Diarrhea to Constipation & Back Again

jonerebJuly 15, 2012

Sebastian, my 1.5 year old Siamese, can go from diarrhea to constipation, and then back to diarrhea all within 24 hours. As I posted in another thread, he's been checked for HIV, leukemia, and various parasites including giardia, which we had to clear up. I've tried adding pumpkin (one teaspoon twice a day) to his protein, no grain diet. This helped for a few days but then runny stool returned. I cut back pumpkin to one-half teaspoon every other day and added a smidgen of lactose free yogurt to his pumpkin. Also adding fish oil every other day.

The vet did not say Sebastian has IBD, but I'm proceeding as though he does. Any ideas? Where do I go from here.

The vet wants to do an ultrasound and then possibly a scope at the tune of $375 each. After spending $500 on previous tests I can't keep throwing money at a fishing expedition.

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i don't know about cats but when my dogs have had diarrhea, i give them a probiotic and the problem clears right up. my dogs are raw fed now and i haven't had this problem since i started them on raw. you can get probiotics in powder form or capsules.

i know several people who feed raw to their cats. is that something you have ever considered?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 9:08AM
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I tried raw once. Sebastian wasn't interested. I'll give probiotics a try.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 9:20AM
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$350 for a scoping sure sounds cheap... what part of the country do you live in? Couldn't get a scoping around here for less than $600.

Have questions about constipation... how do you know your cat is constipated, if it has diarrhea 24 hours later.. .usually constipation is a situation that takes many days to occur, not 24 hours. Straining to defecate is not necessarily a sign of constipation, but a sign of difficulty or painful defecating (not the same thing).. many animals with diarrhea or colitis strain to defecate, but they do not have any constipation. Now if my cat had no bm for a week, then I would assume constipation the most likely cause.

Diarrhea and constipation rarely have the same causes and are usually the result of different underlying problems. Many cats with chronic constipation problems have neurologic problem with their colons, and need to be put on motility modifiers (like Cisapride) and stool softeners... and sometimes higher fiber, canned diets will help. Can be a frustrating condition in these older cats... but your cat is pretty young (less than 2, right?).

Either way, canned pumpkin can help both, but one often needs to keep it up for weeks to get good results. Probiotics rarely if ever help with true constipation. Your cat may have IBD, though... very common, particularly in older cats. Lower carb and higher protein diets often help these cats (i.e., canned food way better than dry). Sometimes hypoallergenic diets may help with chronic diarrhea.

IBD is common in cats, too, but again, less common in young cats.. .might be your cat just is not tolerating its diet. Best to pick a good, high fiber canned diet and let your cat adjust to it, rather than changing diets frequently... and manage the diarrhea in the mean time. Probiotics indeed might be useful in this situation.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 5:10PM
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lzrddr, good thoughts. Thx. Sebastian is 1.5 years old. He does strain when defecating...most of the time. He's on Duck & Green Pea. The vet had him on rabbit & potato....$60 for an 8 pound bag. It helped but wasn't solving the problem so I thought I'd try high protein without so much carbs and grain free. My vet specialist told me dry or wet doesn't matter. The wet contained a filler that I read that I should avoid....another reason I switched to Duck & Green Pea.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 7:13PM
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You should at least give the wet diet a try, regardless of what the vet has said. There's too much data showing that a canned diet makes a huge difference in treating IBD cats, plus, I seriously doubt the 2 ingredients you're concerned about make a difference.
A lot of 'data' on the internet is written by alarmists but if you still want to avoid those 2 ingredients, you can find brands that don't have it in their cat food.

Again, as I mentioned on the other thread, you're fighting an uphill battle as long as he's allowed outdoors.

You've been given some excellent advice but I'm beginning to feel we're butting our heads against the wall.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 7:36PM
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Here are the two ingredients in wet food I read that should be avoided: Carrageenan (thickener made from seaweed) and guar gum (fiber that is too fermentable for cat guts). At least that's what I read. While Sebastian was on Royal Canin Rabbit & Potato high protein hypoallergenic food, he got both wet and dry. That diet alone did not firm his stool. Considering it cost $60 for an 8 oz bag, I switched to Natural Balance Duck & Green Pea. I also bought a can of wet Duck & Pea. After a few bites of the wet food, Sebastian threw up. Coincidence? Maybe. I still have a three cans. Perhaps I'll give it another try. But when I first started him on pumpkin with Duck/Green Pea, I saw good results, but it only lasted a week.

Annz, I think it would be cruel to Sebastian to limit him to indoors only. He loves being outside. Besides, if he is eating prey outside (I've never seen him eat anything he caught) would that necessarily be a bad think -- isn't that a high protein raw diet?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 9:14PM
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I don't prey is the big concern... it's eating other cat's food (very common occurrence... many outdoor cats roam from yard to yard sampling whatever those owners leave out for them- my outdoor cats do that all the time). My recommendation, if you haven't tried it yet, is to simply put your kitty on canned WD for a few weeks and see if that makes a difference... what do you have to lose... food allergies in cats that result in GI upset like this are not as common as you might think.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 11:57AM
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I'm certainly willing to try it. Since I have a few cans already, I'll give canned Duck & Green Pea another chance -- perhaps mixed with pumpkin and probiotics?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 12:13PM
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UPDATE: I tried feeding Sebastian canned Duck & Green Pea - same brand as the dry version. (This is the wet food that he threw up a couple of weeks ago.) Today, he gobbled it up, but sometime during the afternoon hours he threw it up. Canned Duck & Green Pea contains Carrageenan and guar gum - the two ingredients that I mentioned above. Were one of these offensive to his guts? Who knows. He has eaten canned Rabbit and Potato in the past without issues. Wet Rabbit & Potato contains Carrageenan, but not guar gum, so I think I can eliminate Carrageenan as the culprit. I still have several cans of Rabbit/Potato. Perhaps I'll give it another try.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 8:38PM
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Sebastian has been eating canned Rabbit and Potato for about a week. I added half a teaspoon of pumpkin every other day. So far nothing has changed -- very wet stool. I'm almost out of the very expensive Royal Canin prescription rabbit, so I'm switching him to another canned rabbit: Nature's Variety grain free/gluten free. This product contains pumpkin, but doesn't contain Carrageenan or Guar Gum. I'll give it a while and see what happens.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 4:53PM
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jonereb, I would try eliminating the fish oil for a few weeks and see if that improves the diarrhea.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 11:14AM
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I eliminated fish oil prior to switching his diet from expensive Royal Canin prescription Rabbit to Nature's Variety Instinct Rabbit grain/gluten free. 5 days after the switch (cold turkey) his stool is still very liquid. The vet suggested I switch back to Royal Canin and stay on it for 5 to 6 months. Sebastian consumed it for 2 months, but I saw no improvement, so I thought I'd try grain/gluten free. While at the vet, Sebastian weighed in at 7.8 pounds, which is an increase of over a pound since his last visit. Right now, I plan to stick with Nature's Variety Instinct Rabbit grain/gluten free. I'm still suspecting a very irritated bowel since tests did not find FIV, Feline Leukemia, or other diseases. Supposedly, antibiotics killed giardia and other parasites. At least the last fecal sample was negative.

I've never owned a cat with such problems. This is new territory for me.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 3:54PM
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