Causes Feline Diarrhea

"Causes feline diarrhea can have several origins. Diarrhea may be termed as the increased intestinal motility of ingested contents. It is not a disease itself , but a symptom of other underlying problems. . Feline diarrhea may be caused by a number of factors in different diseases, such as food allergies or a change in food, bacterial infections, viral diseases, intestinal parasites, toxins and some other systemic diseases. A confirmatory diagnosis is usually necessary to treat the underlying causes and to prevent any recurrence. Symptomatic and systemic disease treatment, meaning the underlying cause needs to be addressed, is the only way to bring long term relief to any cat."

General Causes Feline Diarrhea:

Generally, feline diarrhea cannot be termed as a disease itself, but as a symptom. It may appear as a major cause of any gastrointestinal problem; while in many cases, it is reported as a symptom for a generalized disease. Feline diarrhea can suitably be described by the mechanism of its occurrence, meaning, what within the body causing the diarrhea to occur.  This is somewhat technical, so feel free to skip this section as it is just background information on what is happening in the cats body that causes feline diarrhea.

  1. Hyper permeability: Electrolytes and water are secreted and absorbed from the gut to the blood and blood to gut simultaneously. In healthy animals, these types of contents are absorbed more into the blood then are secreted into the gut. Due to inflammation, permeability is increased due to an increase in the size of pores, thus leaving a dog secreting more fluids in the gut, which ends with diarrhea.
  2. Hyper Secretions: Cats with diarrhea, particularly in bacterial diarrhea, fluids and contents are secreted back to gut, irrelevant of permeability and absorptive capacity of intestinal villi. It is due to the effect of bacterial toxins over the physiology of the villi. All contents in blood stream are secreted back into gut, thus causing diarrhea. Diarrhea due to E. coli is the best example.
  3. Osmosis: If solutes (dissolved solids)  that are absorbed by the blood stream concentrate, it generates an osmotic pressure, i.e. fluids flow from higher concentrations to lower, i.e. from blood stream to intestine. Fluids, thus retains in intestine are passed away for excretion, without getting absorbed. This form is more common in diarrhea caused by maldigestion or nutritional disorders.

Causes feline diarrhea can be further differentiated by where the problem in the body exists; in either the small intestine or the cat's large intestine.


Feline Nutritional Diarrhea:

Nutrition is thought to have two possible causes feline diarrhea. One is to look at any change in diet and the other is to explore if any feline food allergies are causing the problem.

Pathological Problems that Causes Feline Diarrhea:

Different pathogens like viruses, bacteria, parasites and toxins are  vital causes of feline diarrhea. These mostly cause systemic and generalized disease conditions in cats; meaning, the diarrhea may be the primary symptom, or at least one of many symptoms.

Treating Causes Feline Diarrhea:

Symptomatic and systemic treatment plans are required, usually after a precise diagnosis is made. The exact cause should be diagnosed by clinical manifestations or appearance, history and laboratory flotation of a stool sample or from other serological tests.

Different causes may require a versatile approach for treatment, mostly dependent upon the symptoms, hence symptomatic treatment is considered the most effective way to treat feline diarrhea initially.

Fluid therapies, change in food, lowering fats in the diet, increased fiber in food,   and the use of common anti–diarrheal drugs are the starting point for feline diarrhea treatment.

Antibiotic therapy will be helpful in eliminating bacteria and will prevent secondary complications from viral infections. Different broad-spectrum antibiotics like sulfadimadine, gentamicin, ampicillin can be used, but only after a sensitivity test to see how well a specific cat will tolerate the medications.

Similarly, different wormers, anti–protozoal drugs and anti- parasitic combinations like albendazole, febendarole, febantal, metronidazole etc., can be used for parasitic infestations, confirmed by stool flotation techniques.

Specific antidotes are usually required for any toxin or poison, diagnosed by a veterinarian, according to signs an infected cat reveals, but initially a universal antidote, like the combination of charcoal, magnesium oxide and tannic acid should be administered as soon as a case is reported for poisoning or toxin ingestion.

A homeopathic dietary supplement may also help to restore balance to the body and help the body resume normal function.  One product, RunnyPoo Relief is made with herbal and homeopathic ingredients which are selected to maintain digestive balance, firm stools and healthy bowel functioning in cats.

Other tips include providing some Gatorade in a water dish next to the water bowel as a way to help restore electrolyte balance (try punch flavor first, cats if they like the flavor, usually go for the punch).  In some cases even a drop of fiber in their food will help.  Check with your veterinarian, as specific causes feline diarrhea require different treatment approaches.


The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health