Rectal Stricture in Cats
Rectal stricture occurs when a cat's rectal or anal opening is constricted due to the presence of scar tissue from inflammation, a previous injury, or an aggressive cancer growth. This narrowing of the opening(s) obstructs the passage of stool, thereby resulting in issues with the cat's digestive system. Rectal stricture is not hereditary.
Dogs and cats of both genders, and most breeds and ages may be affected by strictures. If you would like to learn more about how this condition affects dog, please visit this page in the PetMD pet health library.
Symptoms and Types
Symptoms will vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, and difficulties while defecating. The feces is often be covered in mucus and blood-stained. There also may be a compensatory increase in the size of the cat's large intestine as a result of the stricture.
Both male and female cats suffer from strictures, as do most breeds and age groups. Although, cats that have had rectal or anal abscesses, inflammation, fistulas, a foreign body in the anal passage, or fungal infection are at a higher risk of sustaining the condition. Cuts or wounds in the area, cancerous growths, and some surgeries (e.g., removal of part of the rectum for biopsy) can also put animals at higher risk for developing strictures.
Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your cat, taking into account the history of its symptoms and possible incidents that might have precipitated the stricture. Some of the common tests include a complete blood count and a urinalysis, which will usually return as normal. If your cat has an existing infection or inflammation, the white blood count may be high.
A manual examination of the rectum might be required to determine the extent and location of the stricture. Ultrasonography of the abdominal area may also be performed; this might show thickening of the stomach walls and a change in the structure of the internal tissues, especially if cancer is present.
X-rays of the abdominal area and injection of contrast dyes (barium, air, or double-contrast enema) may show narrowing of the rectal and intestinal canal. These tests will be completed as a multi-step process: first, a warm water enema will be administered, followed by the dye injection six hours later. A combination of air and barium media is most effective for testing.
A colonoscopy, using a tubular, flexible camera inserted through the anal opening, will help your veterinarian visualize the stricture internally and to determine the extent of the stricture. This is also a convenient method for obtaining a tissue sample for further evaluation, which is helpful for determining if your cat has cancer, or a fungal or parasitic infection.