Worldwide medical and scientific journal for animal health professionals

Issue number 27.1 GI tract

How I approach... The cat with chronic diarrhea

Published 05/09/2019

Written by Craig B. Webb

Also available in Français , Deutsch , Italiano and Español

Clinicians will be all-too-familiar with the cat that has recurrent diarrhea; dealing with these patients can be frustrating for both the veterinarian and the owner, but Craig Webb offers his thoughts on how best to approach these cats with a case-based article that illustrates the key pointers for a successful outcome.

How I approach... The cat with chronic diarrhea

Key Points

The clinician can employ a variety of approaches when dealing with a cat that has chronic diarrhea. Two of the most useful methods are Clinical Reasoning and Script Recognition.


First approach the case as a clinician; diagnostic testing should arise from a clinical diagnosis.


Important incongruities and key features are to be found in the signalment, history, and physical exam.


Defining the problem in an accurate, complete and concise manner aids in diagnosis.


Positive predictive value is a function of the prevalence of the disease in the population being tested.


Diet is a critical component in both the diagnosis and the treatment of cats with chronic diarrhea.


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