Genetically speaking, humans and cats are quite similar, so it may be tempting to think that we share some of the same illnesses, especially when we look at conditions such as hemorrhoids. So do cats suffer from this as well?
Even though some of the symptoms can look the same, cats don't experience hemorrhoids the same way we do, instead is known as rectal prolapse, which can come in different forms and be just as painful and uncomfortable for your cat.
Find out what the symptoms are and how they can be treated below.
Types Of Rectal Prolapse In Cats
With humans, there are four grades of hemorrhoids, but cats are confined to two main groups, and the first is known as incomplete, which is rectal tissue that protrudes when your cat tries to defecate, and the tissue goes back to its original position.
The second type is complete, where all layers of the rectum extend through the anal opening, as the rectum's inner lining is always visible. This type requires immediate veterinary intervention.
What Are the Causes Of Rectal Prolapse In Cats?
It can be caused by conditions or behaviors that cause the cat to strain more while pooping or peeing; over time, this weakens the tissue that supports the rectum.
These causes include constipation, diarrhea, intestinal parasites, rectal mass, and urinary or colon obstruction by a foreign object.
They can even affect cats that have given birth, while some cats may have tail amputations, making them more prone to this.
How Is It Treated?
If you notice any reddening or swelling around your cat's anus, and if your cat is struggling to do its business, it's a good idea to get them checked out so the issue can be treated early, as complete prolapses usually require surgery.
Once you take your cat to the vet, they will look into any underlying issues with it, especially if there are intestinal parasites, masses, or an enlarged prostate. These can be looked at to solve the rectal prolapse issue.
For A Simple Prolapse
The tissue around your cat's anus will be carefully cleaned if it's a simple procedure.
If there is any swelling, they can use a solution to help decrease the inflammation, and after the rectum is flushed out, it can be lubricated and replaced in the pelvic cavity.
Once this has been done, a stitch is made to make the anal opening smaller, so there's less of a risk for the rectum to prolapse again.
For Advanced Prolapse
More invasive surgery will be needed here, especially if the tissue around the rectum has turned black and is dying. Here is where healthy rectal tissue is reattached to more healthy tissue if any remains.
If rectal prolapse is a persistent problem for your cat, a procedure called a colopexy will be required to remove the dead tissue, so the rectum will be attached to the abdomen wall with a suture, which will prevent any repeat prolapses.
What Does The Recovery Look Like?
After the surgery, your cat can be prescribed painkillers and stool softeners, which will depend on the health of the rectal tissue, and epidurals can be used with cats with the urge to strain when they do their business.
If your cat has undergone an intensive treatment plan, their rest and recovery will likely be longer, but with other more straightforward cases, they can be brought home the same day, and here is where you'll want to keep an eye on your cat.
At home, your cat will likely need a collar to prevent them from licking the area or trying to remove the suture where it could become infected.
Be sure to limit your cat straining by using soft foods and stool softeners so the area can heal.
Depending on the prolapse's severity, this can last around 14 days or longer.
There is a chance for complications where the sutures can come out, or the prolapse can reappear, leading to incontinence or infection if not treated.
How Do I Prevent Rectal Prolapse In My Cat?
While there isn't a sure way to prevent this from happening, you can look for signs of underlying issues, such as parasites or constipation, which can cause prolapse.
For this, you can use deworming medication and stool softeners.
Even though cats can be good at healing and often hide illnesses pretty well, rectal prolapse won't heal on its own.
This will need some intervention, whether through surgery or antibiotics if there is a bacterial infection.
You can also prevent prolapse from becoming an issue if you spay your cat, especially in females, where giving birth can cause the rectum to extend from the anus, and you can do this when the cat is four months old.
Can My Cat Become Incontinent?
It is quite rare for a cat to become incontinent after this surgery, but it can depend on how severe the prolapse is and how much tissue is healthy.
If this becomes a problem, you may be given muscle stimulants or antibiotics for your cat.
With older cats, there isn't any way to prevent this as it is linked more to cognitive impairment, so you should aim to make the cat as comfortable as possible with more regular cleaning to avoid issues with their skin.
It can be challenging to notice the prolapse until it is near the complete stage, so you want to make sure you look for signs in your cat that indicate that they're struggling to go to the bathroom, plus any sudden changes to your cat.
Of course, many of these issues can be dependent on the cat’s age, so for older cats, you want to be sure that you check them over for any issues which can be managed and allow your cat to remain comfortable.
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.