Pathogenesis, diagnosis, and therapy of feline idiopathic megacolon

R. J. Washabau, D. Holt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Scientific advances in the past decade have brought new understandings to the pathogenesis and therapy of feline colonic motility disorders. Epizootiologic studies have shown, for example, that 96% of the documented cases of obstipation are accounted for by idiopathic megacolon (62%), pelvic canal stenosis (23%), nerve injury (6%), or Manx sacral spinal cord deformity (5%). Recent physiologic studies suggest that most of the idiopathic cases result from colonic smooth muscle dysfunction. The latter studies have also provided evidence that colonic prokinetic agents are useful adjunctive therapy in the treatment of constipation. Many cats are now successfully treated with multicomponent therapy (i.e., dietary fiber supplementation, emollient or hyperosmotic laxatives, and colonic prokinetic agents). Those cats who fail to respond to conservative medical management will generally manifest marked clinical improvement with subtotal colectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-603
Number of pages15
JournalVeterinary Clinics of North America - Small Animal Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grants from the Morris Animal Foundation, Robert Winn Foundation, American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Academy of Feline Medicine, and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation.


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