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.
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.