Diarrhea is a symptom of a wide variety of diseases. In order to treat the cat properly, the cause must always be found. Find out here which diseases can be behind chronic diarrhea in cats and how the diagnosis works.
Diarrhea is a symptom and not an independent disease. There are many causes that can cause diarrhea in cats. These include:
- Virus or bacterial infections
- Infestation with worms and unicellular parasites
- A food allergy or intolerance
- Diseases and damage to the liver, kidneys, and pancreas
- overactive thyroid
- tumors in the digestive tract
- Antibiotics are given over a long period of time
- psychological irritable bowel syndrome
You can help your veterinarian with the diagnosis and potentially save yourself a lot of money if you give them a detailed history of your cat’s history and how it is progressing. Important here are:
- duration of illness
- Accompanying symptoms (e.g. vomiting or cravings)
- Description of diarrhea itself (frequency and appearance)
Bacteria And Viruses In Cats
Bacteria or viruses usually do not cause chronic diarrhea and heal with the appropriate treatment after one to two weeks. Leukosis viruses and feline AIDS viruses are an exception. If diarrhea lasts longer than three weeks, a blood test for these diseases should be carried out.
Parasites, Worms, And Protozoa
Worms and protozoa, such as giardia, are quite often the reason for long-lasting diarrhea. You can find them in the feces. If the vet finds no traces of parasites in a stool sample, this does not mean that the cat is free of parasites. In the case of prolonged diarrhea, several stool samples should always be examined.
Feed Allergens As Triggers Of Chronic Diarrhea
The veterinarian diagnoses food allergies by means of treatment attempts. For four weeks, the cat only receives allergy food, a special diet that is free of allergy-causing substances. If the cat responds to this food, i.e. if diarrhea stops, the suspicion arises that the cat is suffering from an allergy. You can now carefully try out which feeds he tolerates. Once you have found out what the cat can eat without reacting with diarrhea, you determine the special menu.
Absolute consistency is important here – the tiniest tidbit in between falsifies the result and you have to start all over again.
Chronic Diarrhea Due To Organ Damage
The veterinarian can determine liver and kidney damage as well as an overactive thyroid gland through a blood test. With the treatment of the underlying diseases, diarrhea will also disappear if the diseases are not too advanced. Diseases of the pancreas in cats are much less common than in dogs. The pancreas is responsible for digesting fat. If it is damaged, the fat is not digested and what is known as fatty stool then occurs.
Intestinal Inflammation As A Cause Of Chronic Diarrhea
Mysterious intestinal inflammations, of which it is not yet known what causes them, are also accompanied by diarrhea. The common feature of these intestinal diseases is that cells of the immune system migrate into the intestinal wall. The intestinal inflammations (enteritis) are named according to the cell type. One distinguishes between:
- Lymphocytic-plasma cellular enteritis
- eosinophilic enteritis
- granulomatous enteritis
While the veterinarian can sometimes prove eosinophilic enteritis with a blood test, he has to take a sample of the intestinal mucosa for the other two. A small surgical procedure is necessary to take the sample (biopsy) and the cat must be put under anesthesia. Accurate diagnosis is important because treatment for cellular inflammatory bowel disease varies.
Treatment Of Intestinal Inflammation In Cats
The treatment differs depending on the type of intestinal inflammation.
- In the case of lymphocytic-plasma cellular enteritis, consistent feeding with food for allergic cats can lead to an improvement. If this does not help, you can try to treat against Giardia (unicellular parasites). Only when both treatment attempts have failed does the cat have to be given corticosteroids (cortisone) to reduce the inflammation, but not for life. After 8-12 weeks, one can dare to slowly end the therapy by gradually reducing the cortisone dose.
- Multiple organs are often affected in eosinophilic enteritis. The cat has to take medication that suppresses the body’s defenses throughout its life. These drugs include corticosteroids and the active ingredient azathioprine, which is used in humans after organ transplants, for example.
- Granulomatous enteritis is very rare. In most cases, the intestinal wall has become so thick during the course of the disease that you can feel the intestine through the abdominal wall. Again, treatment with corticosteroids and azathioprine is required. In severe cases, the thickening of the wall can narrow the intestines so that the chyme can no longer pass through. Then the vet has to surgically remove the narrowing.