Posts Tagged ‘Morris Animal Foundation’

What is That in the Litterbox? Dealing With Diarrhea in Cats

Cat staring at camera

Is your cat trying to tell you something? (Photo by Immortal Shots, via Pexels)

By Morris Animal Foundation

Cats’ fastidious behavior when it comes to poop makes it easy to clean up, but also can mask changes in stool that would signal a potential health problem. Although diarrhea is less of a problem in cats than dogs, there are some similarities between the two species when it comes to underlying causes – as well as a few differences.

As a rule, veterinarians divide diarrhea into two broad categories based on where in the intestinal tract the diarrhea originates – small bowel (originating in the small intestine) and large bowel (originating in the large intestine). Although unpleasant, paying attention to stool quality of your pet can give your family veterinarian valuable clues to point them toward a diagnosis and best treatment.

Characteristics of small-bowel diarrhea include:
*Large volume
*Usually watery
*Frequency might or might not be increased

Diseases that cause small-bowel diarrhea in cats include intestinal viruses, intestinal parasites, cancer, hyperthyroidism and chronic enteropathy (inflammatory bowel disease)

Characteristics of large-bowel diarrhea include:
*Small volume
*Usually semi-formed or cow-patty consistency
*Increased frequency of defecation with straining
*Often contains mucus

Diseases that cause large-bowel diarrhea include stress colitis, intestinal parasites and megacolon (more on this condition later).

Sometimes, we can see characteristics of both small- and large-bowel diarrhea in a cat. This can occur when a disease process involves both the small and large bowel. We also can see this pattern when a patient starts with small-bowel diarrhea that causes secondary irritation of the large bowel.

Blood in the stool can be noted in both small- and large-bowel diarrhea.

Blood in the stool can take several forms:
*Digested blood from the stomach or small intestine results in black, tarry stools. This can be a challenge to diagnose in cats since their stools tend to normally be dark in color.

*Fresh streaks of blood mixed in the stool or coating the stool usually indicate a large-bowel problem

Concurrent vomiting is more common with small intestinal diseases although some studies suggest that vomiting occurs in 30% of cats suffering from large-bowel problems.

Hyperthyroidism in cats frequently causes diarrhea and can be easily overlooked in a diagnostic work-up for diarrhea. Many routine bloodwork panels for cats have a screening test for this disease.

Another disease seen almost exclusively in cats is megacolon. This disease begins when cats become constipated. The large intestine stretches but loses tone which leads to more constipation. Cats will often leak a little loose stool around the hard feces which can be interpreted by a cat owner as diarrhea. Megacolon is easily diagnosed on a physical examination and via X-ray.

If your cat has diarrhea, call your family veterinarian for guidance. In some cases, the loose stools will resolve without treatment. Your family veterinarian is the best person to help decide if and when further diagnostics or treatment is needed.

Morris Animal Foundation has funded more than 50 studies and invested $1.2 million dollars in studies focused on gastrointestinal tract problems. We’re on the cutting edge of gastrointestinal research, from the use of probiotics to studies looking at the gut microbiome. Check out all our studies and learn how you can help cats everywhere have longer, healthier lives.

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   In our previous post, we reviewed Ten Warning Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats, as reported by the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF). MAF is a leader in funding research that improves animals’ lives. Cancer is a chief health concern.

   Eleven million dogs and cats are diagnosed with cancer each year. The number is staggering — but there are things pet owners can do to help prevent cancer in their pets.

   Today, we share Morris Animal Foundation’s list of 12 things you can do to reduce your pet’s risk of developing cancer.

CLICK HERE to download the list for easy reading.

 

CLICK HERE to download the list for easy reading.

 

   To learn more about the Morris Animal Foundation, the good work they do, and how you can be a part of the movement toward better animal health, visit their website:  www.morrisanimalfoundation.org

 

Disclaimer: Information on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure your pet. Information provided on this site does not take the place of a valid client-patient-doctor relationship, nor does it constitute such a relationship. Your pet’s veterinarian is the best source of information regarding your pet’s health. Your pet may require an examination and testing by a licensed veterinarian in order to provide proper diagnosis and treatment. Neither Dr. Miele nor Little Creek Veterinary Clinic or its staff is responsible for outcomes based on information available on this site. Every pet’s condition is unique and requires the direct care and oversight of its own veterinarian.

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Here’s a startling statistic: 11 million dogs and cats are diagnosed with cancer each year,

according to the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF). Since 1950, the Morris Animal Foundation has funded over 2,600 studies to improve the lives of dogs, cats, horses, and wildlife. In particular, MAF has been supporting cancer research since 1962, in pursuit of a cure and better quality of life for all animals.

Using research from Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center, MAF has produced this list of 10 Warning Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats:

Cancer Warning Signs by Morris Animal Foundation. Click to enlarge.

It is important to remember that other diseases or physical ailments can cause symptoms similar to those listed above. Do not attempt to diagnose cancer on your own. Your pet’s veterinarian, or a specialty practice, can perform diagnostic tests to find out whether your pet’s symptoms are a result of cancer or something else.

In our next blog post, we will share an in-depth review of Morris Animal Foundation’s tips on how to help prevent cancer in pets. See below for a “sneak preview.”

Pet Cancer Prevention Checklist by Morris Animal Foundation. Click to enlarge.

Did you know you can donate to the Morris Animal Foundation? Your donation can help fund the next generation of life-saving research. Donate here.

 

Disclaimer: Information on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure your pet. Information provided on this site does not take the place of a valid client-patient-doctor relationship, nor does it constitute such a relationship. Your pet’s veterinarian is the best source of information regarding your pet’s health. Your pet may require an examination and testing by a licensed veterinarian in order to provide proper diagnosis and treatment. Neither Dr. Miele nor Little Creek Veterinary Clinic or its staff is responsible for outcomes based on information available on this site. Every pet’s condition is unique and requires the direct care and oversight of its own veterinarian.

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