Diarrhea varies in severity and the urgency of response to it will vary accordingly. The presence of blood in the diarrhea does not always indicate an emergency. Instead, the urgency of care is determined by the presence and severity of other symptoms.
Small bowel diarrhea: Diarrhea originating from the small intestines usually has the following characteristics:
Large bowel diarrhea: Diarrhea originating from the colon typically presents with:
Diarrhea is a common symptom of many types of feline illnesses. Most cats will experience diarrhea at some point in their lives. Most illnesses that cause small bowel diarrhea come on suddenly and show other symptoms like appetite loss, vomiting, and lethargy.
Conditions causing large bowel diarrhea are more likely to be chronic and present with a history of weight loss.
Many cases of diarrhea are temporary and self-limiting. Elderly, pregnant, chronically ill, immunocompromised, and very young kittens are at higher risk of severe illness. It is advisable to reach out to a vet when diarrhea occurs in these individuals. In healthy adults, if diarrhea does not resolve on its own within 24 hours, prompt veterinary attention is required.
Diarrhea is caused by a number of factors.
After medical history and physical examination, diagnostics for diarrhea typically include:
While the appearance of diarrhea varies widely, it is not difficult to differentiate it from formed stools.
It is often difficult for pet parents to distinguish if a cat straining in the litter box is struggling to defecate or urinate.