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Stools too small? Anal glands not emptying on raw.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

First, I'm putting this in this forum and not the health because I'm hoping some tweaking of the food will help.  BUT, Lucy has had problems with her anal glands not emptying on her cheap, mostly dry food shelter diet and on her raw diet (mostly Hare Today ground with alnutrin.)  I have read that some cats just have an anatomical problem, where the glands just aren't positioned right to empty properly.  So, it is possible that no diet change would help.

 

Lucy was at the vet yesterday and needed her anal glands emptied again (second time since we adopted her in August.)  So far, neither vet who has expressed her glands has said anything about prevention of this problem.  I'd really like to ask the best vet there about it when I get the chance...not sure when that will be.  Interestingly, her anal gland secretions seem to be thick and almost solid.  You can see them, sort of scab like, on her anus...vets don't seem to think this is so unusual, but I'd like to ask the best vet about that too.  Anyways, basic internet research says stools need to be firm enough and bulky enough to express the glands.

 

Her stools are definitely firm enough.  My cats have probably been getting too much calcium (working on remedying that) and their stools are all firm.  Someone has been making very tiny poops though (multi-cat home so I'm not sure who) and I have a feeling that it is Lucy.  She is the smallest cat and eats the smallest meals...just have a feeling these abnormally tiny poops are hers (I don't see them poop often, but I have seen her poop a pretty small one.) 

 

Any experience or advice out there on making poops bulkier on raw?  In theory, I hate adding empty bulk to her meals because she eats such small meals.  (She has stomatitis so I worry about getting enough food in her.)  However, she does get enough nutrition, it seems, and has possibly gained a little too much lately.

 

I have seen mentioned in some raw recipes psyllium husk.  Also, when I researched this there was a mention of adding ground flaxseed for extra bulk and fiber.  (I know this will be no use for omega 3's...we do salmon oil for that.)  Anyways, I keep whole organic flaxseed in the house and grind it fresh for human use.  That would be easy for me to add to her food. 

 

Any thoughts?  Would you try the ground flaxseed?

post #2 of 9

I can't address the food part, although I've fed Ritz frankenprey for over a year.

But in so far as anal glands: Even before I fed her raw (Fancy Feast classic seafood addict), she had a problem with her anal glands, same with right now.  For whatever reason, her anal glands need expressing about twice a year.  The vets are usually surprised when I ask them to check her anal glands--"most cats don't have a problem with that" but sure enough, they need emptying.

Ritz' stools are firm, she tends to be a bit constipated.   They've never been wide stools, only relatively thin.  I'm guessing it's just one of her anatomical idiosyncracies.  If it's been four or more days since she's had a bm, I sometimes add extra kidney, which as I understand it, is a stool softener.

Hope this helps.

post #3 of 9

I've wondered about that as a potential problem with raw feeding and the resulting small stools. A cats true natural diet does have some fiber. Not a lot but some. I don't know if that small amount would make a difference with anal gland emptying but maybe. dontknow.gif

 

I've been thinking for some time about adding a bit of fiber to my cats diet but have been stumped about how to add it. Canned pumpkin would be a good choice. A teaspoon and day or maybe even 1/2 tsp would do it I think.

 

My cats aren't terribly fond of pumpkin though. I've been using Miralax for a couple of weeks because Jeta had a bit of constipation. I've been giving it to them all. I could use it long term but it may not add as much bulk as a fiber source does. My vet suggested Metamulcil Clear. It' tasteless and dissolves easily and is actually fiber.

 

I haven't made up my mind yet about what to use long term.

 

The ground flaxseed is an interesting idea. I've never heard  of using it as a fiber source. I like the taste of flaxseed. I wonder if the kitties would?

 

Edit: I just looked in the USDA database and flaxseed is 27% dietary fiber! Cool!  clap.gif

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

I just read this article...

 

http://drpollen.blogspot.com/2008/07/treating-constipation-in-cats-laxatives.html

 

Apparently, ground flaxseed is a good way to add bulk, fiber.  BUT if the cat just happened to have megacolon, you don't want to add bulk and could cause major problems doing so.  Now, I don't know if Lucy has megacolon or not, but I fear there could be something going on with her pooping system that isn't quite right.  I've wondered before if she deals with constipation (saw her straining once with nothing coming out...that spurred the first vet check of the anal glands.)  Apparently, pumpkin is a safer route to go if the cat has megacolon.  I might try pumpkin.  Flaxseed would be easier though...wish I'd asked the vet whether Lucy felt "full" in her abdomen.  I usually ask and usually she doesn't feel full of poop or anything. 

post #5 of 9
I wonder if guar gum would help? Dr. Pierson uses it for her megacolon kitty instead of psyllium.
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by txcatmom View Post

I just read this article...

 

http://drpollen.blogspot.com/2008/07/treating-constipation-in-cats-laxatives.html

 

Apparently, ground flaxseed is a good way to add bulk, fiber.  BUT if the cat just happened to have megacolon, you don't want to add bulk and could cause major problems doing so.  Now, I don't know if Lucy has megacolon or not, but I fear there could be something going on with her pooping system that isn't quite right.  I've wondered before if she deals with constipation (saw her straining once with nothing coming out...that spurred the first vet check of the anal glands.)  Apparently, pumpkin is a safer route to go if the cat has megacolon.  I might try pumpkin.  Flaxseed would be easier though...wish I'd asked the vet whether Lucy felt "full" in her abdomen.  I usually ask and usually she doesn't feel full of poop or anything. 

 

Yeah, I would prefer the canned pumpkin myself. It has fiber and moisture. But flaxseed is also a good source of  the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Even though cats can't convert ALA into the even more benficial EPA and DHA omega-3s ALA is beneficial even unconverted.

 

That site has *tons* of information about our options. It answers a lot of my questions!

post #7 of 9

With Lucy don't you want bulk though? How else would adding fiber help with anal glands? You don't know she has megacolon. It is the anal gland problem you are trying to address, right?

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
With Lucy don't you want bulk though?

Yeah, you're right.  I just got paranoid that I could cause her harm if she happened to have megacolon (added to my persistent worry that something isn't quite right with her pooping system, in addition to the anal gland problem.)  But, I probably need to take comfort in the fact that she has felt cleared out in the abdomen when the vets feel it (and she goes to the vet a lot.)  Only once she felt full, and maybe she just hadn't pooped lately.  Okay, maybe flaxseed...LOL.

post #9 of 9

I'd probably give the flaxseed once in awhile, first just to see if she will eat it rolleyes.gif, then just once a week or so for that added fiber.

 

I'm glad you posted this as I've often pondered this very issue highfive.gif

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