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Lactulose and Vetasyl making cat's poo tarry?
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Lactulose and Vetasyl making cat's poo tarry?

My 17 year old female cat, Midge, has been very constipated for the last month or so.  She was prescribed Vetasyl on January 16, but it had no effect (even after increasing her dose to 2 capsules a day).  On January 23, after a week of not pooping, she had an enema at our vet, which produced about a foot of feces.  After observing her rapid, ragged breathing, our vet performed an X-ray at that time which indicated some asthma/bronchial scarring on her lungs, but no fluid and her heart was not enlarged.   At that time she was prescribed Prednisone to help with her breathing and Lactulose to help with her constipation, in conjunction with her Vetasyl.

After gradually increasing her Lactulose from .3 ml twice a day to 1 ml three times a day, she finally produced a poop on her own on January 27.  Since then, she has pooped on her own three more times, about every 2 days.  The problem is, her poops are very tarry (not black in color, but just the consistency).  There is no blood in her stool, so we're wondering if it could be either the Vetasyl or Vetasyl plus Lactulose making the poops so tacky.  Our vet told us her poops should be softer, not stickier, but didn't know if it could be the Vetasyl causing the problem.  He suggested upping her Lactulose even more to 1.3 ml three times a day.  

Have you ever heard of too much fiber in a diet making poops the consistency of Tootsie Rolls?  They are very hard for her to push out (afterward, she collapses panting and exhausted) and we have to pull them out of her butt because they just stick there otherwise.  

She is currently on 2 capsules Vetasyl/day and 1 ml Lactulose/3 times a day.  Would you reduce or cut out the Vetasyl to possibly make her poop less tarry and more soft?  

Thank you so much for your help.
Type of Animal
:  
cat
Age of Animal
:  
17
Sex of Animal
:  
Female
Breed of Animal
:  
domestic shorthair
Last date your pet was examined by a vet?
:  
December 23, 2009
City
:  
beverly hills
State/Province
:  
c
X-Ray Results
:  
no fluid in lungs; bronchial/asthma scarring on lungs; no enlarged heart
Related Discussions
931217_tn?1283484935
THE BELOW REPLY IS THAT OF DR. CRUZ, WHO INADVERTENTLY POSTED IT AS A COMMENT, RATHER THAN AS AN ANSWER. THANKS TO DR. CRUZ FOR HER THOROUGH REPLY.....

Mom was right...we do need fiber in our diets and so do our pets.  As we age, it is not uncommon for cats or their owners to have occasional bouts of constipation.  If it occurs too frequently or if it lasts for too long a period of time, a condition known as megacolon takes place.  This basically results in the colon, the last part of the intestinal tract, losing its ability to push the stool out.  The stool builds up, becomes very hard and dry and necessitates enemas or other types of medical intervention.  The colon can become so distended and weakened, that it can rupture.

Trying to find just the right level of fiber can be a matter of try, try and try again.  Each cat is very individual and the degree of colon disease can be difficult to ascertain.  Be sure your cat is drinking enough water.  I will often recommend an electric pet fountain.  Cats are attracted to moving water and the fountain entices increased water intake.  If your cat is not a regular milk drinker, a small amount of cow's milk may soften the stool.  I will also recommend that my clients try Benefiber.  Yes, this is a people product.  It comes in powder and pill form.  I like the powder. I have my cat owners sprinkle 1 tsp. per cup of dry food (you can spray the dry food with a small amount of water) or mix the powder in with the canned food.  I would stop the Vetasyl if you try the Benefiber.  Ask your veterinarian about possibly using DSS, a stool softener.  It does not make the cat go, it merely assists in the passage of stool.

If your veterinarian has not run a general blood and urine test on your cat, I would strongly recommend that you ask for a panel.  You want to be sure that there are no underlying medical issues that could be exacerbating the constipation.  

When in doubt, ask your primary care veterinarian.  He/she knows your cat better than anyone else.  The two of you are the best health care team for your cat.

Best of luck...
Dr. Bernadine
3 Comments
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945837_tn?1283485254
Mom was right...we do need fiber in our diets and so do our pets.  As we age, it is not uncommon for cats or their owners to have occasional bouts of constipation.  If it occurs too frequently or if it lasts for too long a period of time, a condition known as megacolon takes place.  This basically results in the colon, the last part of the intestinal tract, losing its ability to push the stool out.  The stool builds up, becomes very hard and dry and necessitates enemas or other types of medical intervention.  The colon can become so distended and weakened, that it can rupture.

Trying to find just the right level of fiber can be a matter of try, try and try again.  Each cat is very individual and the degree of colon disease can be difficult to ascertain.  Be sure your cat is drinking enough water.  I will often recommend an electric pet fountain.  Cats are attracted to moving water and the fountain entices increased water intake.  If your cat is not a regular milk drinker, a small amount of cow's milk may soften the stool.  I will also recommend that my clients try Benefiber.  Yes, this is a people product.  It comes in powder and pill form.  I like the powder. I have my cat owners sprinkle 1 tsp. per cup of dry food (you can spray the dry food with a small amount of water) or mix the powder in with the canned food.  I would stop the Vetasyl if you try the Benefiber.  Ask your veterinarian about possibly using DSS, a stool softener.  It does not make the cat go, it merely assists in the passage of stool.

If your veterinarian has not run a general blood and urine test on your cat, I would strongly recommend that you ask for a panel.  You want to be sure that there are no underlying medical issues that could be exacerbating the constipation.  

When in doubt, ask your primary care veterinarian.  He/she knows your cat better than anyone else.  The two of you are the best health care team for your cat.

Best of luck...
Dr. Bernadine
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Avatar_f_tn
You might check the VitalityScience.com website.  A lot of their products are geared toward the opposite problem, but some are supposed to be good for constipation as well.
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