A hard belly in a cat is always a symptom of a disease. Being left untreated such condition may lead to the death of a pet, so do not hesitate to visit the veterinarian as soon as may be.
Here are possible causes of a hard belly in a cat:
- Intestinal obstruction.
- Worm infestation.
- Pathologies during pregnancy.
- Postoperative complications.
- Ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity).
- Postpartum complications.
How to Recognize the Nature of a Disease?
If the cat’s stomach has become hard for a short period time, it may be a sign od fear that lead to the cat’s instinctively tightening its peritoneum muscles. This condition goes away as soon as the animal calms down. Constipation causes accumulation of indigested food in the intestines and overstretching of its loops. The condition is often accompanied by painful cramps, which causes the abdominal wall to tract.
If the abdominal area is uncharacteristically tense in a pregnant cat, the pet avoids touching it, refuses food, and mews often as if in pain, there may be pathology of pregnancy, for example, its spontaneous termination. If, within 36 hours after the delivery, the cat’s abdomen does not become soft, her labor pains are repeated and she does not pay attention to her offspring, the likelihood of an unfinished delivery is great. In this situation, emergency specialist assistance is required.
Note!A hard belly in a cat after delivery is often a symptom of pyometra, a purulent-inflammatory disease of the uterus. It is accompanied with severe fever, labouring breath, and frequent urination.
If the cat refuses food, loses weight, grows restless or lifeless, its coat shedds, and the peritoneum hypertonus is caused by constipation, the worms may be the cause. The overlap of the intestinal lumen with a lump of parasites causes a life-threatening condition, an intestinal obstruction. Absence of defecation, frequent vomiting and strained abdominal muscles indicate this pathology.
Peritonitis develops when blood, infected fluid or other fluids enter the abdominal cavity. Its wall reflexively contracts; the fever begins, accompanied by constant vomiting, convulsions, and depression. Abdominal abscess is manifested by an abdominal swelling and soreness of the area, hardening of the muscles and can lead to organ perforation. With ascites, the abdomen becomes swollen too, the appetite decreases, persistent pain brings much discomfort to the pet. Injuries often lead to internal bleeding, which can be suspected by the blood impregnations in the feces and urine as well as bluish coloring of the mucous membranes. If the internal organs have not been damaged, there will be no symptoms other than a hard and round stomach. If a specific area of the abdomen hardens, a tumor may be suspected. A hard abdomen in a cat after sterilization means postoperative swelling, aggravation of internal diseases, or infection. If an infection was infiltrated into the wound, phlegmons and boils form in the area, the fever begins.
If the abdomen area is hardened for 3-4 weeks after the operation, the opening of a suture sinus is likely to be suspected. The peritoneum in this case is heterogeneous to the palpation, covered with boils. Skin hyperemia may also be observed. This condition arises due to inadequate postoperative treatment or traumatization of the seams was done by the cat itself. Gallstone disease can also be the cause of a hard stomach in cats. The skin and tunica mucosa turn yellowish, and an attack of colic causes aggression and anxiety.
The method of treatment is determined by the cause of a hardened abdominal wall in a pet. If the cat has constipation and a swollen hard stomach, while no other health problems are indicated, meat, liver, dry kibbles should be excluded from the diet. Vegetables, sour milk and fish should be the basis of the new diet until the defecation is normalized. If constipation in a cat is caused by a disease rather than by improper diet, the veterinarian should prescribe treatment after determination of the diagnosis.
The inchoation of pyometra can be treated with antibiotics. In its advanced stage, the only treatment option is celiotomy of the reproductive organs. If the animal suffered an abdominal wound, it should be taken to the veterinarian as soon as possible to eliminate possibility of internal injuries and blood loss.
If ascites is the case, the cat has to be hospitalized for an antibiotic therapy. Possible treatment of intestinal obstruction and various neoplasms is surgical only. In case of foodborne intoxication, the cat undergoes the gastric lavage with saline solution or potassium permanganate. If an animal has consumed poisonous substances, a specific antidote is required. Treatment of peritonitis is carried out in a veterinary hospital only.