Welcome to The Cat Site
your cat community
Interact with our community

Clearing Bowel Obstruction Without Surgery?

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by jesmb, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. jesmb

    jesmb Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    20
    10
    Nov 22, 2017
    Derby is almost 5 months old, and typically eats 1/4 cup of food a day. On Friday, her pet insurance kicked in, so of course she got sick :) On Saturday, she began to vomit and stopped eating, and has not eaten independently since. Sunday she began to have diarrhea, which has continued through today. I scheduled an appt with the vet for Monday (yesterday), but she seemed to be feeling a bit better and was playing, so they vet said we could hold off. She still wasn't eating, and yesterday we had to start force feeding her formula with a syringe. Today we go to the vet, and they took an x-ray and saw that she had gas build up solely in her small intestines. The vet thinks she has an obstruction.
    She does have an interest in eating and is begging like usual when I cook, but won't actually eat. She is drinking water. The vet gave her fluids and a laxative and sent us home to repeat the laxative every six hours and to try to feed her through the syringe. We're giving her formula, nutritional gel, chicken baby food, and we're going to puree up some of her food as well. Tomorrow she goes back to the vet for another x-ray to see if it's moved, and he said that if she isn't back to normal by the end of the week, we will do surgery.
    I have questions:
    - Has anyone had experience with getting an obstruction to pass with just laxatives and not needing surgery? I don't want to put her through that, and also, good god that vet bill.
    - I feel like waiting a full week from when she first stopped eating is a lot. We're going to try to get her to eat 1/2 the volume she usually does and we're tracking every ml of the syringe to make sure, but I'm nervous.
    - If we do have to have the surgery, what should we expect in terms of her recovery and the cost?
    Thank you in advance!
     

  2. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Staff Member Forum Helper

    13,309
    16,716
    Jan 9, 2018
    Colorado USA
    Hi! I went wandering through some of the keyword "bowel obstruction" threads but didn't see anything that answers your questions, however I'm bumping your post in hopes that someone with knowledge will weigh in. Sending loads of good thoughts to all of you, hang in there!!!
     

  3. lacy2000

    lacy2000 Windy City Fosters Alpha Cat

    434
    319
    Aug 28, 2016
    Chicago Suburbs
    I’ve heard of people using coconut oil to help with bowel movements. But intestinal obstructions are very serious and can cause issues. I’d say if it doesn’t pass within the next couple days, you should probably schedule the surgery.
     
    Furballsmom purraised this.

  4. amethyst

    amethyst TCS Member Alpha Cat

    421
    805
    Nov 25, 2016
    Alberta, Canada
    I think it really depends on what the obstruction is and if it's a total obstruction or not. Since she has diarrhea obviously stuff is getting through, but not very well. I would give the laxative and fluids time to work, with any luck it's just something minor, like a hairball or backed up poop, and once it's rehydrated it's able to pass. Cats are notorious for not drinking enough, especially on dry food only diet (you didn't say what she was eating normally), and can get constipation due to dehydration. So long as food and water are going in and poop and pee are coming out I would give it a couple days, but like the vet said if not resolved by the end of the week (or if it becomes totally obstructed) surgery is likely needed.

    I've only had one cat with a bowel obstruction, when she was about 8 months old, and ended up having them surgically remove it right away. She wasn't able keep anything down, food or water just came back up. In my cat's case it was a piece of foam rubber shoe insole, so no chance of it passing on it's own. We had her spayed at the same time (since they were in there already) and recovery was pretty much the same as recovery from a normal spay operation, just a couple weeks of recovery instead of about a week. Cost really depends on the vet where you live, it could be hundreds or it could be thousands.
     
    Furballsmom purraised this.

  5. maggiedemi

    maggiedemi TCS Member Top Cat

    7,469
    9,880
    Mar 26, 2017
    1/4 cup of food a day doesn't sound like enough. My cats would never be able to poop on that little food per day.
     
    Timmer and Furballsmom purraised this.

  6. jesmb

    jesmb Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    20
    10
    Nov 22, 2017
    She's very tiny, even for just five months old. She's the size of a typical 3 month kitten.
     

  7. maggiedemi

    maggiedemi TCS Member Top Cat

    7,469
    9,880
    Mar 26, 2017
    It's just not enough. My cats ate a lot more than that even when they were babies. They never ate less than a big 5.5oz can per day each. That's almost 3 times what you are feeding. What are you feeding, dry or canned food?
     

  8. maggiedemi

    maggiedemi TCS Member Top Cat

    7,469
    9,880
    Mar 26, 2017
    I would take the 1/4 cup measuring cup and fill it 3 times throughout the day. Maybe a mix of canned and dry food throughout the day. I know my cats need at least that much nutrition to poop.
     
    susieqz, foxxycat and Furballsmom purraised this.

  9. jesmb

    jesmb Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    20
    10
    Nov 22, 2017
    I understand that many cats eat more than mine does. We've also expressed concerns with our vet and they are happy with her health during wellness checks. She has normal bowel movements every day, plays throughout the day, and her blood work comes back great. The recommended amount of the food we feed her for cats of her size is 1/4 to 1/2 of a cup, so it's fine. Please understand that I'm reaching out here for help on her current bowel obstruction, not her eating habits.
     

  10. jesmb

    jesmb Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    20
    10
    Nov 22, 2017
    Thank you! We're going back for x-rays tomorrow. The vet said that if the gas in her intestines has moved, then we can continue to syringe feed and monitor for it to pass. If it doesn't move, surgery will be scheduled. She's drinking, peeing, and pooping and so far today we've been able to syringe and spoon feed her almost 1/2 of her normal volume of food, which is huge compared to the last few days. Just out of curiosity, how much was your surgery? We were supposed to get her spayed in two weeks, so we're thinking we'll move it up if surgery is necessary and do both, too. I'm on Long Island, so I'm expecting it to be on the more expensive end.
     
    Furballsmom purraised this.

  11. jesmb

    jesmb Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    20
    10
    Nov 22, 2017
    Thank you! Luckily my cat is coconut oil obsessed, I'm going to give her a little bit right now! The x-ray tomorrow will determine if we monitor at home or schedule surgery, fingers crossed.
     
    Furballsmom purraised this.

  12. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Staff Member Forum Helper

    13,309
    16,716
    Jan 9, 2018
    Colorado USA
    I don't have any info, just wanted to say that we're keeping our fingers crossed, toes crossed, paws crossed :crossfingers::redheartpump:
     
    Lindzee2018 and jesmb purraised this.

  13. Willowy

    Willowy TCS Member Top Cat

    20,171
    9,873
    Mar 1, 2009
    South Dakota
    If she's pooping I don't think it's a blockage. Does the vet think it's a partial obstruction?

    Anyway, FWIW, I had a ferret who blocked himself up from eating a rubber toy. I gave him Laxatone and vegetable oil, alternating, a little bit every hour. You have to be careful because if they inhale the oil into their lungs it'll be a big problem. I didn't really know that at the time; I guess now that I know I'd probably just stick with the Laxatone. It has oil in it anyway. It worked for him. But hard objects can pass easier. If it's something soft like foam, that's a lot more difficult to get moving.
     
    Furballsmom purraised this.

  14. jesmb

    jesmb Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    20
    10
    Nov 22, 2017
    She's never tried to eat anything other than food, so we have NO idea what it could be. She's having diarrhea, so it isn't a full blockage, and we've given her about 1/3 of her normal daily food intake and she hasn't vomited yet, so it has to be going somewhere. I'm hoping it's something small that will pass!
     
    Furballsmom purraised this.

  15. amethyst

    amethyst TCS Member Alpha Cat

    421
    805
    Nov 25, 2016
    Alberta, Canada
    Well it was a little over 9 years ago, so I can't remember exactly, but I think it was a little over $500. The vet gave us a break though and only charged us for the surgery not the overnight stay, we brought her in on a Saturday so she was stuck at the vet's until they opened Monday (she was not pleased, lol).

    Just to let you know I have a tiny kitty too (Rascal, my avatar pic), so I understand the smaller food intake. She is almost 10 years old (so, full grown, her mother and grandmother were tiny too) and just under 6 pounds, and she only eats about 1/4 cup a day. So long as you are giving her as much as she wants, and aren't restricting her eating (she is still a growing kitten) I don't think lack of food is the problem.
     
    jesmb and Furballsmom purraised this.

  16. laura mae

    laura mae TCS Member Alpha Cat

    494
    263
    Jan 1, 2016
    I'm puzzled that the presence of gas in the intestine is seen as evidence that there is an obstruction. It seems if there was an obstruction, the object would also appear on the x ray. With stool, there's an obvious pattern if it is present and obvious if it is hardened and creating an obstruction. If it is something eaten that shouldn't have been eaten, it seems like some sort of irregularity would show up too.
     
    maggiedemi purraised this.

  17. maggiedemi

    maggiedemi TCS Member Top Cat

    7,469
    9,880
    Mar 26, 2017
    Okay, I'll unfollow this thread then. I thought I was being on topic because when Demi doesn't get enough food, he throws up because his stomach is empty, and then he doesn't want to eat because he feels nauseous. I was afraid for your cat because Demi ate more than 1/4 cup of food per day when he was a 2 pound baby. But I will leave then. I hope your cat feels better. But 1/4 cup is just not enough food for a cat for the entire day. It's just not.
     
    Furballsmom, Timmer and foxxycat purraised this.

  18. maggiedemi

    maggiedemi TCS Member Top Cat

    7,469
    9,880
    Mar 26, 2017
    I'm surprised nobody backed me up on this, but 1/4 cup is less than one of those 3oz cans of Fancy Feast per day. I know this because I love to play around with my measuring cups. The only reason I said anything was because I thought since the vet didn't see a blockage, that maybe the cat is vomiting because it's not getting enough food, and then in turn won't eat because it's nauseous. This happens to my cats when they don't get enough food. I just wanted to help you.
     
    foxxycat purraised this.

  19. Timmer

    Timmer TCS Member Super Cat

    810
    939
    Jan 10, 2018
    Cleveland, OH
    No offense to you or your vet but there is no "maybe" there is an obstruction. Gas does not mean there is an obstruction. I would guess every creature on the planet that eats gets gas at some point. An xray would reveal gas and it would reveal an obstruction. Either there is, or there isn't. I would get a second opinion. You don't do abdominal surgery based on maybes.
    If your kitty has diarrhea, there is no obstruction.

    I agree with the others that is not enough food. Your cat might be vomiting because it's dry food. Switch to canned and see if that works.
     
    maggiedemi and jesmb purraised this.

  20. jesmb

    jesmb Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    20
    10
    Nov 22, 2017
    I also have some concerns that it may not be an obstruction. The x-ray looks exactly the way an obstruction would, but the "item" blocking isn't visible. It could be because it wasn't picked up by the x-ray due to whatever material it is made of. She started eating this morning and her diarrhea is less, well, diarrhea-ish, so I'm hopeful. She goes back to the vet in half an hour for another x-ray to see if the gas has moved or if we can see the item, since my vet and I don't want to do surgery without confirmation. If not, there is most likely a block of some kind and I'll be having more tests done immediately to confirm it before considering surgery. If it has moved at all, then we'll take some blood tests and keep doing what we've been doing to ensure whatever the issue is resolves itself.
    I understand that someone had concerns over how much my cat eats. Please rest assured that both vets my cat has seen are comfortable with her weight, food intake, and overall health aside from this blockage hiccup. She has access to food 24/7 so she is not going hungry. Her preference is dry food so I supplement daily with wet food, extra water, coconut oil, and fat free plain greek yogurt. I will be adding more wet food moving forward, but I will not be pushing her to eat more than she is comfortable with.
     
    di and bob purraised this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.