What is Colitis in Cats?

Feline colitis is a chronic bowel condition caused by inflammation of the colon. The final part of the large intestine is usually known as the colon. This is the lowermost part of the digestive tract responsible for the final stages of the digestive process. The colon is accountable for storing and removing water from feces before they are eliminated from the body. When the colon’s lining becomes irritated and inflamed, the colon’s ability to absorb moisture from the feces is impaired, resulting in loose, watery, and occasionally bloody feces. In some cases, the colon may become inflamed and rupture.

Colitis in cats can be acute, onset rapidly and lasting only a few days, chronic, requiring treatment for at least two to three weeks, or episodic, presenting and disappearing at various times during the year. The occurrence of acute colitis in cats is pretty standard, and the majority of the time, it resolves on its own. On the other hand, it is critical to watch for signs of recurrence or worsening the problem. Chronic feline colitis is more common in middle-aged or older cats, and it is frequently connected with an underlying medical issue in these cats.

5 Most Common Causes of Colitis

  1. Anxiety: One of the most widespread causes of cat anxiety is a change in habit, such as moving or adopting a new companion. Another cause is a change in nutrition, which can cause the cat to become depressed. If your cat’s colitis is caused by stress, you may help by making sure that his or her environment is pleasant and by reestablishing a new routine to relieve his or her anxiety.
  2. Infections caused by bacteria and parasites: Salmonella and campylobacter are two bacteria that have the potential to cause colitis, and if your cat becomes infected with parasites like giardia, intestinal worms, or roundworms, colitis will almost certainly occur. Your veterinarian might prescribe deworming treatments to help eradicate the worms.
  3. An allergy or food intolerance: Your cat may get diarrhea in case of an allergic reaction or food intolerance. If your cat is allergic or intolerant to an ingredient in anything they consume, they may experience diarrhea. Colonic colitis can be resolved by making dietary modifications.
  4. Eating the wrong thing: If your cat eats anything that they shouldn’t be eating, such as a plant or garbage, they may develop colitis due to the mistake. Fortunately, if you can hunt down the thing that your cat is ingesting and prevent them from consuming it in the future, you will be able to address the problem rather quickly.
  5. Illnesses: Colitis can sometimes indicate a more serious medical problem, which is why it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian if diarrhea lasts for more than a few days. It is possible to develop colitis as a result of pancreatitis, cancer, the feline leukemia virus (FeLV), the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), or irritable bowel syndrome (IBD). If this is the case, the underlying cause of colitis and its symptoms must be addressed.

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Symptoms of Colitis in Cats

Colitis symptoms can range from being random and moderate to being persistent and severe at different times. Cats suffering from colitis may exhibit any or all of the following symptoms, which you may notice as their owner.

Symptoms associated with feces that are typically noticed in cats with acute, chronic, and episodic colitis include:

  • Frequent diarrhea — feces may start solid but watery and loose at the end of the day.
  • Constantly squeezing the toilet seat
  • A cat appears to be constipated (tenesmus)
  • The expulsion that is difficult or painful (dyschezia)
  • Abnormally frequent bowel movements with little waste passing
  • The presence of bright, fresh crimson blood in the feces (hematochezia)
  • Mucus found in the feces
  • When there is an increased sense of urgency, defecating outside the litter box is more likely to occur.

Other Reasons for Colitis in Cats

Colon inflammation can be caused by various circumstances, ranging from ingestion of human food products to the presence of parasites and fungi in the cat’s gastrointestinal tract (colonization). Several disorders, including hyperthyroidism and diabetes, have been linked to colitis in cats and can cause or contribute to the condition. It is critical to determine the particular cause of feline colitis in each case to provide an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

The following are some of the most common reasons for colitis in cats:

  • A hypersensitivity reaction to antibiotics or other medications
  • Allergic reaction to a protein antigen is found in cattle, wheat, or corn.
  • Infectious agents such as Bacterial infections, Viral infections, Agents of the fungus.
  • A viral infection such as (FeLV) Feline leukemia virus, the Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and Feline infectious peritonitis may cause colitis in cats.
  • There are several types of primary gastrointestinal diseases, including:
    • Colon inflammatory illnesses that are specific to the colon (different cell types found in the colon may be predominantly inflamed)
    • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBD)
    • Acute infectious enteritis (acute infectious gastroenteritis)
  • Cats may be suffering from a primary disease or disorder that is causing or contributing to their colitis or colitis-like symptoms, such as:
  • Cancers of the colon and bowel
  • Diabetes

What is the Procedure for Diagnosing Colitis in Cats?

If your cat’s diarrhea persists for more than a few days, or if diarrhea becomes a recurring problem, you must take him to the veterinarian to determine the cause. Colitis is a problematic ailment requiring a precise diagnosis before effective treatment can be instituted to alleviate symptoms. In addition to colitis, other disorders that elicit similar clinical signs in cats should be considered when a cat is being tested for colitis.

Because there are numerous potential causes of colitis in cats, you will need to provide your veterinarian with a thorough history of your cat, including the following information:

  • Symptoms that you have seen
  • Exposure to other cats within the last few weeks
  • Diet, as well as any recent modifications to it
  • Anything unusual that your cat may have eaten, such as people food, rubbish, or other household items
  • Anywhere your cat may have gone that was out of the ordinary

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Life Expectancy

  • The prognosis for cats suffering from colitis varies widely depending on the underlying cause of the ailment and the efficiency of the treatment administered. The forecast for long-term control is favorable if the underlying cause is identified and eradicated or successfully controlled. The majority of infectious causes of colitis can be treated. However, if medication fails to alleviate the cat’s colitis, colon cancer, or another major illness or disorder may be at play, which would significantly alter the prognosis.

Treatment for Colitis in Cats

  • The therapeutic goals of feline colitis treatment are to alleviate pain and discomfort while restoring normal bowel function. Identifying and treating an underlying medical problem producing colitis or colitis symptoms must be the first step in treating colitis or symptoms of colitis.
  • Treatment will be determined by the sources of the inflammation, the frequency and severity of symptoms, and the patient’s overall health. Acute colitis frequently resolves on its own within a few days without the need for medical intervention; however, chronic or episodic colitis virtually always needs medical intervention. While colitis can be treated when the cause is an infection or parasite, in most cases, it can only be controlled by adequate medical therapy and dietary adjustment.

Dietary Modifications

It is possible that modifying the cat’s food will alleviate colitis symptoms, which will usually occur within a week of making the modifications. In cats, there is no one optimum diet that will consistently regularly help colitis. Your veterinarian may advise you to try one or more of the following options:

  • It is recommended to fast for 24 to 48 hours to rest the digestive system and assist reduce the severity of colitis (under the supervision of a veterinarian).
  • A bland diet consists of rice servings, fat-free plain yogurt, pumpkin, and plain cooked chicken.
  • Adding soluble fiber to the diet (in food or supplements, such as psyllium) might help ease straining and discomfort; the amount of fiber consumed can be gradually lowered over time.
  • Fatty acid supplements – These supplements help to soothe the inflamed lining of the colon.
  • If you experience a food allergy or intolerance, try an elimination diet, which involves eliminating certain items from your diet.
  • Unique protein diet — A single, novel kind of protein, such as deer, lamb, or rabbit, is included in the diet (vet-prescribed is preferable to over-the-counter, which may contain allergens not listed on the label)
  • One protein source, usually soy or rice, that has been subjected to a process that renders them highly digestible is called a hydrolyzed diet.
  • This diet, which contains highly fermentable fibers, can promote “good” bacteria while inhibiting some pathogenic bacteria in the gut.

Medication

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – to aid in speedier recovery
  • An oral motility modulator thickens the feces and provides symptomatic relief until the inflammation has been controlled.
  • If intestinal parasites are discovered, anti-parasitic and deworming medicine will be prescribed.
  • If the dietary change fails, antibiotics can be used to alter the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the colon. They can be helpful even when a bacterial cause of colitis has not been identified.
  • In addition, probiotics, which are living microorganisms taken alone or in combination with antibiotics, can effectively alter the gut bacteria for the duration of the time they are born.
  • The use of immunosuppressive medications – corticosteroids – in severe cases or when food modification and antibiotic therapies have failed, requiring close supervision by the veterinarian is recommended.

Hospitalization

If the colitis is severe, mainly if the diarrhea is severe, hospitalization may be required. Diarrhea can induce dangerous dehydration, which necessitates the administration of IV fluids and electrolyte replacement.

Factors Related to the Environment

  • Ensure that clean, readily available drinking water is readily available and easily accessible.
  • Create a peaceful, quiet, and safe indoor environment for the animal, preferably away from other animals if at all possible.

Prevention

Some of the most effective ways to keep your pet healthy are to monitor what he eats, to keep him free of parasites by administering monthly preventives, and to send his fecal samples to your veterinarian—especially if he spends time outside. Keeping him away from the trash and other unusual (but delicious) foods, such as people’s food, as well as limiting his contact with other cats, can also help to keep her from becoming unwell in the long run.

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