Excessive Bacteria in the Small Intestine in Cats

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

While it is common for small intestine to have bacteria, it can become a problem when the count is too high. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is a disorder which causes an abnormal amount of bacteria to accumulate in the small intestine, which can then affect the normal intestinal functions, causing loose stools and weight loss. Often clearing up within a few days, but up to a few weeks; treatment options for this bacterial infection give an excellent prognosis.

Symptoms and Types

Common symptoms include loose stools, rapid weight loss, diarrhea, occasional vomiting and intestinal tract sounds (gurgling caused by gas).


Inadequate levels of thyroid, low pancreatic production of enzymes, low levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and intestinal disease are some of the known causes for this bacterial overgrowth.


Veterinarians will often perform blood work and bacterial cultures to determine the causes of the intestinal condition. In some cases a more invasive procedure, such as an endoscopy, will be required to view the intestine internally.

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