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Diarrhea in Cats
It not a very pleasant subject but it is such a common problem that it needs to be discussed, diarrhea. Technically, diarrhea, also known as dysentery, is excessive bowel movement frequency with increased fecal fluidity.
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Diarrhea in Cats Transcript
It not a very pleasant subject but it is such a common problem that I thought I should discuss it, diarrhea. Technically, diarrhea, also known as dysentery, is excessive bowel movement frequency with increased fecal fluidity.
The intestinal tract is pretty amazing. You start at one end with food material that gets ground up, mixed with a concoction of liquids and chemicals, some of which are extremely caustic. This brew allows components of the food to be absorbed and the leftovers are expelled.
Diarrhea can have many causes from internal parasites, bacteria and viruses to one of the most frequent etiologies, especially in dogs, dietary indiscretion. Dogs love to eat first, and think later. Other causes can be primary disorders of the bowels such as inflammation of the intestines, reaction to drugs or toxins, metabolic disorders such as hypoadrenocorticism, Addison's disease, kidney malfunctions, and liver disorders even cancer.
Diarrhea can be acute, of recent onset or it can be chronic, ongoing for extended periods of time.
Diarrhea is also broadly categorized as either small or large bowel in origin. With small bowel diarrhea, loss of weight and condition is seen. This is due to the body's inability to properly absorb nutrients from the ingested food.
My clients often ask me what they can do at home. I will always consul a pet owner that it is ok to attempt symptomatic care for a few days as long as their pet is not vomiting and appears to be in good spirits. If the pet is lethargic, losing weight and condition, if the owner notices blood in the stool or vomit or if the signs seem to be worsening, bring the pet in immediately.
Diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration. If you lift your pet's skin located between the shoulder blades and it does not quickly return to the starting position but rather retains the `pinched appearance, your pet is dehydrated. It needs to be seen by your veterinarian, now.
For mild, acute diarrhea without vomiting, a bland diet will often suffice. For a dog, try boiled rice mixed 50:50 with boiled ground meat. You will want to boil the meat in order to remove any excess fat. Some dogs will prefer cottage cheese mixed with instant mashed potatoes that are made with only warm water, not butter or milk. Again combine these ingredients 50:50.
Cats don't seem to be fans of boiled rice or potatoes. I have found that all meat human baby food to which you add instant baby rice cereal, pabulum, and some warm water is more appealing to feline taste buds.
Small, multiple meals are suggested. Feed the bland diet until the stool is normalized. This may take a few days. Then gradually add in the regular diet with each meal until you are feeding only the usual fare.
It is tempting to try over the counter human anti-diarrheal medications but I don't recommend you do this without contacting your veterinarian first.
If your pet's condition dictates a trip to your veterinarian, be sure to ask all members of the family if they have been feeding something different. Also check to see if they are aware of any clothing, toy or other items that have been chewed up. Even if your pet has never chewed and swallowed foreign material in the past, there is always a first time. You would be amazed at what dogs will eat. And oh yes, be sure to bring in a fresh stool sample.