Irritable Bowel Syndrome Average Cost

From 369 quotes ranging from $200 - 1,500

Average Cost


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What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome often causes pain and discomfort in affected cats. Prompt veterinary treatment is recommended so that the cat can maintain a positive quality of life. With proper treatment, symptoms can be managed and the condition should not affect life-expectancy.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a sensitivity of the lower bowels characterized by frequent urges to defecate, diarrhea or constipation, and cramping. The condition is typically caused by stress, dietary intolerance, or a disruption in the bowel’s chemical functions. Irritable bowel syndrome is often confused with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The difference is that IBS occurs as a result of a psychosomatic (mental) condition while IBD is an inflammation of the intestinal lining caused by an underlying disease.

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Cats

The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in cats can range in frequency and severity and may include: 

  • Difficulty with defecation 
  • Chronic intermittent diarrhea
  • Frequent passing of feces 
  • Mucus or blood in the feces
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Changes in appetite
  • Nausea 
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy

Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Cats

It is often difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome. The condition is primarily related to stress caused by factors such as a change in living situation or routine, the addition of new pets or children to the home, trauma, or lack of stimulation. Other causes may include:

  • Separation anxiety
  • Dietary intolerances
  • Lack of dietary fiber
  • Abnormal colon function
  • Neural dysfunction 

Diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Cats

Prior to examination, the veterinarian will review the cat’s medical history and discuss details regarding the onset of symptoms. Owners should be prepared to provide the vet with information regarding changes in the cat’s personality, theories regarding other possible causes, and information regarding recent changes to the cat’s environment. A physical exam will be performed and a standard set of lab tests will likely be ordered to assess the cat’s overall health. This may include a complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry profile, urinalysis, fecal examination, and electrolyte panel. Negative test results may indicate the presence of IPS since it is primarily a mental condition. X-rays or ultrasounds may be ordered to help with visual diagnosis and intestinal tissue biopsies may be recommended. 

The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are similar to those of other conditions. Prior to making a definitive diagnosis, the vet will attempt to rule out other possible causes including inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, feline leukemia, metabolic disease, bacterial or parasitic infections, or cancer. 

Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Cats

Unless the cat is severely dehydrated, outpatient treatment will likely be sufficient. There is no single treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, so the vet is likely to recommend a combination of therapies.

Dietary Changes

A hypoallergenic food trial may be recommended. This is done by feeding the cat a diet consisting of a protein and carbohydrate source that it has never previously consumed. Options may include duck, venison, or rabbit-based foods. During a food trial, the cat should not be fed any other substances including table-scraps, treats, or flavored medications. It usually takes several weeks or longer for improvements to be seen. After this time period, if the cat still continues to suffer from IBS, the diet may be changed again. Cats tend to respond well to diets that are easily digestible, high in fiber, and low in fat. Be sure to consult closely with the veterinarian throughout the process to ensure that the diet is appropriate for the cat’s breed, age, and level of activity.

Medical Treatment

Corticosteroids, primarily prednisolone, may be prescribed to treat inflammation. In some cases, antibiotics and/or immunosuppressive drugs will be prescribed. Each of these medications may cause serious side effects and close veterinary supervision will be necessary.

Veterinarians have recently had success in treating IBS with prebiotics and probiotics to help support the production and maintenance of the beneficial bacteria that aids in gastrointestinal health. 

Stress Management

If the cat is living in conditions that are causing undue amounts of stress, this will need to be addressed promptly. In some cases, anti-anxiety medication may be prescribed to help the cat deal with situations that cannot be otherwise resolved. Owners may also try using calming essential oil diffusers or sprays to help soothe the cat’s anxiety. Increasing the amount of human interaction and ensuring that plenty of toys are available will help to reduce stress and ensure that the cat is getting sufficient exercise.

Recovery of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Cats

Although irritable bowel syndrome is not usually curable, symptoms can be controlled with proper ongoing treatment. It will be necessary to maintain the recommended dietary restrictions and ensure that the environment remains as stress-free as possible. Relapse is likely, making regular follow-up appointments an important factor in long-term recovery.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Maine Coon
11 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

No Appetite constipation

My 11 year old Maine Coon Sophie has a recurring issue: declining appetite which leads to stopping eating, no bowel movements then rapid shallow breathing (she has asthma and gets Flovent 2x/ day) - now gets a weekly appetite stimulant, eats well for 4 days and all symptoms disappear then appetite wanes then repeat symptoms. The cycle used to be every 3-4 weeks but now weekly. She is on a GI sensitive prescription kibble (only will eat kibble). Vet wants to start prednisone which would treat the asthma as well as potential IBS. CT scan is booked for March 1st. Wondering if it will give definitive assessment of IBS? She has never had diarrhea and all blood work normal but iron level low at 35.Also gets 2ml lactulose 2x day to reduce constipation.

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
470 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. The CT scan will be able to see if there are irregularities in the intestine or colon, but the only way to diagnose the type of intestinal disease is to have a surgical biopsy. Given that that is quite an invasive procedure, your veterinarian is suggesting a safe alternative to see if she responds to the steroid, as that will increase that odds of an inflammatory bowel condition. I hope that everything goes well for her.

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13 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Straining To Defecate
Loose stools

Medication Used


My cat is literally pooping everywhere, she poops a lot but still strains to poop more. The stools vary from normal to very watery. She sometimes screeches after as though it was painful, although she is a bengal so screeches a lot anyway.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1967 Recommendations
There are a few reasons for Bena to be in pain whilst defecating which may include constipation, colitis, other bowel disorders, parasites, obstructions, foreign objects, tumours, anal gland issues among other causes. You should take her into your Veterinarian for an examination to be on the safe side and to identify a cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Domestic shorthair
4 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms


My cat vomits 2-3 a month or more after eating and once every couple of months vomits foam with hair. She used to have very smelly stool until I changed to a raw diet and it got better, but since August she had bouts of vomiting. She had mucous in her stool today and went to defecate twice within 2 hours. In September she has blood in urine that was deemed a stress disorder. What should I do next?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1967 Recommendations
The vomiting may be caused by a few different conditions which may include hairballs, parasites, dietary issues, infections among other conditions; without a thorough examination I cannot give you any specifics but I would suggest adding some plain canned pumpkin to the food to help increase the fibre content as well as giving a hairball remedy to be on the safe side. You should have Bagheera checked over by your Veterinarian to look out for any other symptoms which may help determine what is going on. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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11 years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

vomitting blood, weight loss pain
vomitting blood, weight loss

Medication Used

anti nausea, zaban
anti nausea
anti nausea zaban

Hello my cat alley has being vomiting blood and losing weight. the vets think she has IBS they are gong to do a biopsy of her bowel. she also has a mass which was picked up on a xray.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1967 Recommendations
Until a biopsy is performed, treatment would be limited to supportive and symptomatic care; once it is confirmed to be irritable bowel syndrome treatment may be directed, until then dietary changes and keeping Alley (Alley Cat - good name) in a calm environment may help. The mass may be a separate issue depending on the location in the body and would also need to be identified (removed or biopsied) to determine any further treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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