Megacolon: A Guide For Cat Owners

Pets & Animals Blog

Cats, like humans and all other animals, can sometimes develop ailments of the digestive tract. Sometimes, these ailments are minor and resolve on their own. But other times, they are more severe and require treatment at an animal hospital. As a cat owner, it is important for you to know the difference. One specific ailment of the cat digestive tract to be aware of is megacolon. Here are the details you should know as a cat owner.

What is megacolon?

Megacolon is essentially a serious form of constipation that can happen in cats. The colon, which is the latter part of the digestive tract, becomes stretched out and impacted with feces. Since these feces then remain in the colon for too long, they start hardening and drying out, which makes them even harder for the cat to pass. 

How do you know your cat has megacolon?

The symptoms of megacolon may initially mimic those of any other digestive ailment. Your cat may meow, as if in pain, while they defecate. They may also be grouchy when you touch their stomach, and they'll likely stop eating. As the condition progresses, though, the symptoms become more clear. The abdomen will start to look distended, and the cat will start vomiting. The cat may strain in an attempt to defecate but will pass little to no stool. 

What should you do if you think your cat has megacolon?

Definitely take your cat to the veterinary hospital ASAP if you suspect they have megacolon. This condition does not get better on its own. Your vet will perform an x-ray or ultrasound to see where the impaction is and how severe it is. Once they confirm that megacolon is, in fact, to blame for your cat's symptoms, they will devise a treatment plan.

How is megacolon treated?

Usually, a vet will treat megacolon with a combination of laxatives and enemas. Your cat may be given anesthesia so that the feces can be manually removed from the colon through the rectum. After the initial impaction is cleared, the vet will likely put your cat on a high-fiber, high-moisture diet. This should reduce the risk of megacolon occurring again. However, cats who develop this condition once are at a higher risk of then developing it again.

With any luck, your cat will never develop megacolon. But now, if he or she does, you will at least be familiar with the condition and how to handle it.

Contact an animal care hospital to learn more. 


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