Why you shouldn’t neglect diarrhoea in cats

We all understand that diarrhoea has been used as the most common excuse in the world of humans. Little does it matter in the animal kingdom! However, when it comes to our little felines, it is not to be taken lightly

Dr J VenkhateshUpdated: Friday, November 25, 2022, 09:14 PM IST
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Cats behave differently than dogs, as they suppress disease expression until it becomes completely out of control. It is, therefore, crucial that cat parents pick up the subtle signs of distress at the earliest possible time.

We all understand that diarrhoea has been used as the most common excuse in the world of humans. Little does it matter in the animal kingdom! However, when it comes to our little felines, it is not to be taken lightly.

Diarrhoea in cats cannot be compared with human experiences as it could involve potential life-threatening situations if left undetected or untreated. Diarrhoea is a symptom but not a disease.

The root cause of diarrhoea in felines is viral infections like Feline Distemper, Feline Infectious Peritonitis and Feline Immunodeficiency. There is usually a fatal outcome for all of these diseases except Feline Immunodeficiency.

The most common parasitic infections of the gastrointestinal tract are Giardiasis and Trichomonosis apart from the regular intestinal worms that can cause chronic refractory diarrhoea in cats – young and old. In addition to dietary intolerances, cats also experience food allergies. Stray cats are also commonly seen exhibiting signs of poisoning from toxins.

Other life-threatening diseases sometimes require timely surgical intervention including foreign body obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract. Besides hormonal imbalances, cats can also suffer from kidney disease and hyperthyroidism, which can cause diarrhoea. The most common symptom of gastrointestinal tract tumours in adult cats is diarrhoea.

Diarrhoea could be of any origin, but it deranges the entire biological system. Acute episodes cause severe dehydration giving the total body water content to fall low, compromising the blood component to shrink which seriously affects multiple organ functions.

This can lead to high mortality unless medically intervened. Chronic causes create a deficiency in certain vitamins that are essential for the proper maintenance of bone marrow and neurological functions. Weight loss is a significant collateral signature of chronic diarrhoea that may be a strong symptom of malignancy.

Hence, pet parents should not take the symptom of diarrhoea lightly.

(Dr J Venkhatesh is Chief and Specialist Small Animal Surgeon)

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