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Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29773
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My cat is constipated. What can I do ?

Customer Question

My cat is constipated. What can I do for her?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Ruth, please review the following and then return to our conversation with further information and additional questions or concerns if you wish. I'm particularly interested in how long Tiger Lily has been constipated, if there are other worrisome symptoms, and what you might have tried already.

Medical therapy includes stool softeners or laxatives (e.g., lactulose, 0.25-0.5 mg/kg every 8-12 hours (prescription drug)); or docusate sodium/dioctyl sulfosuccinate, 50mg/cat every 12-24 hours (over the counter drug); or mineral oil flavored with vegetable oil at 10-25ml/cat per day) and prokinetics (cisapride, 0.1-1mg/kg every 8-12 hours or 2.5-5mg/cat every 8-12 hours) (prescription drug). Lactulose is the most effective stool softener and is given to effect daily to maintain a soft to semiformed stool (usual dose after titration : 1-4ml/cat every 8-12 hours).

Bulk forming laxatives (cellulose, psyllium) will not be effective in cats prone to dehydration or in cats with poor colonic muscle function because their mechanism of action is similar to high-fiber diets (see below). They can, however, be helpful for simple constipation. Psyllium seed (Metamucil) can be added at 1-4 teaspoonsful per meal added to canned food.

Stimulant laxatives (e.g., bisacodyl, castor oil, cascara) should not be used for relieving constipation but are best used as a preventative in cats that still have normal colonic function.

Prokinetic therapy may assist smooth-muscle function in cats with recurrent constipation or obstipation. The most effective drugs are the serotonergic agonists (cisapride, prucalamide) and histamine H2 receptor antagonists (ranitidine, 1-2mg/kg every 8-12 hours). Only ranitidine (Zantac) is available over the counter.

A high-fiber or low-residue diet may be of value. High fiber diets induce colonic contraction when the patient still has a functional colon and is well hydrated. Avoid high-fiver diets in cats that are prone to dehydration (can exacerbate it). Low residue diets are often best in patients with chronic recurrent episodes of obstipation or true megacolon because they reduce the amount of material reaching the colon and make it easier to keep a soft stool.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will try a stool softener first. She has been complaining all morning. She had a stool yesterday. I am paying only $22 and will try this recommendation first.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

The stool softener/laxative docusate sodium (Colace (or generic)) is available in your local pharmacy in the laxative section. Mineral oil flavored with vegetable oil can be a challenge getting into Tiger Lily without making quite a mess.

There's no extra charge continuing on in our conversation if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not well. My cat won't accept the stool softener. I am not able to administer it or to lift her as she is too heavy and I don't have the strength to do it. I think I will have to have to give up my faithful pet.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

That's unfortunate but I understand.