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C2007-16

Dear Christopher Cat

My cat Rubin was diagnosed with megacolon after recurrent episodes of severe constipation. Not only was his colon dilated with hard stool which he was unable to pass, but he lost his appetite and energy, and sometimes he vomited.

The high-fiber diet my veterinarian prescribed isn’t working. What else can I do for Rubin?

Christopher Responds

Let your veterinarian know, and ask about the next step in treatment.

When a cat friend of mine was diagnosed with megacolon, his vet treated him conservatively and then added medications as he needed them.

A high-fiber diet with plenty of water is a good first step. Fiber intake can be increased by supplementing Rubin’s diet with canned pumpkin, psyllium (Metamucil) or wheat bran.

Multiple water bowls and a pet fountain encourage the five cats in our family to drink sufficient water. Another way to ensure adequate hydration is to administer fluids under the skin.

Your veterinarian may suggest giving Rubin a stool softener like docusate. Lactulose, a liquid laxative, is also effective.

Do not give Rubin mineral oil, which can be accidentally inhaled into the respiratory tract, where it damages the lungs.

A medication called cisapride stimulates colon motility and helps many cats with megacolon pass stool more easily. Ranitidine, a common antacid, also promotes movement of the bowels.

Acupuncture may be effective in conjunction with the above treatments.

If you try these therapies and Rubin still has trouble, talk with your veterinarian about surgical removal of the diseased colon.

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