Megacolon in cats can cause a very limited amount of defecation and if it severe enough, it can actually prevent your cat from defecation.
If this occurs, it is a very dangerous situation that can become toxic.
This condition can occur in any breed of cat and attack at any age. However, for some reason, it seems to attack male middle aged male cats the hardest.
This is an extremely difficult condition to treat in your cat as in the majority of cases the actual cause is never fully known or understood.
Megacolon is a condition where your pet’s colon has become extremely dilated and as a result has very little motility and is no longer spontaneous or active.
To compound this situation, your cat’s colon becomes full of feces and does not have the ability to release it.
It is an extremely stressful situation for your cat and can be equally frustrating for the owner.
Your cat’s gastrointestinal tract ends with a tubular organ that is referred to as the colon.
It has two basic functions: to extract water and electrolytes from your pet and as well as controlling defecation.
It acts as the storage unit for fecal material and it is continuous with the rectum.
The walls of your cats colon contain muscles that are designed to be activated by the nerves in the spinal cord.
When it contracts properly, the fecal material in your cat is removed from the body.
However, if these nerves malfunction, they do not contract properly. Once this happens, the muscles starts to stretch and the colon enlarges.
When it becomes enlarged, it traps the fecal material and the result is severe constipation.
Megacolon in cats is still somewhat of a mystery of why is actually occurs as over 65 percent of all cases are Idiopathic.
This means that there is no actual known cause of why it has developed and why the nerves have stopped functioning.
However, an injury to cats spinal cord due to some type of a trauma can result in a narrowing of the pelvic canal.
When this happens, it can cause a blockage of the feces in your cat and cause the colon to expand.
Even if your cat has been only slightly injured in a fall, a fight with another cat, or an attack by a dog, it can cause a pelvic fracture not to heal properly.
This condition accounts for about 25 percent of the actual cases of Megacolon in cats.
Cats born with a spinal cord deformity may also be the cause, but this is extremely rare, and the only breed that is really susceptible to this is Manx breed.
The symptoms of Megacolon in cats will be very definitive.
As the condition starts to develop, your cat will have a decreased ability to properly defecate, and this will very rapidly turn into an extremely painful ordeal for your pet.
As it progresses, your cat will make several attempts to defecate, but by now they will not be able to go at all.
One of the symptoms that you can watch for that this condition is starting to develop is that your cats feces will suddenly start to become very hard and very dry, which is a signal that the colon is not properly dilating.
As the condition worsens and continues your cat will become anorexic simply because they will have no appetite.
At this point it has become severe and you will need to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
In most all cases, your veterinarian will try a series of medical treatments in an attempt to stimulate the nerves back to functioning properly.
This is not simply a situation where you can give your cat a laxative; the key is trying to find what works and what is causing it, if it can be found.
If it is a simple form of constipation, a laxative may be the only treatment that is needed and they are very effective at stimulating the colon to release the feces.
There are several forms of laxatives that can be tried and you should discuss all of the alternatives with your veterinarian.
Bulk forming laxatives combined with bulk fiber diets are usually the first from of laxatives used in Megacolon in cats.
Emollient laxatives may be recommended, but they have not shown to be very effective.
Lubricant laxatives such as mineral oil or white petrolatum work very well with mild forms of Megacolon and can relieve your cat.
However, it is not very effective with moderate or severe forms of constipation.
If your cat has a persistent or advanced condition that most effective laxative will be Lactulose.
This is a hyperosmotic laxative that stimulates the colon to secret fluid as well as softens your pet stool.
However, be prepared, as it is also is very effective at propulsive releases and will rapidly relieve your cat, but will also be very messy.
Other treatments will be changes in your cat’s diet that will include high fiber diets that can be bought commercially.
However, adding Metamucil into your cat’s regular food is equally successful.
This fiber change will help water absorb into the feces as well as building bulk in the stool.
In the severe forms megacolon in cats, there are drugs available that can be used to contract the colon, but you should be extremely skeptical of these types of drugs.
There have been no reported side effects in cats, but they have produced severe reactions in humans and one in particular, Cisapride, was pulled off of the market because of the severity in the reactions.
In the most severe of cases, surgery will have to be performed to release the feces from your cat and to remove their colon.
This procedure is called subtotal colectomy and it removes the non-functioning portion of your cat’s colon that is not functioning properly.
Your cat can live a very normal life after this surgery, and after a couple of months, will have normal movements again.
They movements may be more frequent, but they will not lose fecal control.
Megacolon in cats can be a very stressful situation for you and your pet as it most cases it will be never known what is actually causing it.
As a result, you will have to constantly treat your cat for this condition and monitor their progress daily.