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Colitis in cats – Symptoms and treatment

The exact definition of colitis is “inflammation of the colon“, Which is the penultimate section of the large intestine, anterior to the rectum. In practice, it results in a diarrhea that we will call a large intestine, to differentiate it from what is known as small bowel diarrhea, although many times the limit is confusing. It is an often rather theoretical division to facilitate guidance in the diagnosis of colitis in cats.

We may find ourselves somewhat surprised when we see our cat suffering an episode of acute diarrhea and, therefore, in this article we will talk about the colitis in cats, their symptoms and treatment, as an orientation until our veterinarian advises us on the correct process to stop it, according to the underlying cause.

Symptoms of colitis in cats

Given the above, it is clear that we are going to find our cat with the full list of symptoms associated with diarrhea, with certain variations depending on the cause that is causing this situation. We understand diarrhea as an increase in the volume and frequency of daily stools. Thus, the most common symptoms of colitis in cats are:

  • Bulky and frequent stools, generally with absence of form (pasty), but with normal color.
  • Stool with whitish mucosa and / or fresh blood, the latter depending on whether the responsible is a parasite or the degree of irritation of the intestinal mucosa.
  • Frequent visits to the sandbox adopting the typical posture of evacuation, although finally it does not manage to defecate. We can also see it for a long time in this position at the end of the deposition, because there is always the feeling of incomplete evacuation (tenesmus) Sometimes, this urgency results in finding stools in places that are closer to the sandbox, if you have not had time to arrive.
  • Anal irritation for too many stools (2-3 times the usual number of times, although it varies according to the cat), or for constant licking of the area when there are traces of faeces and to try to clean it. This irritation is called ‘proctitis’.
  • In case of chronic colitis, whatever the cause, the general state of the cat may worsen, observing the rough coat, little clean, progressive thinning, etc. However, chronic colitis are not very common in cats, contrary to what happens in dogs, and we usually find them as acute pathology, rather than sustained over time.

Colitis in cats by parasites

One of the most common causes of what we call colitis is the presence of parasites in the intestine. They do not have to be specifically lodged in the colon, but they can cause typical large bowel diarrhea, and sometimes, other types of symptoms. The most common to find in cats are:

Microscopic parasites

Coccidia, Giardia o Trichomonas fetus. They usually cause acute colitis, with days in which relatively normal feces can be observed and, in general, the state of the cat, apart from diarrhea, is normal.

  • In the case of Giardia can cause symptoms of small bowel involvement too, such as vomiting and loss of appetite, if it is very serious, but usually we observe formless stools, which may contain some fresh blood drop and / or whitish mucus.
  • In the case of Coccidia, there are diarrheas with a clearly increased volume, and a quite characteristic odor.
  • Trichomonas fetus it is an infradiagnosed parasite that must be taken into account.

The diagnosis of these parasites is based on the performance of coprological tests by the veterinarian, with stool samples of several days, and there is a quick kit for Giardia. Trichomonas fetus It may require a PCR culture of the stool, that is, that in the laboratory they look specifically for the DNA of the parasite. In the case of Coccidiosis, they respond quite well to treatment with diclazuril or toltrazuril. Against Giardia, some veterinarians prefer metronidazole and other fenbendazole. Trichomonas fetus responds well to ronidazole or metronidazole, taking into account that its administration in cats is not free of complications, so it must be followed up exhaustively.

A fundamental good hygiene and desifenction, and avoid overcrowding in cat communities (shelters, hatcheries.) to control these parasites and prevent the appearance of feline colitis.

Furthermore, Toxoplasma gondii It deserves a paragraph, because it is a microscopic parasite very important for public health, responsible for the dreaded toxoplasmosis. In the usual clinic of the cat, however, although it can cause diarrhea, it usually appears in disguised consultation with symptoms of the most varied: neurological, ocular. In any case, it should never be ruled out when a study is conducted if it is suspected that the person responsible for the diarrhea is a protozoan.

Macroscopic parasite

Trichuris, the “see me whip”, is not very common in cats, but its anchorage in the large intestine can cause diarrhea with some blood in the case of intense parasitosis. It is sensitive to the majority of conventional antiparasitics, but it has to be followed up through coprological studies every month, since sometimes it is difficult to get rid of it.

Infectious colitis in cats

In this tailor-made box are included diarrheas identified as large intestine that respond to an infectious cause, either by a virus or bacteria.

  • VíricasThe feline coronavirus responsible for feline infectious peritonitis, the feline leukemia virus, the parvovirus, which causes panleukopenia, rotavirus and lesser known as the toravirus, can cause acute or subacute diarrhea, with which the veterinarian will perform protocol way the tests of rigor to discard them when we go with our cat to the consultation.
  • Bacterial: a bacterial overgrowth in the intestine occurred when a habitual bacterium begins to proliferate in excess without order, or a bacterial infection, can cause a diarrhea, as occurs in cases of SalmonellaClostridium, or Escherichia coli. Depending on the bacterium isolated by DNA tests, a specific antibiotic protocol will be established or, if there is no time, a broad spectrum empirical antibiotic treatment can be established to improve the symptoms.

Colitis in cats due to inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease is a group of pathologies that leads to chronic diarrhea, much more frequent in dogs than in cats, although it should never be ruled out. Very briefly, we can say that the mucosa of the intestine is infiltrated by defensive cells of different types or mixed, hence they differ in: eosinophilic colitis, plasmacytic colitis, lymphocytic colitis. The origin is usually an immune disorder, and the treatment is aimed at reducing inflammation, basically with corticosteroids, and to suppress the immune response that causes this situation, with immunosuppressants. However, a high dose of corticosteroids may have sufficient immunosuppressive effect, and can sometimes be combined with other anti-inflammatory agents such as sulfasalazine.

Other causes of colitis in cats

Diarrhea of ​​the large intestine can be found in multiple diseases, but we would observe symptoms more directed towards these pathologies in addition to diarrhea in most of the occasions. In this way, other causes of colitis in cats are:

  • Partial or partial intestinal obstruction.
  • Intestinal neoplasms.
  • Liver disease.
  • Invagination of an intestinal loop.
  • Septicemia (generalized infection).

Dietary management of colitis in cats

Diarrhea or feline colitis usually responds quite well to dietary management, regardless of its origin, and regardless of the specific therapy for what is causing it. Therefore, it should be noted that the diet for cats with colitis should be complementary to the treatment.

Cats with colitis can be greatly benefited by a fast solid initial for a few hours (between 6 and 12 hours), if the veterinarian considers it appropriate and as long as there are no contraindications. Fresh water should be at your disposal, unless you are told otherwise, something rare.

The so-called soft diet, very easy to do in dogs, has a drawback in this case: that we have a cat. In general, they are neophobic in food, and in everything, and systematically reject everything they have not known in the first months of life. Starting to take small amounts of a quality protein, such as chicken breast or cooked turkey, with some fermented milk, such as fresh cheese or plain yogurt, and some source of carbohydrates with fiber such as brown rice, is something that felines do not they usually consider it an appetizing option, however hungry they may be if they have not eaten it before. Therefore, almost all brands of feed have a range called “gastrointestinal”, in extruded feed or wet food, to help in the recovery of colitis. The protein source and one high amount of prebiotic fiber they are the basis of the success of these products.

However, if we are lucky enough to have a less sybaritic cat in terms of culinary tastes, a valid option if our economy does not allow us to acquire one of these feeds is the bland diet combined with pre / probiotic envelopes, quite affordable, in paste or gel. A small amount of food, several times a day, can help intestinal transit to regularize.

The monitoring of the diet during 3-5 days, in addition to the pre / probiotics, can resolve the diarrhea when it is due to situations of sudden change of diet, stress, excessive intake of any food that we could steal our cats from the table without we have noticed, or when a drug can give a gastrointestinal reaction. If the cause of colitis in cats is one of the mentioned pathologies, remember that it is fundamental to follow the instructions of the veterinarian.

This article is merely informative, in .com we do not have the faculty to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Colitis in cats – Symptoms and treatment, we recommend that you enter in our section of intestinal problems.

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