Bella is an 8 year old domestic short hair cat and beloved pet of Blue Mountain Veterinary Services RVT, Lauren Kent. Since Lauren adopted Bella from a shelter, Bella has had issues with chronic constipation. Constipation is infrequent or difficult defecation and can be fairly common in cats. If it occurs only occasionally there's usually not much to worry about. However, in some cats, constipation begins to occur more and more frequently, and in Bella’s case had ultimately led to obstipation - Constipation that can't be controlled by medical means. There are many potential causes of obstipation, but over half result from idiopathic megacolon.
Bella has Idiopathic megacolon which means that the cause is unknown, (some cases of chronic constipation are the result of physiological factors such as pelvic fracture that has led to a narrowed pelvic canal and impedes movement of stool.) Cats with mild or moderate forms of idiopathic megacolon often benefit from increased dietary fiber, administration of laxatives or stool softeners of various kinds, and drugs called prokinetic agents (like cisapride) that stimulate the muscles of the colon. Bella was managed for many years on various combinations of medical therapy.
As things progress, the occasional enema performed at a veterinary hospital may be necessary. Unfortunately, the need for enemas or other methods of removing feces from the colon becomes more and more frequent; ultimately, Bella’s condition had progressed to the advanced stages of the disease and simply stopped responding to any medical therapy. At this point the colon becomes little more than a big, flaccid bag containing a mass of hard feces.
For Bella the only remaining option was a surgical procedure - subtotal colectomy. This procedure involves removal of a major portion of the colon. This is major surgery but the overwhelming majority of cats respond quite favorably. Blue Mountain Veterinary Service's surgeon Dr. Vasile Dzsurdza performed the subtotal colectomy on Bella on Wednesday, March 9th 2016 with a very anxious RVT mom carefully watching over.
Bella had to be monitored very closely for any post surgical complications, but on the third day, post operation, Bella had a bowel movement – a great sign that the surgery was successful. The most common post-surgical problem is diarrhea, but most cats begin to form stool of an acceptable quality within several weeks or less. Life returns to normal, or near normal, within several weeks.
(day 5 post operative radiograph)
Bella is doing extremely well now, and has gotten back her quality of life thanks to the incredible work of the healthcare team at Blue Mountain Veterinary Services.