This article will help you understand chronic enteropathy in cats, why it happens, what its symptoms are, and how you can treat it.
Chronic enteropathy is a long-term condition that can have intestinal and systemic effects on your cat. According to the National Library of Medicine (NIH), the incidences of chronic enteropathy among cats have been rising over the last decade.
While the signs of this disease are often easily recognizable, they can be hard to differentiate from other gastrointestinal diseases. This article will help you understand more about the disease.
What is Chronic Enteropathy
Chronic enteropathy is a condition in which your cat's intestines are inflamed for an extended period. It can affect any age of the cat, but it's most common in older cats and kittens with other health issues.
What are the Symptoms of Chronic Enteropathy
There are quite a few symptoms of chronic enteropathy in cats, but by far, the most common is weight loss. Depending on how severe it is and what other conditions your cat has, such as diabetes, you may see:
You might also notice that your cat is bloating. If this happens to your cat, it could indicate any number of different diseases or conditions.
However, if you've ruled out all other possibilities for why your cat's belly feels swollen and painful, and especially if this seems to be accompanied by diarrhea, chronic enteropathy should be on the list of possible diagnoses as well.
What Causes Cats to Suffer from Chronic Enteropathy
Unfortunately, the exact cause of CED is unknown. It may be related to an autoimmune disease in which the cat's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in the intestinal tract.
The other cause could be food intolerance (including protein or carbohydrate intolerance). As per PetMd, 1% of cats may have food allergies, and up to 15% of itchy cats may have this issue.
Bacterial infection, in combination with an intestinal parasite, can also cause a cat to suffer from CED. The condition can also result from vitamin deficiency. For example, it has been known for some cats with CED to not absorb vitamin B6 properly and therefore requires supplementation.
How Do Vets Diagnose Chronic Enteropathy
If your cat has been diagnosed with chronic enteropathy, the vet will perform a battery of tests to get to the root of the problem. These may include:
Can Chronic Enteropathy in Cats be Cured
Unfortunately, chronic enteropathy is not curable. Once diagnosed, treatment is focused on managing the symptoms and preventing complications.
Your cat will need to be monitored closely by a veterinarian to ensure that she does not develop any complications as a result of the disease.
How Can I Treat My Cat’s Chronic Enteropathy
There is no cure for chronic enteropathy, but there are several ways to manage it. You can help your cat by:
Your vet may also recommend probiotic supplements like Purina Pro Plan, which supply beneficial bacteria that help balance flora in the intestines.
Diet - Because cats with chronic enteropathy have trouble absorbing nutrients from food, they need special diets made especially for them. These diets should be high in protein and fiber but low in fat content because fat cannot be absorbed properly by cats with this condition. Some popular high-protein cat food are Royal Canin cat food and Wellness cat food.
It's important to monitor your cat's weight on these diets, so he doesn't become malnourished over time due to malabsorption issues related to his disease condition.
Your veterinarian will work with you as well as an animal nutritionist when prescribing a diet plan if needed.
Chronic enteropathy is a serious condition that can lead to death if not treated quickly. As such, it is essential to get your cat diagnosed as soon as possible so he or she can begin treatment and start enjoying a better quality of life.
Almost 1 in 3 US adults, 29%, own a cat, as per the current statistics in The Discerning Cat. And if you suspect your cat has chronic enteropathy or any other gastrointestinal disorder, please contact your veterinarian immediately.