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Old 10-25-2010, 04:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default "Digestive Tract Upset"..?

My poor kittens have had diarrhea for 3 weeks now. Nothing else, no vomiting, they're not lethargic, they're definitely still active. If anything, they're more clingy.. that and tons and tons of pools of diarrhea. Sometimes it almost has a shape, normally it's just light/medium brown and very watery. They go about 4 times a day now, if not more.
I explained all of this to my vet when I dropped off their stool samples, after 2 weeks of hearing, "Wait and see, it might just be from the albon."
Now, rather than see them, she calls back 2 days after getting the samples, to tell me, "Everything came back negative, it just seems like a digestive tract upset."
Then she suggested some kind of probiotic capsules to empty into their food from the Holistic pet store, but they're way beyond my price range.

I know the sudden drop of the albon is not the cause, they were fine for the 10 days they were on it, it wasn't until almost 2 weeks after they finished the albon that this happened.

My question is, what's a "digestive tract upset"? Is it just like IBS for cats?
And could their food be the cause?
I had them on Wellness Entrees [I know it's not grain-free, but it was easier to switch them to a pate with another gravy-like chunky food], Core, and Nature's Variety Instincts.
Then my mom decided they needed a cheaper diet, because their food was "too gourmet for a cat", so she bought them varieties of 9 Lives canned and the Fancy Feast canned I had just weaned them off of.
I asked her to take them back because I knew all those changes within a week wouldn't be good for them, and ever since they've had diarrhea and I feel so bad watching them go through this just so mom could feel like she helped save me a few bucks.
We made an agreement that if there were no changes in their litter boxes after going through the new foods, we'd go back to Wellness Core, Entrees, and Nature's Variety [yay]
We're almost out of the 9 Lives canned, so hopefully since there's no changes, they'll let me buy their food.

I tell you this to ask, will going back to grain-free help?
I only wonder because I read somewhere that corn/wheat-gluten-meals can cause IBS and other similar problems in cats, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that that's the problem.

If it doesn't help, what can I do to help harden their stools?
I've read around on here, other sites, and books about slippery elm bark and canned pure pumpkin. But I'm not sure if these work for both softening and hardening, how much to give my kittens [if at all], nor where to find them.
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like you already figured it out. A lot of changes in a cat's diet combined w/ a bit of stress can cause diarrhea.

Most important is to make sure they are staying hydrated.

Can pumpkin is a fiber matrix, but has a strong smell and flavor so don't add too much. Perhaps half a teaspoon for a 3oz can.

Go to the health section of your grocery store and you'll see refrigerated probiotic capsules for people. Get the weakest or children one, and just crush 1/4 to 1/2 per 3oz can once a day.

I would greatly simplify their diet.

I'd leave out a decent dry food so they can slowly nibble, Wellness makes a kitten one, which tends to have a decent amount of fiber and tends to firm up stools likely due to low moisture. Then feed wet morning and night and limit them to just one wet food for right now.

Expect it could take a week to see results.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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With all due respect, I would NOT recommend putting them on kibble if they're not currently eating it. Canned foods - even the cheap ones - are healthier for felines than kibble. Do, however, buy a probiotic for them. Go to your local health food store and buy some acidophilus powder or capsules, then sprinkle just a tiny bit into a canned food meal for them once daily for a week or two to help repopulate their good gut bacteria. If you prefer a pet-formulated probiotic instead of human-grade acidophilus (either is fine), you can buy a variety of different probiotic products at Pet Meds | Dog Supplies | Pet Supplies | Pet Products | Pet Supply for reasonable prices.

If your kittens will eat plain, canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling) or baby food mashed peas, 1/2-1 tsp once daily mixed into canned food (or offered plain if they'll eat it that way) may also help firm up their stool.

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Old 10-25-2010, 05:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'd have to disagree about friskies being better than a quality dry food, there is debate regarding the dental concerns of a pure wet diet, and even my vet (Dr Smith, Sienna Plantation Animal Clinic) recommended reducing wet food intake when my two kitties had a spat of diarrhea a while back as the extra cereal/fiber and reduced moisture can have a side-effect of firming stools. I'm not a nutritionist by any stretch of the imagination, but its not the only place I have read that concern. *shrugs*
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you both! I'll look for the acidophilus and pumpkin tomorrow, and I'll definitely try the mashed peas.
Though, they are on a kibble now and the bag is almost empty, Purina One Chicken & Rice Kitten Formula, so I have to go get another. Would transitioning to the Wellness kitten one be better or would it just make a bad situation worse?
The 9 Lives cans are 5.5 oz, so they get one in the morning and one in the evening. Sometimes my mom gives them another can in the afternoon, but they never finish a whole can at once.
Actually, is that odd? They're about 5 and 6 months old now, both are about 6 pounds. When I had them on Nature's Variety and Wellness I'd pop open two of the 3 oz cans on a plate for them and they went through all 6 oz, but they only get about halfway through a 5.5oz can of 9 Lives.
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I prefer using Slippery Elm Bark over pumpkin and the times I have needed it, it has worked much better.

"Its mucilage content coats, soothes, and lubricates the mucus membranes lining the digestive tract. Slippery Elm is an excellent treatment for ulcers, gastritis, colitis, and other inflammatory bowel problems. It is high in fiber, and so helps normalize intestinal action; it can be used to relieve both diarrhea and constipation." -http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=slipperyelm

Personally, I wouldn't get anymore kibble. It really isn't good for cats and it will cause health problems later on. It would be much better for your kittens if you could feed all wet food

Food Products has a list of some good wet food choices.
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I've also heard good things about slippery elm bark, for pets and people. You can order it from Vitacost (the NSI brand) just make SURE your source is very good, as slippery elm trees have been hit hard by a beetle lately. Make sure you research the dosage -- too little is better than too much. Slippery elm bark also has amazing anti-cancer properties.

I'd also keep them on grain-free food, and read the labels.

I also give my kitties water from a filtered water pitcher (Culligan takes out more than Britta or PUR) so their water doesn't small bad. I've read that chlorine can upset animal tummies, especially if they have digestive problems. Their little bodies don't need all those chemicals anyway. Remember, bottled water is the same as tap -- loaded with chlorine!

I also might be a good idea to confine them a bit in one room so they quiet down a bit. Getting over-excited won't help matters.

Good luck!
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Old 10-27-2010, 08:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by furryfriends251 View Post
I prefer using Slippery Elm Bark over pumpkin and the times I have needed it, it has worked much better.

"Its mucilage content coats, soothes, and lubricates the mucus membranes lining the digestive tract. Slippery Elm is an excellent treatment for ulcers, gastritis, colitis, and other inflammatory bowel problems. It is high in fiber, and so helps normalize intestinal action; it can be used to relieve both diarrhea and constipation." -http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=slipperyelm
Ooh.. I forgot about that one. Think health food stores would have it? Or a place like GNC? I can't really order online, I'm only 17.

Quote:
Originally Posted by furryfriends251 View Post
Personally, I wouldn't get anymore kibble. It really isn't good for cats and it will cause health problems later on. It would be much better for your kittens if you could feed all wet food

Food Products has a list of some good wet food choices.
Ah, trust me, if it were up to me they wouldn't be eating kibble :3
But, again, I'm 17, lol. Even though I'm paying, my parents are stuck on, "If it were bad for them, they wouldn't sell it! Your sisters' cats are all on kibble and they're fine!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by suzeaa View Post
I've also heard good things about slippery elm bark, for pets and people. You can order it from Vitacost (the NSI brand) just make SURE your source is very good, as slippery elm trees have been hit hard by a beetle lately. Make sure you research the dosage -- too little is better than too much. Slippery elm bark also has amazing anti-cancer properties.

I'd also keep them on grain-free food, and read the labels.

I also give my kitties water from a filtered water pitcher (Culligan takes out more than Britta or PUR) so their water doesn't small bad. I've read that chlorine can upset animal tummies, especially if they have digestive problems. Their little bodies don't need all those chemicals anyway. Remember, bottled water is the same as tap -- loaded with chlorine!

I also might be a good idea to confine them a bit in one room so they quiet down a bit. Getting over-excited won't help matters.

Good luck!
Bottled water has chlorine, too? I've been giving them Dasani
Guess I'll have to bring my filtered water pitcher back from NY this time, lord knows I can't afford another one right now.

And yes, they're back on grain-free foods, at least my parents allow that much. Wellness canned and Nature's Variety Instinct dry.

It's weird, too. They sorta confined themselves for awhile. Dusty's been sleeping with my parents' German Shepherd, Toby, all day. Dottie's been curling up in my lap or on the windowsills. They still chase each other around the second floor occasionally because it's just a wide, open space for them to play, but usually they're sleeping.


Also, an update!
Dottie's stools are back to normal, so she's doing great.
Dusty.. I think he's eating the dog food again, because he's still really soupy. I'm more than certain that that's his problem. The stuff my parents usually get Toby [Alpo brand?] has salt. The other brand, Pedigree, has garlic and onion in it. I know those are no good for kitties.. or dogs, even. He normally only gets in a bite or two before someone takes him into another room and gives him a can of Wellness, but he certainly tries to eat it all! Should I just keep him away from the dog's bowls for a week, let it all come out of his system, and see if it clears up on its own? Or should I continue with the pumpkin?
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