Folding of the Intestines Average Cost

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What are Folding of the Intestines?

The most common sign of intussusception is vomiting or diarrhea that lasts for more than two days. It is often accompanied by blood in the stools or vomit, a noticeable loss of appetite, and signs of depression. Cats displaying these symptoms should receive prompt medical attention. Depending on the severity of the condition, hospitalization and emergency surgery may be necessary. If left untreated, a fold in the intestine can damage the protective mucus membrane of the G.I. tract, allowing bacteria and toxins to enter the system. In extreme cases, swelling in the affected area may result in necrosis (tissue death).

Intussusception is the medical term for a fold in the intestine that causes inflammation and blockage. The condition often affects the middle of the small intestine or the area where the small intestine connects with the large intestine or colon. 

Symptoms of Folding of the Intestines in Cats

Symptoms resulting from a fold in the intestine may be intermittent or long-lasting. It is possible for the condition to resolve on its own. However, a medical consultation is always recommended to determine the severity of the blockage and whether surgery will be needed. Symptoms will vary depending on the area of the intestine that is affected and whether the blockage is total or partial. Common symptoms include one or more of the following:

  • Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
  • Straining to defecate
  • Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal mass
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Collapse or sudden death (in cases of a total obstruction)

Causes of Folding of the Intestines in Cats

Intussusception may occur in cats of any age, but is more commonly found in kittens and younger cats. Those with weakened immune systems are more likely to be affected, and the condition is more common in Siamese cats than in other breeds. Common causes of the disorder include:

  • Intestinal parasites (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms)
  • Viral or bacterial gastroenteritis 
  • Ingestion of foreign bodies
  • Abrupt dietary changes
  • Inflammation of the small intestines
  • Tumors
  • Complications following intestinal surgery

Diagnosis of Folding of the Intestines in Cats

The examining veterinarian will likely begin by reviewing the cat’s full medical history including information regarding recent symptoms and other possible causes. The frequency of vomiting and diarrhea should be discussed.

It may be difficult to recognize intussusception as the symptoms are common to many other gastrointestinal disorders. The vet is likely to order a series of tests in order to rule out other possible conditions and reach a differential diagnosis. Common tests include a complete blood count (CBC), biochemical profile, electrolyte panel, and urinalysis. A fecal test may be ordered to check for parasites.

A complete physical exam will be performed, with special attention paid to the abdominal area. The vet may notice a firm sausage-shaped mass in the intestines. X-rays may be needed to look for physical obstructions and the presence of gas and fluids. A barium contrast study, abdominal ultrasound, or endoscopy may be recommended. In some cases, exploratory surgery will be needed.

Treatment of Folding of the Intestines in Cats

Treatment recommendations will depend on the severity of the condition, whether tissue death has occurred, how long the condition has been present, and the effects of any underlying conditions. 


When a cat has been suffering from vomiting and/or diarrhea for an extended period of time, it is likely to be dehydrated and may suffer from electrolyte imbalances. Aggressive treatment with I.V. fluids and a sodium solution may be needed to stabilize the animal before surgery can be considered.

Surgical Treatment

Surgical treatment can be difficult and complicated. It is recommended that it only be performed by a board-certified surgical specialist. In certain circumstances, it may be possible for the surgeon to manually unfold the affected area. This method of treatment is less invasive, but creates a high likelihood that the condition will recur. More commonly, the affected area will be removed and the healthy ends reattached using sutures or staples. This procedure is known as intestinal anastomosis. 

Recovery of Folding of the Intestines in Cats

Prognosis for affected animals will vary widely depending on the degree of the intussusception and the severity of accompanying symptoms. Following surgery, the cat should be kept calm and quiet and activities should be limited until it has fully recovered. Follow-up visits will be needed to ensure proper healing. Since recurrence is most likely to occur in the first few weeks, close observation during this time is required. Any signs of recurrence will require immediate medical attention. 

The vet will likely prescribe antibiotics to prevent post-surgical infection and will recommend a diet consisting of small and easily digestible meals. Owners should be aware of the dangers of dehydration and take preventative measures. Once the cat has fully recovered it should be able to begin eating a balanced diet and resume normal activities.

Folding of the Intestines Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Domestic cat
4 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

slight bloating of stomach

I can sometimes feel my cat's intestines (I believe) after she's finished eating, other than an enlarged stomach, which I associated with her eating too much, nothing seems wrong with her, we had a vet check her for kittens left in her belly but she was fine, I wonder what I should do.

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Mr. Hobbs
18 Months
Moderate condition
-1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Frightens easily

Our 1 1/2 year old male cat has been lethargic and not himself. The vet took x-rays and did blood work. His blood work was normal except for increased globulin. His x-ray showed bunched up intestines. An ultra sound was done and it did not show any foreign object in his intestines. It did show enlarged kidneys. He was placed on an antibiotic and after 10 days there is no change. He sometimes shakes his head, but his ears are clean. He has back spasms where his fur ripples. His coat is a little dry but there is no bald spots or excessive licking or biting. He eats small meals twice a day and uses the litter box. He drinks a lot of water. There has been no vomiting or diarrhea. What could it be?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
If his x-rays showed 'bunched up intestines', that could be concerning for a foreign body, especially in a young cat like Mr. Hobbs. If he isn't improving, it would be best to have a recheck for him with your veterinarian, as they can reassess and try and determine what is happening.

Yes, a foreign object was of concern, so the vet did an ultra sound and found no foreign object and just said that he had a fatty pouch that was pushing his intestines together. I don't understand what that means or if it is a concern. But he does not have a foreign object in his intestines.

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Devon Rex
1 Year
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Straining To Defecate
Loss of Appetite

Hello, my one year old devon rex recently had surgery for an intussusception, where 60% of his colon had to be removed (it had become black and diseased possibly due to ecoli that had leaked into the abdomen due to tears in the colon. He now only retains his jejunum, so there is no ilium to break down fats and bile acids. Thus, they put him on a low fat, high protein diet (Hill Metabolic). The surgery was successful, he returned home and was seemingly on the path to recovery. However, his bowel movements which had previously been solely diarrhea post surgery turned hard and very small. Not surprisingly his colon was impacted with feces and he was unable to defecate much. Our doctor is now telling us that he may never be able to have bowel movements without aid of medicine and is very prone to a recurrence of the intussusception. I'm just wondering if there are any possible diet solutions that we're not exploring or other treatments that might help keep our little guy alive and happy.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
In these types of cases it may be best to contact a board certified Veterinary Nutritionist who will be able to guide you regarding specific dietary requirements given the loss of a large portion of colon. The link below is to a company which makes customer makes pet food and have a section where you can reach out to ask a question to a Veterinary Nutritionist. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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short hair
2 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss

My cat may have intussusception and is being scheduled for an exloritory, I just want to know if his weight could effect the outcome of his surgery. He is emaciated, I can feel his hip bones and spine.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
Thank you for contacting us about Odin today. I'm sorry that he is having problems. Intestinal intussusception is a condition that needs to be repaired as soon as possible, so unfortunately isn't an elective procedure. If he is malnourished as a result of his intestinal problems, it may take him longer to heal from the surgery, but the surgery may actually improve his ability to maintain his weight and improve his life dramatically. If his veterinarian feels that he is stable for the surgery, his weight should not have that large of an impact on the outcome of the surgery. He will likely be on IV fluids during the surgery to make sure that he is hydrated throughout, and hopefully he will recover quickly and start gaining some weight afterwards. If you do have concerns about his weight, make sure that you discuss those concerns with your veterinarian before the surgery. I hope everything goes well for him!

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