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Constipation in Cats

By: Dr.Bari Spielman

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Diagnosis

The diagnosis is usually made by a supportive history and physical examination findings. However, there are many tests that may also help. The following is a list of the most common tests that your veterinarian may recommend:

  • Baseline blood tests to include a complete blood count (CBC), biochemical profile, and urinalysis

  • Abdominal radiographs (X-rays)

  • Abdominal ultrasound

    Treatment

    There are several things your veterinarian might recommend to treat your cat with constipation symptomatically, prior to instituting a full diagnostic work up.

  • If an underlying cause has been identified, remove it if possible.

  • Discontinue any medications that may cause constipation. Your veterinarian will advise.

  • Alter the diet to include bulking agents such as methylcellulose, bran, or pumpkin.

  • Promote frequent exercise.

  • If a cat is severely impacted and/or dehydrated, it may be necessary to hospitalize for fluids, enemas, and possible manual removal of feces, which often necessitates general anesthesia.

    Home Care and Prevention

    Your veterinarian may recommend some treatments at home. These may include:

  • The use of lubricants, suppositories or laxatives.

  • Warm, soapy water enemas. Do not use over the counter enemas unless directed by your veterinarian. Some may be toxic to your cat.

  • Abdominal palpation. Owners of chronically constipated cats may be taught to palpate their cat's colon abdominally to detect constipation before it progresses to obstipation.

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