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Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4695
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
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I have a 17 yo male cat who was just hospitalzed colon and

Customer Question

I have a 17 yo male cat who was just hospitalzed for mega colon and obstipation. How old is too old for a kitty partial colectomy? What do you think about rectal pull through method. Monk has the beginnings of renal disease but is otherwise healthy.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 10 months ago.

Hello I am Dr. Joey. Thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 16 years of experience. I look forward to working with you.

The decision to perform surgery should be based on him (his health overall and how bothered he is by this condition). Usually we turn to surgery when all medications have failed (stool softeners, pro motility drugs, subcutaneous fluid therapy, etc). The surgery does a good job in better than 80% of the cases. An existing dilated bowel as he probably has now can take months to return to function. If he is controlled now with just medications, then I would wait on the surgery and see if he gets some motility back. Probably will not, but if he starts to do very well with no problems, then no hurry.

If you elect surgery subtotal colectomy is the best option for cats that don't respond to medical treatment. It should be done by an experienced surgeon, and although it is a major procedure, it provides a permanent cure. Diarrhea occurs post-operatively for a couple of weeks, or up to 2 months, but generally the procedure works well.

I am at a point I need to know what questions you have. I hope that the information I provided has been helpful.

Please let me know if for any reason you need further clarification, have more questions, or were expecting a different type of answer.

If you received all the information you needed, then kindly submit a rating.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
How old is too old for this surgery? What do you think about the rectal pull through method?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I understand thepat motility isn't usually regained after an existing dilated bowel, so how long should we wait trying medical therapies on a 17 year old cat?
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 10 months ago.

I do not think there is an age limit on when the surgery can be done If he has other diseases such as heart disease or kidney failure or uncontrolled hyperthyroidism, for example, then he probably would not be a good candidate for this as his life expectancy afterward would be considered limited with the other condition. However, if this is his only problem, then I would say he is an excellent candidate.

As for technique, there are several described techniques that can be employed. I do not hold an opinion. This is the preference of the surgeon. I would ask your surgeon which (s)he prefers and the pros/cons based on that surgeon's experience and outcomes.

Let me start by saying there is no documented means of restoring colonic function in a cat with idiopathic megacolon. Usually we give a cat a few weeks on medical therapy to see if we can get any motility. The starting point is diet, stool softeners and laxatives. Prokinetic drugs that act on the colon can be helpful, but should not be used until obstruction is relieved (e.g., with enema) such as cisapride. Acupuncture has also been reported to be beneficial in stimulating motility in cats with chronic constipation.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
This was an adequate answer but the response was way too late. I asked the questions in the early afternoon. The answers came at 4 am. I don't know about you, but I'm not sitting at the computer waiting for 14 hours. As I say, the answers were adequate, but the lack of timeliness made them almost useless.

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