Cats, like humans, are fiercely independent and love a good catnap. Cats are these wonderfully adorable and cute animals that, although lovely, can leave a mean scratch on the face. However, have we ever stopped to think that like humans, cats can get hemorrhoids?! Well, conditions that are eerily similar to what we know as hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal area and lower rectum. Symptoms include but are not limited to depending on the type, itching, or irritation in the anal region, pain or discomfort, swelling, and bleeding.
External hemorrhoids (under the skin) are characterized by itching or discomfort in the anal region. In contrast, internal hemorrhoids (inside the rectum) are characterized by painless bleeding during bowel movements or prolapsed or protruding hemorrhoids resulting in pain and discomfort.
Thrombosed (blood clot) hemorrhoids are a more severe form of hemorrhoids in that there is severe pain, swelling, inflammation followed by a hard lump near the anal region.
Can cats get hemorrhoids??
The short answer is yes. The long answer strictly speaking no, but cats get conditions similar to what we, as humans, know as hemorrhoids.
Is Something Wrong with My Cat?
Have you caught your cat scooting around on the floor or giving special attention to the anal region? Your cat may have something called proctitis rectal or anal/rectal prolapse, or anal sac infection. Each is characteristic of hemorrhoids or similar in that they cause pain and discomfort in the rectal area.
Your cat may also have a hard time, thus straining to pass a bowel movement or making crying noises because he or she is in discomfort.
Anal and rectal prolapse is where tissue and, in some cases, the lining of the rectum protrudes through the anal opening in the anal region. If you notice some irregularities in that region, go to your pet’s trusted veterinary physician immediately.
Conversely, an anal sac infection is an infection of the anal sac glands. Usually, when a cat passes a bowel movement, it puts pressure on those glands releasing a fluid that gives cats the ability to mark their territory. However, there are cases where these glands can become blocked, leading to infections.
If you notice your cat continuously licking or grooming that area or see that he/she may have some redness or swelling, refer to a vet as soon as possible.
Indeed, cats can get hemorrhoids or conditions that are indicative of hemorrhoids. If that is the case, the first step is taking them to the vet. The vet will then conduct a physical examination to assess the situation. There are several ways a vet can treat these issues.
For the anal and rectal prolapse, if the tissue is still alive, meaning it can be moved, the vet will manually reset it by pushing the tissue back in and suturing loosely so that your cat can pass a bowel movement comfortably. Another option is the colopexy, which is a mildly invasive surgery where the rectum is pulled back into the body and attached to the body wall.
In most cases, if the issue is not too severe, the vet will manually reset the tissue and send you home with some medication or topical cream to treat inflammation, swelling, and itching. The vet often will recommend a more fibrous and soft food diet. This will allow your cat to pass bowels much more quickly and comfortably.
It is often scary to find yourself in situations like these, but it is equally important to note that although these things happen, remember you are not to blame for these conditions and unfortunate dilemmas your cat may face. Can cats get hemorrhoids?