case of severe blockages, the cat must be anesthetized for manual excrement (a process that my favorite technique vividly but accurately calls “excavation”).

Once the cat is “cleaned up” in any way, it is wise to take steps to prevent the problem from recurring. Several options are available; an individual cat may only need one of these, while others may need several or all.

  • Canned or homemade diet. A high-moisture diet keeps the cat hydrated, and that diet is far more digestible – and produces far less waste – than dry food. Since canned and homemade diets tend to be very low in fiber, adding a small amount of rice bran or psyllium powder (available in bulk at most health food stores) is helpful.
  • Water fountain. Many cats will drink much more liquid water than they will ever take from a bowl. There are several types of pet fountains, from “cascades” to “waterfalls” to models that may be from Rome! They are easily available online. Make sure the fountain is clean so that your cat continues to drink.
  • Lactulose. This is a sugar syrup that holds water in the stool and keeps the stool soft; therefore, it is easier for the cat to pass. Cats usually don’t like the taste. Fortunately, lactulose now comes in a mild-tasting powder (Kristalose) that can be encapsulated at the pharmacy or simply added to canned foods.
  • Other stool softeners, such as DSS (docusate sodium). Your vet can prescribe them.
  • Vaseline. The primary ingredient in most hair removal products (Laxatone, Kat-a-lax, Petromalt), petroleum jelly can be given orally to cats. Most cats tolerate it, many cats like it, and some even enjoy it. The Vaseline brand is, according to my cats, the tastiest; but other cats prefer one of the flavored hairball types. Give 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon per day. It can also be mixed with a small amount of canned food. However, it can interfere with the absorption of nutrients, so it is best to take it on an empty stomach.
  • Cisapride (Propulsid). This drug has been withdrawn from the market for humans due to dangerous side effects, but is considered safe for cats. Your veterinarian can order it from a pharmacy for preparations. It seems to work best in combination with stool softeners.
  • Pediatric glycerin suppositories. Although they may not like suppositories being pushed into their rectums, most cats tolerate it. Your veterinarian can advise you on technique and frequency.
  • Enema. Many cat keepers have become good at giving enemas at home. Mineral oil, KY jelly, soapy water, and plain warm water are fine; you may need to experiment to see which is best for your cat.
  • Slippery elm bark or mallow. These herbs can be added to canned food (add more cold water) or make syrup. Their mild taste is well tolerated by most cats. They produce mucus, a slippery substance that helps the intestinal contents move. There are many herbal formulas available to humans, but many herbs, such as Cascara buildingthey are too sharp for a cat.
  • Practice. Staying active helps stimulate the bowels and keep things moving. If your constipated cat is also a couch potato, try cat play therapy.
  • Stress control. There is always an energetic or emotional component to any chronic illness, and stress plays a significant role in many gastrointestinal conditions. Flower essences are useful for changing the energetic foundations of constipation and other gastrointestinal ailments.
  • Fluid therapy. Some cats tolerate occasional (daily to weekly) subcutaneous fluid infusions very well. Your veterinarian or veterinary technician can show you how to do this at home. Give fluids whenever you notice that your cat’s behavior indicates impending constipation.
  • Surgery. If there is damage to the nerves and muscles of the colon, a “subtotal colectomy” is the last resort. This operation removes the large intestine and connects the small intestine to the rectum. Until the small intestine begins to function more like the large intestine, the result is chronic diarrhea. However, the cat will be much more comfortable.

If your cat is chronically constipated, the most important thing is to be careful. Look for early signs of constipation; straining, abdominal discomfort, loss of appetite, etc. Be aware of how often the cat defecates. If he does not produce a proper stool for more than 2-3 days, call your vet or start home treatment if you have established this routine. Macia’s constipation is much easier to treat if it is detected early. If you wait, treatment will be far more expensive, and the likelihood of irreversible colon damage is greater.

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