Dear Doctor - Prolapse of the rectum in young cats
Kitten with a prolapsed rectum
Q Last month, a little stray kitten showed up at my house and I brought him into my home (I have three other adult cats). The following day, I took him to the vet to be examined and started on vaccines, etc. He appeared to be about 10 to 12 weeks at the time. During the appointment, I mentioned that his anus sometimes pokes out a little and looks a little red. Other times, it looks normal. The vet advised me to keep an eye on it, and if it doesn’t go back in, I should have him checked out right away. Is there anything I can do to help resolve this, and is it potentially serious?
A Dear Pat: I would concur with your doctor’s opinion. Intermittent prolapse of the rectum (showing the red lining of the rectum) is common in young cats and disappears with age. This condition may result from straining to defecate, and routine deworming is recommended in case intestinal parasites are causative. In most cases, however, the problem disappears as the pet grows. Persistent prolapse of the rectal mucosa (“rectal prolapse”) is a more serious condition that requires surgical replacement of the prolapsed tissue back into the pet. Surgery is only necessary when the prolapse is persistent.
Michael Stone DVM, DACVIM
Clinical Assistant Professor
Cummings School of Veterinary
Medicine at Tufts University