Monday, February 17, 2014


Good morning!  34 degrees this morning :)   Supposed to be nice this afternoon.  70's by Friday.

Today is the FELV+ room LIVE on
We will have chat at 6 pm & Boxes 6:30pm EST.   We hope you will join us :)

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Riley has Megacolon and has spent the last 3 days in the hospital.   The article below will explain to you what megacolon is.

Megacolon in Cats
                                 by Jill Anne Sparapany 

Constipation is common in cats. It refers to prolonged time for food to travel through the digestive system. When food passage is delayed, the feces becomes hard and dry, making it more difficult to pass.
Obstipation refers to prolonged constipation. The colon is normal in size and function, but the stool is too hard to pass.The vet will need to perform “deobstipation”, under anesthesia the stool is manually pushed through the colon by external abdominal manipulation. Enemas may be given by the vet.
Megacolon is severe constipation in which the large intestine (colon) becomes physically enlarged and impacted with hard stool.

Idiopathic megacolon occurs in almost two-thirds of the cases and no cause can be identified, however, it is thought to be related to abnormal smooth muscle function of the colon.
Other causes:
Narrowing of pelvis, often related to pelvic fractures
Nerve injury
Spinal cord deformities (especially in Manx cats)
Rarely, inflammation and cancer

Constipation and megacolon occurs in cats of any age, breed and gender, but are more common in middle-age cats and domestic shorthairs. Male cats are twice as likely to develop these conditions. Sedentary lifestyle contributes to the development of constipation and obesity can affect the course of the disease.

Symptoms of constipation and megacolon:
Amount of stool is absent or reduced and consistency is hard and dry
Straining in the litter box
Long periods of time standing in the litter box without stooling
Continual return to the litter box to try to defecate without success
May defecate outside of the litter box
With severe straining, mucous or blood may be passed
Vomiting, even while straining to pass stool
With increased severity, decreased appetite and weight loss may be seen

If due to pelvic or nerve injury, urinary incontinence may occur

Diagnosis of constipation and megacolon:
Complete history and physical exam, may include neurological exam
Labs – complete blood count, chemistry panel and urinalysis to eliminate other health problems
Thyroid test may be done
Abdominal x-rays, which may identify pelvic narrowing or foreign bodies in the intestine
The abdominal x-rays may show large amounts of stool in the intestines

Treatment of constipation and megacolon:
Mild constipation responds well to increasing fiber in the diet, food change to one with more fiber or adding pumpkin, wheat bran or psyllium (Metamucil) to each meal. Ask the vet for recommendations on amounts of these additives to feed your cat.
It is very important to increase the amount of water your cat drinks when on these diets.

If the constipation becomes more severe or recurrent, the cat will need to be hospitalized to correct dehydration.

Medications can be given to prevent constipation:
Colonic prokinetic meds. Cisapride stimulates the movement of food through the GI tract. It is prescription only available through compounding pharmacies.
Lactulose is a laxative and stool softener. Other laxatives may also by tried.
Personal note: Carrot became very constipated due to fur-impacted hard stool. We have success with Miralax 1/2 teaspoon daily (no flavor, easy mix powder) and petroleum jelly (given mixed in wet food, which becomes ‘mineral oil’ in the GI tract per my vet). Adjust amounts of Miralax based on stool looseness. Also he needs regular brushing!

Dietary changes to prevent constipation:
Highly digestible foods will produce less fecal material and may be recommended instead of a fiber-supplemented diet.
High fiber diets should not be used with chronic constipation or megacolon! All meat diets are recommended.

If conservative treatment does not resolve the megacolon, surgery may be needed. Colectomy, partial or full removal of the colon, is done. Post-op prognosis is good but some cats may have diarrhea for weeks or months after surgery.