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Q. My one year old cat ,who I adopted from the shelter two months ago, has had diarrhea since Saturday. I took her to the vet Monday. She still has it.

Answered By
DEBI MATLACK

A. Diarrhea can be caused by a number of problems, ranging from parasites to diet change to stress. If your vet did not deworm her as a precaution, regardless of the results of a fecal exam, I recommend that be done. Broad spectrum dewormer is mild and will do no harm and could only help.

If her diet has recently changed when you adopted her, especially if she was switched to a new food without a gradual transition, this could also be a factor. Some cats have chronic diarrhea and those cats can often benefit from a therapeutic diet with higher fiber or a commercial raw diet. Royal Canin makes a prescription diet called Fiber Response that I have seen work wonders with cats with chronic digestive conditions. And the raw diet has worked where nothing else has.

Give her some time to settle in, it usually takes more than a few days for diarrhea to resolve. If deworming and time don't improve her diarrhea, try a new food, but be careful to gradually transition her. Offer the old food in one bowl and a mix of 1/4 new food and 3/4 old food in another bowl next to it. Do this for a week, then offer 1/2-1/2 new/old food in the second bowl for a week. Change to 3/4 new-1/4 old for a week and gradually stop putting old food in the first bowl. By the end of the month she should be transitioned to the new food with a minimum of digestive upset.

Answered By
DESTINI R. HOLLOWAY, DVM

A. I would be interested to know what medications your vet prescribed and what tests were ran here? Diarrhea in cats is a non-specific thing and can mean several things could be going on including: intestinal parasites, dietary indiscretion, Inflammatory bowel disease.
First off I would recommend a fecal examination. If no parasites are found then a trial of antibiotics would be prescribed as long as your pet is not showing overt signs of illness (i.e. lethargy, not eating, vomiting). I would also prescribe probiotics (i.e. Fortiflora or Proviable), over the counter Culturelle can also help in some cases.
This would be my starting point in treatment and it can take 48-72 hrs from the start of medication to begin to harden the stools up. If the diarrhea is worse in that time frame then additional diagnostics would be needed, such as bloodwork and abdominal radiographs to look for other possible causes so that this is treated appropriately.

Answered By
DR. LEIGH PUSATERI, DVM

A. Without knowing more information, it is hard to determine the exact cause of the diarrhea. I would call your veterinarian and give him/her an update that the diarrhea hasn't resolved. If they didn't run a fecal test then I would recommend one be submitted to rule out parasites. It could also be secondary to infection or inflammatory bowel disease. Talk to your vet about prescribing a drug called metronidazole, if that hasn't been tried already.


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