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LennyDVM, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
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Experience:  30 years as owner of a mobile practice treating dogs, cats, horses and other pets.
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cat: 13 yr old..on prednisone and metronidazole..runny

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My 13 yr old cat has been suffering w/diarreha fo 2yrs. He's been on prednisone and metronidazole, which helps his stool. When I decrease how often he get these, his stool goes right back to runny. He no longer pulls his fur out and he is very playful and active. My vet said that it might be colitis. I'm wondering if he ate a piece of tinsel a few years back, could it still be in his tummy? What else could it be? My vet said it may be stomache cancer, but he is not getting worse. He has a healthy appetite and I stick to the same foods for him.

The problem is not tinsel remaining in the stomach from a few years back.


The most common cause for chronic diarrhea in cats, which often has some associated vomiting, is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This is usually treated with prednisone with or without other drugs including metronidazole. Food allergy is often a component of IBD. Therefore, cats are put on special, limited ingredient, foods to minimize the allergic part of the disease.


Colitis means inflammation of the colon or last part of the large intestines. It is part of IBD.


Intestinal lymphosarcoma is the other major disease that causes diarrhea, vomiting and, weight loss in older cats. Getting a definitive diagnosis for IBD and lymphosarcoma requires intestinal biopsies. These can be done using an endoscope if one is available and it can be done surgically. There is little need to get a specific diagnosis is the treatment for the probable diagnosis is working.


IBD is a forever disease. It can be controlled. It can not be cured. It sounds like you have it under control. Fine tuning treatment involved modifying dosage of drugs. Corticosteroids (prednisone) are used to treat both IBD and lymphosarcoma.


Other immunosupressive drugs sometimes used to treat IBD if prednisone is not effective.


Let me know if you have follow up questions.

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