For Registered Clients
Why does my cat have diarrhoea?
Diarrhoea is less common in cats than it is in dogs, but it does occur. A cat’s normal faeces are dark brown in colour (ranging from chocolate to a brownish-grey to almost black), and are well formed. Any dramatic change in colour, softening of the faeces or wateriness needs monitoring and often further investigation.
However, there are a huge range of different possible causes - sadly, “diarrhoea” is not a diagnosis, just one symptom! The commoner causes include:
Sudden changes in diet will result in diarrhoea even in a healthy cat, although it’s most common in younger cats, specially when weaning.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Well firstly it’s not nice for you and it’s not nice for them either! Ongoing diarrhoea also leads to dehydration, which can lead to shock and even be fatal if not corrected. In addition, infectious agents are transmitted in the diarrhoea - so other cats or even people may become infected after contact with it. Finally, diarrhoea may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Chronic diarrhoea ultimately leads to weight loss and this in turn can lead to other problems such as organ failure.
If your cat is otherwise well and the diarrhoea is mild, close monitoring and feeding an easily digestible diet (chicken or white fish, or a commercial intestinal diet) for a few days will often see the symptoms resolve on their own. Other supportive care includes the use of probiotics and antidiarrhoeal pastes, and electrolyte mixtures to drink.
However, if the problem isn’t resolving on its own after 2-3 days, if it is very severe or contains blood, or if your cat seems unwell or unhappy in themselves, we need to see them.
There are a number of different diagnostic methods we can use to try and work out what’s causing the diarrhoea. These may include:
Well, it depends on what the cause is! For most mild acute diarrhoeas, the supportive treatment listed above is usually sufficient, whether it’s viral, dietary or bacterial.
In more severe cases, treatment of the specific disease is needed:
Cats and dogs with diarrhoea are one of the most common things we see at Bilton Vets, so if your cat has a problem and you don’t know what to do, then call us for advice on 01788 812650.
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