Surgery for Megacolon

Partial resection may work

Feline megacolon and advanced constipation can be life-threatening. Caught early on, constipation and megacolon may respond favorably to medical treatment and dietary management, but, eventually, some cats stop responding and require surgical removal of a portion of their colon. While the surgery is usually effective, it can leave the cats with liquidy stool, and some owners are unable to deal with the constant cleaning. Cats are often euthanized as a result.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association looked at prior surgeries and evaluated outcomes in cats where removing less of the colon (basically, not removing the ileocecocolic junction, a sphincter between the small and large colon) resulted in less diarrhea and a better overall outcome. Basically, the cats had less diarrhea. The cats might still have soft feces, but they rarely had the liquid feces that left them dirty and needing frequent cleaning.

This study showed that the surgery that removed less of the colon, leaving the ileocecocolic junction, may result in a better surgical outcome. Cats who require surgery for megacolon have a high rate of recurrence of constipation (about 30%), but medical and dietary management may be more successful after surgery.