Diagnosing Cat Gas and Diarrhea Problems

Cat gas can be extremely unpleasant. If the condition is temporary, the cause may not be anything alarming. Cat gas can simply be caused by swallowing too much air while eating. If, however, your cat's gas has lasted over a period of time, you may benefit from discovering the cause. Many serious illnesses can result in cat gas and lead to other, more severe symptoms, such as diarrhea, dehydration, inflammation or even death.

Swallowing Air

The most common cause of cat gas is swallowed air. This can happen while eating, especially if a cat is competing with others for food. Consuming food directly after exercise can cause this condition as well. More serious causes of swallowed air include respiratory problems, problems with the intestines, inflammatory bowel disease, bacteria, parasites or malfunction of the pancreas. Certain breeds with smaller noses or pushed-in faces, such as the Persian and Himalayan, also have a higher tendency to swallow air.

Respiratory Problems

Cat gas can be a sign that your cat is having trouble with the respiratory system. Other signs that may help to diagnose respiratory issues are gasping for breath or heavy breathing, watery eyes, sneezing, loss of appetite or lethargy. Upper respiratory infections are common in cats and can be life threatening. If gas and diarrhea are involved, this may indicate a lower respiratory infection, which can also be dangerous.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease in cats causes the stomach and intestines to be chronically inflamed. Genetics, nutrition or a weakened immune system may be to blame for this condition. Cat gas, diarrhea, vomiting, mucus or blood in the stool and more frequent defecation can all indicate inflammatory bowel disease involving the colon. As the condition worsens, cats may refuse to eat, become lethargic and begin to avoid using the litter box.

Parasitic Infection

Parasites can cause many symptoms, depending upon the type of parasite that is infecting your cat. The more common parasites, such as tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms do not usually cause cat gas as a symptom. More dangerous parasites like giardia and coccidia lead to loose stool, gas and overall ill health. Kittens or adult cats with a weakened immune system are most susceptible to symptoms. Diagnosis of these parasites usually requires a fecal examination.

Pancreatic Insufficiency

Pancreatic insufficiency or maldigestion syndrome is rare in cats, but can be a significant source of cat gas. This disease is caused when the pancreas doesn't produce enough of its various enzymes to keep digestion working properly. Diarrhea and gas coupled with rumbling sounds in the belly, caused by the moving of gas, may indicate this condition. Cats may also experience rapid weight loss despite excessive eating. Testing is recommended to analyze measurement of digestive enzymes in the blood. Symptoms of this and other conditions causing cat gas may be similar, so conducting the proper blood or fecal tests will lead to a more concrete diagnosis and help you to determine which treatment options should have the most success.