When three-year-old Fluffy started some serious licking around her tail, Sheryl thought the cat had fleas. The Persian’s endless scooting across new carpeting led her owner to take Fluffy to the vet. The cat’s diagnosis was proctitis.
Both cats and humans develop proctitis. According to HelpMyCat.com, this disorder is an inflammation of the cat’s anus and rectal area. Long- and medium-haired cats are particularly at risk when feces they try to pass sticks to their fur.
Proctitis in cats often develops when the pet suffers from dry stools or has swallowed a hard, sharp object that is trying to exit the body.
A cat’s rectum is one part of its large intestine. The other parts are the colon and the anus. Sometimes proctitis develops as the result of an inflammation in the colon, an allergic condition, or an inflammatory disease, PetPlace.com indicates. Tumors and polyps are also potential causes. Other culprits include diarrhea, insect bites, and parasites.
Signs and Symptoms
Owners should at least suspect that a cat has proctitis when the pet repeatedly strains when trying to have a bowel movement. Sometimes blood is visible in the stool.
A cat with this condition makes a habit of scooting over rough surfaces like carpet or upholstery because of constipation or discomfort. It might seem to the owner that the cat only stops licking around the tail long enough to eat. As a matter of fact, a cat’s rough tongue can make proctitis even more uncomfortable. Many cats meow due to pain when attempting a bowel movement.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Veterinarians who treat a cat with the symptoms of proctitis always conduct a digital rectal exam of the pet. Standard tests to confirm or rule out this disorder include a complete blood count, fecal flotation, a biochemical profile, and urinalysis. In some cases, abdominal X-rays or a proctoscopy with a biopsy is necessary.
When vets treat cats with proctitis, they must first find the cause of the condition and treat that cause. Sometimes this is as simple as a good sanitary clip under the tail. For some cats, topical creams and ointment reduce discomfort. Bitter-tasting ointments can also discourage the animal from licking around the anus while the inflammation heals.
If lab work has identified parasites, the vet will recommend an immediate deworming. The standard treatment for an infection is antibiotics.
For cats with allergic or inflammatory diseases, vets prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs like prednisone, which is a corticosteroid. Sometimes steroid enemas are an appropriate treatment.
Vets typically send owners home with stool softeners and a low-residue diet for their pets. The goal is to make it easier for a cat with proctitis to go to the bathroom.