Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that affects the colon. It's a relatively common digestive condition in cats, but the cause of this chronic condition is not yet fully understood. Genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a role, and there has been some research conducted into the possibility of intestinal parasites contributing to the development of ulcerative colitis in cats. Read on to learn about the signs of ulcerative colitis in cats and how this condition is treated.
Signs Of Ulcerative Colitis
The most common sign of ulcerative colitis is diarrhoea, and this can have blood or mucus in it. Ulcerative colitis can also cause constipation due to inflammation in the colon. When this occurs, you may notice your cat frequently visiting their litter box and straining without passing any stool. Other signs of ulcerative colitis include loss of appetite, increased flatulence, lethargy and an unwillingness to be handled due to tenderness of the digestive tract and abdomen.
Treating Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis can be diagnosed using a combination of blood tests and diagnostic imaging. Blood tests can show raised inflammatory markers and diagnostic imaging, such as colonoscopy, can show classic signs of ulcerative colitis in the colon, such as inflammation, increased mucosal build-up and ulcerated tissue along the lining of the colon. A biopsy of colon tissue can also be analysed to check for bacteria and parasites.
Your vet will formulate a treatment plan for your cat based on the findings of the tests carried out during diagnosis. There's currently no cure of ulcerative colitis, so the aim of treatment is to reduce inflammation and get your cat's symptoms under control. Your vet may recommend dietary changes to ensure your cat gets plenty of beneficial fibre and has an easily digestible diet that allows them meet their protein and nutrient requirements. A course of steroids may be prescribed to quickly reduce inflammation in the colon, and your cat may also require antibiotics, anti-inflammatories or anti-parasitic medication. Regular follow-up appointments will be required to ensure your cat is able to maintain a healthy weight, and blood tests will be carried out to check whether the inflammation is under control. Your cat should be able to have a good standard of life after diagnosis as long as you work with your vet while they are establishing the best treatment approach for your cat.
If your cat has any symptoms of ulcerative colitis, have them checked over by your vet. Contact a local clinic that offers veterinary services to learn more.