Outdoor cat with megacolon, advice needed

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by eightkitties, Jul 13, 2018 at 2:24 PM.

  1. eightkitties

    eightkitties New Member

    Hello! I have a predicament with one of my 8 outdoor (on a farm) cats and was looking for some advice.

    So one of our cats, Runty (neutered, vaccinated overweight 8 yo cat), was diagnosed with megacolon on May 7th 2018. We have never had any serious health issues with our cats, they have been typical outdoor cats until now just eating kibble and walking around etc. So it was a shock. It is amazing that we noticed that he had it at all since he is outside. Basically in early May we noticed that he was having difficulty going #2 (sitting in the yard trying to go for ages). We assumed it was worms since another cat had tapeworms. After all the cats had been treated for tapeworms though (a couple days later) he was still doing it. We tried giving him tuna in oil and olive oil to no avail. By May 7th he couldn't walk 20 feet in the yard without trying to go (by this time nothing was coming out #1 or 2). So we took him to the vet. The vet looked him over and after hearing that he couldn't go #1, said that it was extremely likely that he had urinary crystals (typical of neutered cats his age) and would need special food/medication for the rest of his life. She said that if he had this it would not be a one time thing and would need continuous care. We couldn't afford that and prepared to have him euthanized as he is an outdoor cat plus we couldn't monitor his litter box food etc as he is outside with 7 other cats. However we did say to at least confirm that was what it was and left him there. On the way home the vet called and said it was not urinary crystals and that he was constipated (so constipated he couldn't go anything). They kept him at the vet overnight and sedated and gave him an enema and x ray. We requested no medication. They had to sedate him because he is so fat the vet couldn't feel his colon. They said he responded well to the enema and had gone so much in the morning they had to give him a bath. They said that the stool was normal, there was just a LOT of it. When we came back in the morning to get him, the vet showed us the x ray and said he has megacolon. She said he would likely need medication but most cats with it end up being euthanized. She said that the fact that he responded so well to the enema (didn't need manual extraction) was a good sign though. We decided to take him home and if he relapsed we would have him euthanized. We got some wet food on the way home (we have never fed our cats wet food) thinking maybe that would help him. Right after we got home we saw him go #2 so we were hopeful. We started giving him 2 mini (half the size of regular) cans of wet cat food a day. This is in addition to the bowl of dry food all the cats eat from. I googled cat megacolon and did not have a good feeling, everything I read the cats were indoors and many had to be euthanized eventually or on expensive medication long term with side effects. Then I saw something that said Miralax was a cheap laxative that drew water into the colon and had no side effects. I thought, since we are already giving him wet food we could just add this to it. So I started giving it to him starting at 1/4 tsp. The next couple weeks were a disaster of me experimenting amounts of miralax, following him around the yard constantly to see if he goes, scares where he tried to go but didn't, and me thinking maybe it would be better to just put him down. Also trying to get him to drink more water which is hard since he is outside and water gets dirty fast.

    But by early June I had a system in place:
    In the morning I give him wet food mixed with a little water (oatmeal consistency) in a rabbit cage with a net over the door since the other cats steal his food. He has figured out how to leave the cage when he is done without letting them in. This took a while to train him.
    In the evening I carry him into the back yard and he goes #2 (I have been documenting he has been going almost every day for weeks). However I am not 100% sure when he is going as he is outdoors. He is a very playful cat though (loves chasing string)
    In the evening I give him 1/4 + 1/8 tsp Miralax in the broth from his food
    Then I give him his food mixed with water to a soup consistency
    Note that he rarely eats all his food (he just drinks the liquid out and leaves most of the meat) much to the delight of the other cats who all wait around the cage while he eats
    He is still eating dry food (this food: https://www.catchow.com/products/healthy-weight/ the rest of the time)
    Okay so here are my problems:
    I know that the dry food is junk, but I am scared to switch it because after researching online the high fiber may be helping with his constipation. It actually has higher fiber (6.5%) than this https://www.royalcanin.com/products...fiber-response-dry-cat-food-8.8-lb-bag/484288, which seems to be what a lot of people feed their megacolon cats for dry food.

    I also read that the "healthy weight" food is a trick, the high fiber actually makes them gain weight

    I read that at some point the miralax may stop working
    He is fat, and so is another one of the cats (10 yo Rusty who is 20 something pounds) but I have no way to diet them without the other cats eating their food or vice versa

    I know it seems strange that outdoor cats would be fat, but those two are SO lazy, you wouldn't believe.
    I do not provide income in my family and I know we could not afford any drastic, expensive measures with the cats. I did research better dry foods for them before he got megacolon but now I am unsure what to do. They all eat out of the same bowls so I'm afraid if I switch the food, then Runty might get stopped up again. But then again the food is unhealthy for the cats (makes them fat) so...?

    If anyone has any tips as to inexpensive ways to help with Runty's megacolon, they would be appreciated. Am I doing anything wrong with the miralax? Even thought they are outdoors I want to help them best I can.
  2. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2016
    Someone else here has a cat with megacolon. My memory isn't very good but when it comes to me I'll let you know.
    Once I reply to a thread I get an alert for any other replies so you're on my list. Sorry, that's all I have right now.
  3. Idjit's mom

    Idjit's mom Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2018
    I think Pig has megacolon, @LuvinThisPig is this so?
    JeffJ and LuvinThisPig like this.
  4. Mags920

    Mags920 Member

    May 18, 2018
    My vet suspects Houston has megacolon but euthanasia for this condition was never mentioned. The poor little pooper had 2 enemas while in the er for a hypoglycemic episode. He has pooped more than 1 foot 3x now - I thought 1 poop could have been a snake, lol. I was giving him 1/4 tsp MiraLAX daily when I remembered but per the er vet he gets it 2x daily. He has been pooping more but not every day. I can always tell when he's backing up, his belly gets hard & looks like a football. He is off dry because of his diabetes. I give him a small amount of food w/the MiraLAX to make sure he gets it all then give him the remainder of his food. I say continue with the MiraLAX 2x daily. Good luck, let me know how he's doing.
    eightkitties likes this.
  5. LuvinThisPig

    LuvinThisPig Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2017
    Yes. Pig a has megacolon and its a tricky thing to manage, but not impossible. They can even heal from this as Pig is case in point. We recently (7/6) had radiographs done and his colon was empty, despite constant feeding. It will be a bit trickier since yours will be outdoors, but I see no reason you should have to put him down over this.

    To begin, you are already doing a lot of things right. The MiraLax is a great place to start. However, I would up that dose a bit if he is still struggling. Not to the point of liquid poos, but with megacolon you do want looser stools. You can give up to a teaspoon in 24 hours safely, but I would spread that out. Also, the great thing about MiraLax is that its use as needed. So, you can play with that dose a bit.

    Secondly, fiber? Nope to that. Fiber may act as a laxative in normal cats, but it also acts as what we call a "bulk laxative". Meaning, that it bulks up the poo, which is exactly what you do NOT want in a megacolonic kitty. Stick to osmotic laxatives like MiraLax. I would also cut out ALL dry food if at all possible. Now, there are several laxative options you can look into and play with, but the go tos are MiraLax and Lactulose. Lactulose is fairly inexpensive and functions like MiraLax. You can use them together if you see the MiraLax looking potency, although I have never seen that happen. Miralax can be given daily and as often as needed.

    Now, I would personally recommend that you look into some prokinetic drugs as well. Cisapride is a great one that a lot use. It works to help the colon walls undulate, thus pass the stool. Another EXCELLENT kinetic is egg yolk. I use EZ Eggs from FoodFurLife, but you can just cook the yolk and mix it into food. There was a concern about phosphorus in the yolk, but in the amounts you will need it is not that large of a concern. I give between 1/4-1/2 tsp. BID. I am not sure on the dosing on just boiled yolk, but I imagine its just about the same. Egg yolk works by adding choline to the diet which works to stimulate the receptors in the colon walls. Plus, its great for hair balls!

    The more moisture you can add the better. I have also found it very helpful to feed in smaller amounts more often versus larger meals less often. This gives the digestive tract time to process the foods and is how a cat is biologically tuned to eat. Now, Pig has some serious digestive complications and some of the measures I go through are pretty extreme.. ECID. But, I also found it very helpful to blend all of Pig's food in a blender prior to feeding. Sort of like pre-digestion..

    Anything you can do to rebuild his gut back to its prior state is a good idea. So, probiotics and digestive enzymes are what we are learning about now. Although, with megacolon I would stress no fiber and softer stools. Some probiotics will firm the stools, such as S. Boulardi, so stray from that. We almost went down that road and I am glad I learned otherwise before doing so.

    This is just how I manage Pig. We have worked at home enemas before and well, that is a story all its own. I think you are doing great!! Megacolon is about as scary as diabetes... Its all about how much you know. If you need anything I am more than willing to help if I am able! Take heart! Its not impossible and you totally got this! It certainly does not warrant euthanasia... :bighug::bighug::bighug:

    P.s. I am on my phone so can't add links that easy. But, when I get to the computer I will edit to add them...
    eightkitties and JeffJ like this.
  6. eightkitties

    eightkitties New Member

    Thank you so much!
    LuvinThisPig likes this.
  7. eightkitties

    eightkitties New Member

    Since I will have to feed my other cats dry food (I can't afford to feed them all wet), what do you think of this food guys?: https://www.chewy.com/evolve-mainte...aign=f&utm_source=shopping.com&utm_medium=cpc

    It has 3% fiber (as opposed to their current food which has 6.5% fiber), and contains probiotics and dried egg! So if Runty does eat some (which he may have to eat at least some), wouldn't that be better?
    LuvinThisPig likes this.
  8. LuvinThisPig

    LuvinThisPig Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2017
    I have never fed Evolve so I have no input on it. However, I do think the lower the fiber you can get the better. Of course, not all kitties are as sensitive to fibers as Pig is, but this is what they generally suggest for megacolonic kitties. The probiotics are good addition, but it looks to be only of the lactobacillus strand in the food and a cat's gut needs far more than just that. Although, it is a good starting point. It is unlikely that the probiotics that they add to this dry food are in the right count and potency that you will really need. Typically, it is recommended that kitties receive a human strength probiotic. Pig takes RenewLife Extra-Care, which is a 30 Billion CFU in several different stains. Here is a great article that explains everything about the importance of probiotics in our kitties guts..

    Another great option is Kefir. We are attempting to grow our own and @Bronx's dad also give kefir. Although, I think he buys his. Here is a read about that...

    It did not say whether the dried egg is the whole egg (which is most likely) or if it is just the yolk. RadCat adds egg yolk into their food, but I still give Pig his 1/4-1/2 teaspoon BID. While this little bag may seem expensive, in the grand scheme of things it is actually very cost effective. This is the EZ Egg I was talking about, with great read about how the yolk actually works.

    I think you will be fine as long as you are adding moisture and an osmotic laxative in the mix. I would maybe ask your vet about lactulose to combine with the MiraLax since he is outdoors and you need to know that he is getting what he needs. Lactulose is super cheap. I paid $16.00 for a pint of it and I only give about 1cc. And this was from a pharmacy that charged me $48 dollars for a week's worth of amoxicillin :eek:, so you know they are overpriced! But, moisture is your friend! Plus, if you are worried about whether he is pooping or now, you can always palpate his abdomen. Plus, most kitties will come off food when they are super backed up. My Tail will as I just learned to my dismay, but Pig will not. However, Pig is an acro and will eat anything as long as it is not pickled. :p
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  9. eightkitties

    eightkitties New Member

    Thanks so much for the info. I saw him go today. :) I really want to go ahead and switch but I'm scared to. Right now he is eating a super high fiber dry food and going fine (with broth and miralax ). But from what I understand high fiber makes them worse over time? I just want to be sure before I switch. Reading the reviews of this: https://www.royalcanin.com/products...fiber-response-dry-cat-food-8.8-lb-bag/484288 makes me uneasy.

    Also: he is a crazy eater, the day we took him to the vet when he was clearly miserable/backed up he would still eat treats :confused:

    LuvinThisPig likes this.
  10. LuvinThisPig

    LuvinThisPig Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2017
    Oh my... Yes, this sounds like my Pig. When he was first dx with megacolon he had poo from stem to stern (literally) on the radiographs... But, he was still in the habit of eating half a can of wet food and then trying to polish off his brother's half as well.. So a whole 5oz in one sitting! :eek: Now he eats a total of 4-5 oz a day...

    Yes.. I would stress the less fiber the better. However, you also have to be comfortable with any moves you make on food, for sure. I can't access that link...? Maybe it is my internet. I am isolated and it acts wonky all the time.. :rolleyes:

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