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Diarrhea in Cats: Common Causes & When It's Serious

If you're a cat owner, you know how difficult it can be to deal with diarrhea in your furry friend. It can be a messy and upsetting experience. Our veterinary team in Clarksville is available to provide you with information on the typical causes of this condition in cats and when you should consider seeking professional help.

When your cat has diarrhea, it's important to determine the cause and help them recover quickly. Here are some common reasons cats experience diarrhea and when it's necessary to seek veterinary care.

Diarrhea in Cats

It's common for cats to experience mild diarrhea for various reasons, such as consuming table scraps or switching to a different brand of food. However, it's important to note that several severe health conditions might be causing your cat's discomfort.

What causes diarrhea in pets?

Here are some of the most frequent causes of diarrhea in cats:

  • Colitis
  • Parasites
  • Viral infection
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Change in diet or treats
  • Eating garbage or spoiled food
  • Ingesting toxins or poisons
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Bacterial infections
  • Pancreatitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Medications such as antibiotics
  • Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys and fabric

Do you know when to take your cat to the vet for diarrhea? We'll help you determine if it's serious enough to warrant medical attention.

When should you contact your vet about diarrhea in cats?

If your pet has a single episode of diarrhea but is otherwise behaving normally, it is generally not a cause for concern. However, it is important to monitor their bowel movements to see if the issue clears up. If your cat experiences more than two episodes of diarrhea in a short period of time, it could be a sign of an underlying problem, so it is advisable to contact your veterinarian if this occurs.

If your pet appears to be struggling to pass stool and is only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, it could be a sign of a painful blockage caused by the ingestion of a foreign object, such as a toy. This is a serious concern and requires urgent veterinary attention. You should contact your vet immediately or go to the nearest emergency animal hospital for care.

If your pet is experiencing recurring diarrhea over a short period of time, it is important to take it seriously, as it might indicate a more serious underlying health issue. Especially if your pet is very young, very old, or has a compromised immune system. Some infections that cause diarrhea can be severe, contagious, or even life-threatening. Therefore, if your pet is experiencing repeated bouts of diarrhea, it is recommended that you contact your vet immediately.

Cats showing other symptoms, in addition to diarrhea, should be seen by a vet as soon as possible. If your pet has any of the following symptoms, you should contact your vet right away to schedule an appointment:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Blood in stool
  • Unusual drooling
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Signs of dehydration (Sunken dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)

If your cat is displaying symptoms that worry you, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your vet will determine if further examination or treatment is necessary.

Diagnosing Chronic Diarrhea in Cats

Chronic diarrhea is characterized by soft stool that persists for weeks or even longer.

Your veterinarian may need to conduct a variety of tests to diagnose this condition.

  • Complete blood count and chemistry test to analyze red and white blood cell counts, internal organ function, and electrolytes.
  • A fecal test to check for intestinal parasites and infectious organisms.
  • An infectious disease test is used to look for feline immunodeficiency and feline leukemia viruses.
  • A thyroid test to check your four-legged friend's thyroid hormone levels (the thyroid helps regulate metabolism).
  • Urinalysis test to check for bacteria, glucose, or protein in the urine.
  • Additional testing such as X-rays, biopsies, abdominal ultrasound, and others may be needed depending on your cat's symptoms and the results of previous testing. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat seems to be suffering from diarrhea, you can contact our veterinarians in Clarksville today for a consultation.

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Sango Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Clarksville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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