Chronic Feline Diarrhea
Chronic gastrointestinal problems are frustrating for all cat owners. GI problems such as vomiting, diarrhea and even constipation can cause your cat discomfort, abdominal pain and even lead to the development of cancer. If your cat is experiencing GI issues, treating the underlying cause, and not just masking the symptoms, is imperative to maintaining your cat’s overall health for his entire life.
The Importance of a Healthy Gut
While there are a myriad causes of diarrhea in cats, the underlying factor in all gastrointestinal problems in cats is linked to a weakened immune system and a lack of balance in the GI tract.
In a healthy gut, there is a variety of micro-flora and microorganisms that work to break down food, absorb and utilize the nutrients and vitamins in the food, and eliminate waste in an efficient manner. When this balance of “good bacteria” in the gut is disrupted by illness, medication, or inflammation and irritation of the intestinal lining, the body cannot properly utilize food. In addition, the inflammation that always accompanies GI problems leads to impaired digestion. Diarrhea and vomiting are the result as the body attempts to eliminate the contents of an acidified and toxic GI tract as quickly as possible.
Veterinarians treat most episodes of vomiting and diarrhea with medication. Drugs such as anti-emetics help to temporarily mask symptoms but do nothing to treat the root problem. In addition, antibiotics are frequently prescribed to treat vomiting and diarrhea. This is counterproductive since the most common side effects of antibiotics are vomiting and diarrhea.
Moreover, most cases of vomiting and diarrhea do not have an infectious cause. Antibiotic use for these cases almost never solves the underlying cause. Unfortunately, antibiotics are highly effective at killing off all bacteria in the gut, including the “good” bacteria necessary for proper GI function. Antibiotic use for these cats only serves to further incapacitate the already precarious condition of the GI tract.
Treating Intestinal Problems with Probiotics
Treating feline diarrhea and cat vomiting is easy with the right supplements and probiotics. The cause of most episodes of vomiting and diarrhea are often related to an insufficient and unbalanced supply of enzymes, nutrients, and probiotics in the gut. Supplementing and replenishing the gut can solve GI problems quickly and effectively.
In the wild, the cat’s natural diet of fresh meat was supplemented by eating grass and soil, the source of microorganisms in nature. Once abundant, these good bacteria have been greatly reduced from our food sources by decades of pesticides and insecticides. The highly processed and rendered nature of pet foods have served to further eradicate these essential micro-nutrients from your pets diet, leading directly to the common and chronic nature of intestinal illness!
In cats, chronic intestinal upset has a far more sinister side effect than simple GI problems. Chronic irritation and inflammation of the intestines has been linked to the development of GI Lymphoma, a type of cancer in cats. Feline vomiting and feline diarrhea are early warning signs of future illness. If these symptoms are ignored, or masked with medications without treating the underlying causes, grave physical consequences will result.
Better Intestinal Health Through Diet
Many intestinal problems can be traced to diet. The by-products, filler and excessive levels of carbohydrates predispose your cat to an unhealthy immune system (due to the inability of the cats body to absorb nutrients from these sources). The lack of digestive enzymes or probiotics in these foods further incapacitate your cats digestive system, leading to chronic intestinal inflammation, irritation, vomiting and diarrhea.
In the wild, cats are pure carnivores. The ancestors of today’s cats evolved in the desert, surviving solely on raw meat. This meat was their primary source of nutrients, with the sole source of water and grain/carbohydrate intake coming directly from the fresh prey. In that setting, a cat’s diet was 65% water, and a very small amount of carbohydrates.
By contrast, most cats today subsist only on dry cat foods which often contain greater than 30% carbohydrates and less than 10% water- leaving their intestinal tracts at a disadvantage as it tries to utilize a virtually unfamiliar and unusable nutrient source. In addition, the severely reduced water content of today’s cat foods has forced cats to rely on a supplemental water source to stay hydrated, a habit that goes against 40 million years of evolution.
As a result, many of our cats are suffering from chronic dehydration, which has lead to a steady rise in many health problems such as kidney failure and urinary tract disease.
You can feed your cat as nature intended by providing fresh, raw or home cooked diets that are rich in quality meat sources, and proper levels of nutrients, enzymes and vitamins. Together with providing the necessary micro-nutrients and probiotics to assist nutrient absorption, you can solve your cats diarrhea problems by correcting the underlying cause. You will be pleasantly surprised to find that the simple act of supporting and correcting the balance in the gut will directly affect the overall health, behavior and vitality of your cat.