Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Constipation

Contributor(s): Philip K Nicholls, Aarti Kathrani

Introduction

  • Cause: prolonged gastrointestinal transit time of multiple etiologies.
  • Signs: tenesmus, hard and dry feces, anorexia, lethargy, vomiting.
  • Diagnosis: history, clinical signs, serum biochemistry, abdominal radiographs.
  • Treatment: diet, lactulose, cisapride, enemas and occasionally manual removal.
  • Prognosis: good for resolution of signs but may recur.
  • May progress to megacolon Megacolon.
  • Severe megacolon as a result of chronic constipation may become refractory to medical management necessitating surgery with subtotal colectomy.
    Print off the owner factsheet Constipation in your cat Constipation in your cat to give to you client.

Pathogenesis

Predisposing factors

General

Pathophysiology

  • Cats can retain feces in the colon for long periods without deleterious effects.
  • Prolonged retention results in increased water resorption →  harder drier feces.
  • Resorption of toxins may also occur →  vomiting.
  • Vomiting can also result from vagal stimulation of vomiting center as a result of bowel wall stretching.
  • Diarrhea results from the ability of loose feces only to pass obstruction or irritation of hard feces on mucosal lining. Also, diarrhea may result from inflammatory bowel disease Inflammatory bowel disease: overview.

Timecourse

  • Days to weeks for constipation to develop.
  • Predisposing factors may be present for years.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Rossi G, Jergens A, Cerquetella M et al (2017) Effects of a probiotic (SLAb51™) on clinical and histologic variables and microbiota of cats with chronic constipation/megacolon: a pilot study. Benef Microbes (1), 101-10 PubMed.
  • Chandler M (2013) Focus on nutrition: dietary management of gastrointestinal disease. Compend Contin Educ Vet 35 (6), E1-3 PubMed.
  • Barnes D C (2012) Subtotal colectomy by rectal pull-through for treatment of idiopathic megacolon in 2 cats. Can Vet J 53 (7), 780-782 PubMed.
  • White R (2002) Surgical management of constipation. J Feline Med Surg (3), 129-138 PubMed.
  • McCauley M D (1996) Dosage consideration for cisapride. JAVMA 208 (2), 184 PubMed.
  • Smith M C, Davies N L (1996) Obstipation following ovariohysterectomy in a cat. Vet Rec 138 (7), 163 PubMed.
  • Trout N J (1994) Obstipation secondary to coccygeal vertebral separation in a cat. Vet Rec 135 (20), 483 PubMed.
  • Rosin F (1993) Megacolon in cats - the role of colectomy. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 23 (3), 587-594 PubMed.
  • Matthiesen D T, Scavelli T D, Whitney W O (1991) Subtotal colectomy for the treatment of obstipation secondary to pelvic fracture malunion in cats. Vet Surg 20 (2), 113-117 PubMed.
  • Muir P, Goldsmid S E, Bellenger C R (1991) Megacolon in a cat following ovariohysterectomy. Vet Rec 129 (23), 512-513 PubMed.
  • Dimski D S (1989) Constipation - pathophysiology, diagnostic approach, and treatment. Semin Vet Med Surg Small Anim (3), 247-254 PubMed.
  • Rosin E, Walshaw R, Mehlhaff C et al (1988) Subtotal colectomy for treatment of chronic constipation associated with idiopathic megacolon in cats: 38 cases (1979-1985)​. JAVMA 193 (7), 850-853 PubMed.
  • August J R (1983) Gastrointestinal disorders of the cat. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 13 (3), 585-597 PubMed.


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