Cat Intestinal Blockage Treatments And Cost
The most common reasons why a cat develops an intestinal blockage are swallowing something that cannot pass.
This is referred to as a “foreign body”. The object may be a piece of string, fabric, plastic, underwear, a toy, or anything that can get stuck.
Less common causes of intestinal obstructions include tumors, an intestinal torsion, or an intussusception. However, we are just focusing on an obstruction caused by a foreign body in this particular article.
Cats with an intestinal blockage are also in immediate need of medical care. This type of problem can lead to an emergency quickly.
Here are signs your cat may have an obstruction in their intestines:
- Not eating
- Only able to keep down water
- Not able to even keep down water
- Losing weight
- Painful in the abdomen
- Not able to get comfortable when lying down
If you notice one or more of these signs in your cat, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible. If your cat truly has an intestinal obstruction, the only treatment option is surgery to remove the obstruction.
There are no home remedies or DIY tricks to help your cat pass an obstruction in their intestine.
Intestinal Blockage Surgery Costs For Cats
The costs associated with an intestinal obstruction can be broken down into diagnostics and the actual surgery.
Before surgery can take place, xrays need to be performed as well as a possible ultrasound. Each of these steps will have a cost associated with it.
Costs to Diagnose: $500-1000
To confirm your cat has an obstruction, they need to have x-rays performed and the x-rays will sometimes be reviewed by a specialized veterinary radiologist.
No vet wants to take a cat to surgery unless they truly need it. If the x-rays aren’t 100% diagnostic, some cats will need to have an abdominal ultrasound performed to confirm the obstruction.
If this is needed, that will push the diagnostic costs up closer to $1000 or more.
Prior to surgery, blood work will need to be performed. This is to evaluate if your cat is able to handle surgery right away.
They may need to be on intravenous (IV) fluids for a time period before going under anesthesia for surgery.
Costs for Surgery: $1000-3500
The cost of surgery will depend on a number of factors. If the blockage was caught early and is not complicated, the cost of surgery will be closer to the $1000-1500.
If your cat’s intestines are damaged by the foreign object and they need to have some intestines removed, the cost will be much higher.
The cost of surgery will also depend on if your cat is at your local, small town veterinarian’s office or at a specialty facility or emergency care facility.
The prices can sometimes be starkly different depending on where your cat ends up being treated.
After the surgery, your cat can be hospitalized for 1-3 days so they can be monitored closely and kept on fluids.
This time period is extremely important to make sure their intestines are healing and that they are able to start eating again on their own without vomiting.
This recovery period is usually included in the estimated costs associated with the surgery.
Reader Submitted Costs
The true cost of your cat’s intestinal blockage surgery will vary depending on your location, the animal hospital you take them to.
We continue to receive messages from our readers who have paid thousands of dollars for this surgery.
Here are a few examples:
Ryan – paid $5,700 dollars for surgery on my fur baby with an intestinal blockage at an emergency vet. Never thought it could get that high.
B. located in central New Jersey paid $4,375 for emergency surgery to remove a string. This was after the initial $795 primary visit cost.
Gena – I was shocked at the price for emergency surgery. I just paid $5,800 for my kitten 🐈. He had an intestinal foreign object that needed to be removed.
Help With Emergency Medical Bills
For those who do not have medical insurance for their pets, they can opt for a new type of care called Pawp. Pawp offers great benefits for a low monthly fee. One of the benefits is having access to $3,000 in Emergency Medical Bills covered. The plan cost $19/month and covers up to 6 pets in your household.
Leslie Brooks graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. After graduation she moved to Indianapolis to do an intensive one-year internship at a specialty practice and then began working as a small animal general practitioner. She ran her own house call practice for three years, visiting pets in people’s homes. Currently, she works part time in clinical practice and volunteering her free time to serve pets of the homeless. Read more about us here.
I just paid $5700 dollars for surgery on my fur baby with an intestinal blockage at an emergency vet. Never thought it could get that high.
Price will always depend on many different factors. A good emergency vet should at least give you an idea or estimate of cost based on their initial exam and ongoing care.
What would be the minimal stay for observation after performing feline intestinal surgery? Everything I have read is 24 hours up to 3 day stay for post op observation.
Hi Jessica, it really depends on how extensive the blockage/intestinal surgery is. I would really just plan for 3 days and hope for a shorter stay.
My 1 year old kitty just had this surgery and I picked him up less than 24 hours after the surgery. He was at the vet for a total of 29 hours, including the time for the testing, x-rays, and waiting for the results.