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Intestinal obstruction in cats – Symptoms and treatment

When a intestinal obstruction in cats, the feline’s health will decrease until the condition puts his life in danger. Now you’re wondering, What to do in case of intestinal obstruction in a cat? Diagnosis from symptoms and early treatment are key factors in the likelihood of a full recovery. It is a serious health problem, therefore, it should be taken seriously and immediate veterinary attention is strongly recommended.

The intestinal obstruction is a common condition which occurs when the stomach or intestines are partially or completely blocked, which may restrict the flow of nutrients and / or secretions within the intestinal area and lead to tissue necrosis. The condition is Very painful, so we will explain in detail what to do when this unfortunate problem arises.

Symptoms of paralyzed intestine in cats

Cats that experience a bowel obstruction will usually feel bad. If you know your pet well you will notice immediately that something is not going well.

The symptoms of intestinal obstruction in cats are:

  • Threw up
  • Anorexia (the individual does not eat)
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy (extreme fatigue)
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Abnormal body temperature
  • Electrolyte imbalances (will exhibit a marked increase in thirst and excessive urination / urination)
  • Crying and / or whining
  • Lack of willingness to lie down
  • Depression

In some cases, due to general malaise, can be aggressive to any demonstration of affection on our part, since you will be in a state of little tolerance and want to be alone all the time. You should never get angry with your cat, just the opposite: you should quickly seek the advice of a veterinarian to receive a diagnosis and thus start the most appropriate treatment.

Causes of intestinal obstruction in cats

La ingestion of foreign bodies is the main cause, the most common being intestinal obstruction due to hair balls in cats. This problem usually occurs more frequently in young cats, because due to their short age and lack of toilet experience, they tend to be more prone to ingest inappropriate objects that can cause them harm.

Other possible factors of the condition include:

  • Tumor
  • Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Hernia Intussusception (caused by intestinal parasites in cats)
  • Bowel twist
  • Polyps
  • Overgrowth of stomach tissue
  • Pyloric stenosis

In the latter case, it is noteworthy that it is more common in dogs, but there are also many cases in cats, since it is an abnormally narrow pyloric channel that inhibits the flow of food and fluids, from the stomach to the small intestine.

You opt for a surgery that involves expanding the pylorus. As mentioned above, it is not one of the most common causes in cats, but in case the situation arises, most experts point to surgical intervention so that the animal can lead a normal life.

Diagnosis of intestinal obstruction in cats

After a thorough review of the cat’s medical history, the veterinarian will discuss the appearance of the symptoms, the cat’s eating habits, and whether he has access to objects such as ropes and sewing needles. If the owners suspect that the cat may have ingested a particular object, the veterinarian must be notified.

There will be a Physical exam and a standard set of laboratory tests will be ordered. This will often include a complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistry profile, urinalysis and electrolyte panel. Abdominal palpation by the veterinarian may indicate swelling or other intestinal irregularities.

Visual diagnoses can be requested that include radiographs or ultrasound and an endoscopy is likely. In addition to providing a visual image of the intestines, an endoscope may also be used to remove tissue samples for biopsy and / or to remove foreign bodies that have been ingested.

Treatment of intestinal obstruction in cats

Intestinal obstruction in cats often requires hospitalization. The course of treatment will depend on the severity of the symptoms and the size, location and origin of the block.


If the affected cat is experiencing extreme dehydration or electrolyte imbalance, it will be necessary to stabilize it before other treatments are given. It is likely that fluids and electrolytes are administered intravenously and, in some cases, can be administer plasma.

Intestinal obstruction – Natural treatment in cats

When the obstruction is caused by a hair ball, the veterinarian can choose to administer laxatives and check the cat for several days to see if it expels the ball before recommending surgery. This treatment option can also occur when the presence of a linear foreign body is detected, such as thread or rope, shortly after ingestion. Laxatives should only be administered under veterinary supervision and owners should never attempt to remove objects protruding from a cat’s rectum.

In most cases, the veterinarian will try to remove foreign objects using a endoscope. This technique is less invasive than surgery, but it is difficult to guarantee that no waste remains in the intestinal tract. Endoscopes can not remove large objects like rocks either.

Operation for intestinal obstruction in cats

When attempts to remove the foreign body using an endoscope have not been successful, it is likely that the Surgical removal under anesthesia. During this process, the veterinarian will locate the blockage and make a small incision in the stomach or intestine to remove it. Once the surgeon has confirmed that all foreign material has been removed, the incisions will be closed with sutures.

Recovery of intestinal obstruction in cats

When veterinary care is provided in a timely manner, the prognosis for affected cats is generally positive as long as there are no surgical complications. After surgery, they will be prescribed analgesics and antibiotics and it is possible that the cat must remain in the hospital for several days.

Once the cat can retain food and fluids, he can return home. Then you must remain calm and be offered a quiet place to recover away from children and other pets. You have to be very careful to avoid that the cat licks the sutures, so you can opt for a Elizabethan collar or any of the alternatives to the Elizabethan collar, always recommended by the veterinarian.

Owners should closely monitor the cat for signs of dehydration or infection. They should only be administered soft foods during the first days to avoid further irritation, such as a soft diet for cats with diarrhea.

Sutures should be removed between 7 and 10 days after surgery, and follow-up appointments will be needed to ensure adequate healing. Precautions should be taken to prevent the cat from eating objects in the future. This may include the covering of garbage cans and the maintenance of dangerous objects such as threads and ropes out of reach.

Intestinal obstruction in cats – Home treatment

It is essential to point out that, in this type of situation, always It is mandatory to take our pet to the vet. The treatment of intestinal obstruction in cats by a specialist will always be safer and more effective and, at the same time, we will not put at risk the life of our beloved feline companion.

However, you can always help in the recovery process from our house, or in case the problem is not so serious and the veterinarian decides that your cat can continue their treatment at home. We have developed an article with very useful instructions to facilitate the recovery process and help your pet, so, do not hesitate to read all about constipation in cats – symptoms and home remedies. Yes, do not forget consult with the specialist which of these guidelines may be useful in your case.

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 Intestinal obstruction in cats – Symptoms and treatment, we recommend that you enter in our section of intestinal problems.

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