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diarrhoea in cats

Feeding Newborn Kitten

What is diarrhoea?


•   When cats have diarrhoea their normally firm stools (faeces) become soft or liquid.

•   Cats with diarrhoea may need to go to their litter tray more often, and some may have accidents outside of the tray if they cannot get to it in time.


Differentials (what could be causing my cat to have diarrhoea?)


•  There are lots of causes of diarrhoea in cats.

•  Below are a few of the more common causes:

◦   Diet – A sudden change to a new food or finding something unusual to eat outside can cause diarrhoea.

◦   Parasites – worms can cause diarrhoea in cats.

◦   Infection – there are several possible infectious causes of diarrhoea in cats, some like Campylobacter, Salmonella and giardia can cause tummy upsets in people too.

◦   Foreign body – this means having eaten something they shouldn't have and it getting stuck! We often find cats with something stuck are vomiting as well, but not always!

◦   Inflammatory bowel disease – just like people cats can get IBD.

◦   Cancer

◦   Thyroid disease


Diagnosis of diarrhoea


•   Stool (faecal) sample – we can send off a stool sample to the lab for them to grow to see if any infectious causes are identified.

•   Blood tests – We often run a blood profile that will give us more information about your cat's general health and make sure there are no underlying conditions (like thyroid disease). There are also more specific blood tests we can run if we are worried about how well your cat's intestine is absorbing food.

•   Tummy x-rays

•   Tummy ultrasound

•   Biopsies (taking a little portion of the intestines for the laboratory to see if there are any abnormal cells present)


Treatment of diarrhoea


•   Obviously the treatment given depends on what the cause is!

•   Often we start cats with diarrhoea on a bland, highly digestible diet.

•   We may give you a paste to feed your cat that has a kaolin base to help bind them, and pre-biotics to help rebalance their gut flora.

•   Staying hydrated is vital! So we may recommend a stay in our hospital and a drip.



Prognosis for diarrhoea (how a cat is likely to do afterwards)?


•   Cats with diarrhoea often recover fully with quick and appropriate treatment.

•   Obviously some of the conditions are more serious and may require long term medication.

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