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My Cat Has Chronic Diarrhea Will It Get Better

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Chronic diarrhea that has been present longer than two to three weeks may prove more difficult to diagnose and treat effectively. Even extensive work-up does not always provide a definitive answer to the problem. However, in most cases a thorough clinical work-up, including food trials, can result in successful management of the diarrhea.

Contributors: Krista Williams, BSc, DVM Ernest Ward, DVM

What Tests Will My Vet Do To Find The Cause Of My Cats Diarrhea

Your veterinarian may run fecal tests that include fecal flotation, antigen testing, cytology, and culturing to screen for infectious or inflammatory disease.

Bloodwork evaluates for metabolic or systemic causes of diarrhea and assesses the consequences of cat diarrhea, such as dehydration or anemia.

Abdominal ultrasound, radiology, and endoscopy can be used to check for foreign body ingestion or cancer as causes of cat diarrhea.

When Should I Be Concerned About Cat Poop

There are a few abnormalities that you should look out for in your cats poop that may indicate that theyre sick. If their stool is watery or if it has a red, orange, black, yellow, or green hue, that likely means something is wrong. If your cat is having a hard time passing stool, or if they cant pass it at all, that also is an indication that something is wrong.

These abnormalities can indicate anything from constipation to a bacterial infection, so its important to know when you should be concerned about your cats poop. Our cat poop guide outlines the different appearances of cat poop and what they may indicate, so that you know what to do if your cats stool suddenly turns green.

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Is Black Poop Bad For Cats

Yes, black poop is bad for cats as it can be a sign of your cat having some underlying disease.

Bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract, such as from the mouth, stomach, or small intestines is indicated by black cat feces.

The presence of blood in the poo, especially if it is slick and sticky like road tar, suggests that the blood has been digested.

Internal bleeding is a severe health risk, and if your cat produces black poo, you should take them to your local Greencross Vets right once.

Blood in the stool in cats is a condition in which your cats stool contains varying amounts of blood.

Hematochezia, which looks like bright red blood, and black, tarry blood are the two types of blood found in the stool.

Blood in the stool is usually a sign of a more severe problem.

Blood in the stool might be a sign of a dangerous underlying infection or illness, or it can be the result of a common and mild condition.

While blood in the stool is not necessarily an emergency, you should seek veterinarian attention for your cat if it persists for longer than a few days or occurs frequently.

Types Of Diarrhea In Cats

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Diarrhea can look different depending on the cause. As gross as it sounds, being able to describe it to your veterinarian can go a long way in helping to diagnose and treat your cat.

Watery diarrhea: This is often what happens when your cat has already expelled all of the fecal material she has but continues to feel the urge to defecate. It can also happen if there is an obstruction preventing fecal material from passing normally.

Bloody diarrhea: Red, bloody diarrhea in cats can happen for a lot of different reasons. There may be just a little bit of blood visible on the outer surface of the diarrhea or it can seem as if the diarrhea is pure blood. Any diarrhea with blood is a reason to take your cat to the veterinarian.

Diarrhea with mucus: This type of diarrhea in cats indicates irritation to the inner lining of the intestines. Normally, a layer of mucus protects the cells of the intestines from any irritation caused by fecal material as it passes through. Once irritation starts, that lining becomes unstable and attaches to the fecal material as it passes through, then out. If the diarrhea is mostly mucus, that may indicate that there is something stuck, preventing normal passage of fecal material.

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The Importance Of Examining Your Cats Poop

Before we discuss each poop color in our furry friends, lets first talk about the importance of examining your cats stool in general.

A healthy gut and digestive tract should create formed brown stool, meaning anything that falls outside of this description should catch your attention.

Many medical complications in cats can affect their digestive health, and may even be the first clue of developing illness.

Cleaning your cats litter box gives you the perfect opportunity to stay on top of their digestive health, and make note of any changes in their stool color or consistency.

Fast action in many situations can offer your cat the best chance at a swift recovery, and may even introduce you to a developing complication you would not have noticed otherwise.

Staying on top of your cats poop appearance is more important than you may think.

Multiple Cats Multiple Checks

If you have more than one cat, you do not necessarily have to collect a sample from each individual animal unless your vet specifically asks you to do so. If you find bloody stool, though, you’ll probably have to be on litter box patrol to determine which cat may be experiencing a health issue. Of course, if one cat is ill, the others may be, too. If you notice a serious issue with one cat, try to isolate them with their own litter box until you can bring them to the vet.

Believe it or not, your cat’s stool can tell you a lot about their well-being. By incorporating a stool check into your daily litter box maintenance routine, you can help to keep them in tip-top shape and provide your cat with a clean, healthy environment.

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Details For Your Veterinarian

Please be as detailed as possible about the color, consistency, and odor of the stool because this is helpful information for your veterinarian. Dont be afraid to take a photo. A picture in this case can really be worth a thousand words. Your cats veterinarian will want to know whether your cat is having more frequent bowel movements, if the volumes are larger or smaller than normal, if your cat is straining while passing the stool, and whether you have observed fresh blood or mucus.

When you are calling to make your appointment for your cat, ask if they would like a stool sample and request specific directions on how they would like this collected and stored in advance of the appointment. Having a stool sample can simplify the diagnostic process and lead to a targeted treatment for your cats specific issue. Since your veterinarian may also wish to do blood work, ask if your cat needs to fast in advance of the appointment.

Symptoms Of Constipation In Cats

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Constipation is characterized by infrequent stools or stools that are difficult to pass. Most cats will poop about every 24-36 hours. If your cat is pooping less frequently and having some difficulty, she may be constipated.

While there is some normal variation, if its been more than 48-72 hours without a bowel movement, you should contact your vet.

The main signs of constipation in cats are:

  • Dry, hard stools

Normally, the poop is a rich brown color and should look well-formed. A healthy stool has enough moisture that litter will stick to it, says Dr. Liz Bales, VMD. Cats with constipation may have very dry, hard stools. You may find these stools outside the litter box, because the discomfort of trying to pass stool can cause cats to leave the litter box before theyre actually finished.

  • Crying or straining in the litter box, or avoiding it altogether

Other signs of discomfort can be vocalizing or straining when using the litter box or going in and out multiple times before using it. Your cat may strain but not be able to poop at all. Showing discomfort in the litter box can also be a sign of serious urinary tract issues, so you should contact a vet if you see these signs.

Constipation is really a symptom of other issues, so you may also see signs of the underlying cause. These may include:

  • Walking stiffly

If youre seeing any of these symptoms, with or without constipation, you should discuss them with your cats vet.

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When Should You Worry About Cat Diarrhea What If Your Cat Has Diarrhea And Seems Fine Otherwise

So when is cat diarrhea a big deal? When its really bad, when its accompanied by other symptoms, or when the cat feels or looks significantly sick.

For instance, if your cat has one soft stool but is still playful and eating and drinking normally, you probably dont need to rush to the vet. This is especially true if you just switched foods , or if you know she consumed a suspicious but not especially dangerous food item .

However, if your cat is lethargic, wont eat, is suffering from profuse hemorrhagic diarrhea, has 10 episodes of diarrhea in one day, or if vomiting occurs concurrently with the diarrhea, then you need to seek veterinary attention. Vomiting and diarrhea often occur together, and they are a dangerous combination because they can trigger severe dehydration.

If your cat is having frequent diarrhea, a checkup is a good idea even if shes not showing any other symptoms. Some cat parasites can spread to people, and IBD and lymphoma are serious problems. Chronic cat diarrhea should not be ignored.

Keep Your Cat Hydrated

A senior cat suffering diarrhea needs more water by whatever means possible. Diarrhea causes fluid loss, and the electrolytes in those fluids are essential to help control important physiologic functions.

Pedialyte is an over-the-counter electrolyte beverage designed for infants and children and can be added to your cats water in a ratio of anywhere from 10 to 50 percent Pedialyte to water. It comes in several different flavors, but I find the original, clear, unflavored variety to be the most accepted by cats.

To detect dehydration, gently pinch the normally loose skin at the back of the neck. The skin snaps right back down in a properly hydrated cat. If the pinched skin flattens slowly or remains tented, the cat is dehydrated.

A dehydrated cat needs immediate veterinary care. If your veterinarian determines your senior cat is dehydrated, supplemental fluids may be given either via intravenous or subcutaneous route. Drinking is no longer sufficient to make up for the dehydration because the liquids pass through the cat too rapidly to be properly absorbed.

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Encourage Water And Electrolyte Intake

Cats with diarrhea need to take in sufficient amounts of water to prevent dehydration. Keep your cats water bowls filled with fresh, clean water and consider adding an extra bowl that contains diluted chicken or beef broth. Another easy way to increase your cats water intake is to switch him from kibble to a canned diet. Temporarily, you can even mix an extra tablespoon or two of warm water into your cats canned food.

How To Treat Black Poop In Cats

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The primary goal of treating black poop in cats is to treat the underlying disease, including diseases of the kidney, liver, and lungs.

The problem of black poop should be resolved after successful treatment.

Fluid therapy will be administered to replenish lost fluids in the body, and a whole blood transfusion may be required in some individuals with severe blood loss and anemia.

Cats who have been vomiting nonstop will need medication to manage the vomiting and help them keep their food long enough for it to digest.

Surgery may be required in the case of serious ulcers or tumors in the gastrointestinal tract.

While seeing blood will make your heart race and make you feel anxious, there are some therapy methods you can try at home.

You dont need to rush to the ER just yet if your cat is acting properly, eating regularly, and not vomiting.

After all, stress can create inflammation in your cats GI tract, causing it to wobble. Inadvertent ingestion of a new meal can also cause problems. So its not unreasonable to test a few home remedies and see how they work.

Some of the home remedies are:

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Kitten Diarrhea: Common Causes Symptoms And Treatment

Much like human babies, kittens can be sensitive to sudden changes in environment or diet. They can even suffer from food allergies. These factors can cause diarrhea, a condition in which the kitten will release frequent, liquidy stools. If you notice loose stools, you should monitor their bowel movements to make sure the condition is not chronic or a sign of a more serious problem.

When it comes to kitten diarrhea, it could be just a reaction to new foods, but it could also be a sign of a more serious, underlying illness.

If your kitten is suffering from diarrhea, its not time to panic. Dr. Erick Mears, a BluePearl veterinary specialist who is board certified in internal medicine, points out that kitten diarrhea is usually a treatable condition. Its pretty common and tends to be very responsive to treatment. Most of the time the things you look for are dietary causes or parasites, he says.

Cat Poo Chart: Runny Poo Hard Poo Whats Normal

Does your cat have runny poo all the time? Or maybe theyre producing hard and dry pellets? The texture of your cats poo reflects the quality of diet theyre being fed, and gives you a window into their current health and well-being.

You spend a little time every day scooping your cats poo out of the litter box, but have you ever stopped to inspect it? Faecal examinations are a routine part of the health check your cat should be receiving every 6 months, but theyre also something you should be doing at home in between vet visits. Learn to interpret what the texture of your cats poo is telling you about their health and nutrition. Often, the first place a poor diet shows up is in the poo.

While your cat may experience one-off bouts of stomach upsets, their poos shouldnt change too much from day to day if theyre being fed a regular diet. However, a sudden change in their diet can result in diarrhoea and different food going in will mean different poos coming out. If you want your cats poos to change for the better, using our Cat Food Finder to improve their diet is the best way to go.

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Vet Treatment For Constipation In Cats

Constipation is common in cats but can indicate serious disease, so it should be discussed with your vet.

Constipation must be treated as soon as possible to reduce the risk of permanent damage due to prolonged distension of the colon. Effective treatment involves identifying and correcting the underlying disorder , removing the impacted feces, and preventing recurrences.

For immediate relief of constipation, your veterinarian can give your cat fluids and/or an enema. Administering an enema to a cat is a veterinary job and should not be attempted at home, says Dr. Bales. Some types of enemas designed for people are actually very toxic to cats.

Vets can also prescribe medications or recommend over-the-counter solutions to help you manage the symptoms of your cats constipation.

More importantly, your vet can help identify the underlying issue thats causing the constipation so it can be treated, rather than just trying to manage the symptoms.

Some cats with long-term constipation or obstipation may have megacolon, an enlarged intestine caused by a defect in the muscle strength of the colon. Cats with chronic constipation or megacolon that have been unresponsive to medical treatment may respond to removal of the affected section of the large intestine.

Heres a list of things you can do at home to help relieve your cats constipation.

Monitor Your Cat For Constipation

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Monitor the frequency of your cats defecation and stool consistency at least twice a week initially, and then weekly or biweekly.

Contact your veterinarian if you notice very hard, dry feces, or if you notice that your cat is straining while defecating. Watch for any of the other signs of constipation, and contact your veterinarian if you notice diarrhea, especially, since this can quickly lead to dehydration.

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When Does Cat Diarrhea Need Veterinary Attention

Assess the severity of your cats diarrhea and his overall condition when trying to decide if he should see a veterinarian. If your cat has relatively mild diarrhea, is not vomiting, is eating and drinking, and doesnt seem to feel too bad, its reasonable to try some home treatment. If, on the other hand, any of the following describes your cats condition, call your veterinarian immediately:

  • Your cat is very young, very old, or has an underlying health problem that could make him vulnerable to the effects of dehydration.
  • Your cat is vomiting, lethargic, depressed, in pain, or has any other worrisome symptoms.
  • The diarrhea is profuse, watery, explosive, or very frequent.
  • The diarrhea contains blood or is dark and tarry.

Old Cat Not Going To Toilet

A senior cat faces a higher risk of constipation for the following reasons:

  • Prone to joint and leg stiffness due to arthritis
  • Exercise less frequently, leading to obesity
  • Weaker immunity and more likely to get intestinal problems

If your cat cannot make it into the litter box, it will hold onto its feces for longer. This leads to harder waste and constipation in senior cats.

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