Constipation is not as common in
our pets as it is in humans and generally it is a clinical sign
not a disease in itself, although other disorders or problems
may lead to constipation. Some drugs may induce constipation for
example antacids, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, diuretics
Ingesting stones, etc and eating bones may also cause constipation.
Digestive disorders are nearly always
associated with diet, and constipation often occurs when the waste
matter takes too long to travel through the digestive system and
too much water is absorbed making the faeces dry and hard
Symptoms would include infrequent
passing of hard stools, also ineffectual straining. Prolonged
constipation can lead to weight loss, loss of appetite, vomiting,
depression and even poor coat condition.
Laxatives may be given for mild to
moderate constipation, but these will only relieve the symptoms
and not deal with the underlying cause.
Constipation is quite common in elderly
cats and may be caused by reduced muscle tone of the large intestine.
Other causes in cats would be a pelvic trauma caused by in injury
sustained by a vehicle and hairballs. Indoor cats (and even dogs
that are unable to go outside frequently) may also be predisposed
as they may hold the faeces and this could become habit forming,
dirty litter trays may also cause the same problem.
Constipation is mostly managed by
diet although exercise is important as this will stimulate the
bowels, as well as massaging the internal organs, increasing blood
flow and stimulating a sluggish metabolism.
It is important that your pets drink
plenty of water, as this will help to soften the stools, some
pets may prefer bottled water, or even drinking from glass or
ceramic bowls as plastic can leach into the water and alter the
taste. Keep plenty of bowls of water around the house, cat also
prefer to drink from a large bowl. To increase the water intake
it may be added to the diet (if fed dry food)
Feed a highly digestible food, in
small frequent meals taking care not to exceed the recommended
daily amounts. Fibre may be added in the form of oat bran (half
teaspoon to one tablespoon per meal depending on the size of your
pet) or vegetables.
Olive oil acts as a tonic for the
intestines; it stimulates the flow of bile, helps the intestinal
muscles to contract and lubricates the faeces. Place the oil over
the food between half to 2 teaspoons per day for no more than
one week. Prolonged use may draw vitamin A from the body.
pet health problems
John Burns Pet Health