September 2008 Issue

The Feline Intestinal Tract

Persistent diarrhea and vomiting are common signs of a serious disorder. Veterinary attention is in order.

Of all feline health problems, intestinal disorders rank among those most frequently treated by veterinarians at local clinics and large referral hospitals throughout the U.S. According to Melanie Craven, BVM, an internist and researcher in gastroenterology at Cornell Universityís College of Veterinary Medicine, vomiting, diarrhea and dramatic weight loss are the most common signs of feline intestinal disease in cats. However, she notes, subtler signs such as lethargy and appetite fluctuations can also suggest the presence of an intestinal disorder. Some of these disorders may be secondary to conditions originating in other organs, such as the thyroid gland, liver, kidneys and pancreas. But, Dr. Craven points out, the problems usually originate in either the upper or lower segments of a catís intestines ó the pliable, circuitous tunnel leading from an animalís stomach to its anus.

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