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Diarrhea in cats: 5 possible causes

Diarrhea is a disorder that can occur in cats spontaneously or chronically. Anyway, it should never be underestimated, because it can hide serious disorders and illnesses. For an appropriate response to diarrhea, it is important to understand its origin in order to put in place an adequate treatment as soon as possible. Let’s discover the 5 main causes of feline diarrhea.

What are the 5 possible causes of diarrhea in cats?

Diarrhea can manifest in the cat’s small or large intestine. Be that as it may, five main causes have been identified.

Food origins

Cats have a very sensitive digestive system. Food can therefore very easily become a factor in diarrhoea. This can occur in the event of a food allergy or intolerance, but also in the event of ingestion of an inappropriate diet or a too sudden change of food.

Infectious origins

Diarrhea is often caused by the presence of parasites (roundworms, cestodes, etc.), bacteria (salmonella, campylobacter, etc.) or viruses. These include feline leukosis (FeLV), feline coronavirus, feline panleukopenia and cat AIDS (FIV) which are viral diseases accompanied by diarrhea.

The toxic origins

A cat victim of poisoning or intoxication (medication, plant, chemical or household product, etc.) often suffers from diarrhea.

Metabolic origins

Certain tumors in the digestive tract and certain pathologies such as pancreatitis, hepatitis or hyperthyroidism can cause more or less significant diarrhea in felines.

The idiopathic origins

When it is not possible to determine the causes of diarrhea, it is called an idiopathic symptom.

What are the symptoms of feline diarrhea? What diagnosis?

The cat can suffer from acute diarrhea – or spontaneous – or chronic diarrhea – or prolonged. While diarrhea can occur on its own, it is usually accompanied by other symptoms that help identify the cause.

The cat may show the following symptoms:

  • stools of liquid, pasty consistency,
  • blood-stained stools,
  • disorders during defecation (pain, difficulty, etc.),
  • more or less intense fatigue,
  • fever,
  • a fast or slow heart rate,
  • general dehydration
  • vomiting and nausea,
  • abdominal pain,
  • loss of weight and appetite,
  • muscle weakness.

Diarrhea should never be underestimated in cats, as the little feline becomes dehydrated very quickly. It is therefore important to consult the veterinarian as soon as possible in order to put in place an appropriate solution.

To identify the cause of the diarrhea, the practitioner examines the animal and can ask his master about the signs observed. This can help in making a diagnosis. Of course, additional examinations may be necessary, such as a blood test, a stool analysis (virological, bacteriological or parasitological examination), an X-ray or an ultrasound. If the veterinarian suspects a food intolerance or allergy, he can suggest the implementation of an exclusion diet in order to identify the food in question.

How to treat diarrhea in cats? Can we prevent it?

Two categories of treatments can be implemented in case of feline diarrhea.

Symptomatic treatments

These treatments are intended to relieve the symptoms and disorders that occur concomitantly with the diarrhea. It could be :

  • antiemetics in case of nausea and vomiting,
  • painkillers,
  • intravenous infusion in case of severe dehydration,
  • gastric dressings in case of digestive disorders,
  • tube feeding,
  • the establishment of a restrictive diet in case of food allergy or intolerance.

Specific treatments

Depending on the origin of the diarrhea, the veterinarian can put in place a specific treatment intended to cure it. It could be :

  • the establishment of a new diet (temporary or permanent) with foods that are easy to digest and well tolerated by the cat,
  • treatment with antibiotics in case of infection,
  • deworming in case of parasitic invasion,
  • emetic products in certain cases of poisoning or intoxication,
  • surgery in the event of a tumor or an abnormal position of the organs.

It is not always easy to prevent diarrhea in cats, especially depending on the origin of this disorder. In any case, it is recommended to ensure the well-being of the animal by providing it with quality food, well adapted to its needs and easily digestible. It is necessary to avoid any abrupt dietary change and to proceed systematically gently to accustom his digestive system to tolerate the novelty.

In addition, it is recommended to deworm your animal two to four times a year (every three to six months) to eliminate internal parasites. Finally, of course, it is essential to consult the veterinarian at the slightest suspicious sign. Early management allows earlier diagnosis and preserves the animal’s good health by improving the prognosis.

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