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Cat megacolon

Cat Megacolon Surgery

A megacolon is a condition that is a shared disease between cats and humans.

The condition affects, as the name suggests, the colon or the large intestine. A cat with megacolon is at extreme risk of death from shock and related issues of not being able to gather nutrition or being constipated. The causes for the condition usually lie in some kind of genetic defect and this can sometimes only be managed with the use of cat megacolon surgery.

The major problem in this disease is the lack of peristaltic movements. Peristalsis is the snake like undulations of the entire digestive tract involuntarily from the swallowing motion, all the way to the passing of stools. There are a variety of diseases that can affect an animal in its digestive tract that cause the destruction of the nerves allowing peristalsis.

A case of megacolon is usually diagnosed with an ultrasound and a colonoscopy. A megacolon occurs due to the destruction of the nerves of the colon. This causes the lack of peristaltic movement and eventually, the distending and extending of the colon to a larger length than it should be. Without peristaltic movements, the waste matter that exits from the small intestines is pushed into the colon but from there, there is no further movement. This lack of movement causes constipation and also fecal impaction. At some point the colon ends up being completely filled with feces and it takes a monumental effort to expel it. There is another type of megacolon called toxic megacolon in which there is a toxic build up of nitric oxide in the colon that causes ulcerative colitis.

Cat Megacolon Treatment

The treatments for cat megacolon include the use of laxatives that will force a peristaltic movement. This is only a temporary form of relief and not one that can be sustained effectively. A change in the dietary constitution might be required; however, eating more fiber can be a problem for cats as it can cause the development of kidney stones. The last resort is surgery. In this surgery, a part or the complete colon has to be removed. This procedure is called a colectomy. Once the colon is removed, the remaining bits of intestines are then merged with the rectum to form the new large intestine. In the worst possible case an ileostomy is performed. This is procedure in which the end of the small intestine is brought outside the skin to form the new excretory orifice.

  Submitted on April 16, 2010  

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