Blood in stool is more common in cats than in dogs. Firstly, this is due to their physiological characteristics, and secondly, it is easier for cat owners to notice this symptom when cleaning the litter box.
When there is blood in a cat’s stool, assess the severity of the problem first. A single case requires observation, if this symptom recurs, the cat needs help. Do not delay visiting veterinarian if:
- a lot of blood (not drops or streaks, but puddles);
- blood is secreted not only with feces;
- there are changes in the nature of the stool (diarrhea, constipation);
- difficult, painful bowel movements;
- the animal is lethargic, depressed, reduced or refuse to eat;
- vomiting is present;
- the animal is losing weight.
If the cat’s condition is normal and does not cause concern, then you can observe and get additional information. Here are some things to look out for and what the owner should to tell veterinarian:
- When was deworming?
- What is the animal’s diet (ready-made food or home-made products, quantity, whether treats are given)?
- Have there been any changes in feeding recently?
- Does the cat have access to household chemicals or garbage?
- Can it eat houseplants or grass, other inedible things?
- Does the cat drink enough water?
The appearance of streaks or drops of blood in the stool (hematochezia) is usually considered one of the symptoms of colitis – inflammation of the large intestine. The list of possible causes:
- helminth parasites (worms);
- consumption of a large amount of dry food, especially if the cat drinks little water at the same time – food in the digestive system cannot be properly hydrated and its solid particles injure the intestinal mucosa (feces in this case are very hard and dry).
- pylobezoars (hairballs) in the intestines that cause inflammation, especially in long-haired cats;
- lack of fiber in the diet;
- intolerance to feed or any of its components. In this case, ready-made feed or natural products do not matter.
- bacterial infections (campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis);
- nonspecific colitis (ulcerative, plasmacytic, eosinophilic, histiocytic, granulomatous);
Also, trigger this symptom can trauma, foreign objects, intestinal neoplasms. So, what can a cat owner do before contacting a veterinarian?
- Deworming (treatment for worms) with a broad-spectrum drug.
- Cleansing the intestines from pylobezoars and preventing their formation (this is especially important in long-haired cats). Now in pet stores there is a large selection of maltpastes and dressings to facilitate the removal of wool from the intestines. They should be given on an empty stomach (1-2 hours before feeding) 2-3 times a week.
- Normalization of feeding. This recommendation is the most difficult for the owner. But strict adherence to the advice below can help avoid costly and unsafe diagnostic procedures.
- Increase your water intake.
- Exclude from the cat’s diet any fatty, smoked foods (sour cream, olives, canned food for people, etc.).
- can be switched to another food, for example, a ready-made diet for cats with digestive problems or a diet with a new source of protein (this may require a consultation with a veterinarian).
If following these recommendations, the cat still has blood in the stool, the owner should visit a veterinarian. As a rule, the diagnosis is carried out in stages, starting with routine examinations (blood tests, ultrasound).
It often happens that the diagnosis can be confirmed only with the help of a biopsy of the intestinal area – during endoscopic examination or during a surgical operation (diagnostic laparotomy). These diagnostic methods are invasive, therefore they are used in the case when other diagnostic and therapeutic manipulations have not brought a positive result. This is the only way, for example, it is possible to identify any of the nonspecific colitis or intestinal neoplasm. There is no need to be afraid of such interventions – after all, only when there is an accurate diagnosis, the doctor can prescribe the most effective treatment.