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What are Derotation of Intestines?

Derotation of the intestines is a procedure performed during certain gastrointestinal surgeries, primarily those used to treat mesenteric volvulus. This refers to the torsion of the small intestine. Torsion can cause necrosis in the tissues of the small intestine, which can result in severe abdominal distention and shock. Mesenteric volvulus is extremely rare in cats, and only a handful of cases have been reported. However, mesenteric volvulus is extremely life-threatening and can cause death quickly.

Derotation of Intestines Procedure in Cats

Since derotation of the intestines is only part of the surgery to correct mesenteric volvulus, the entire surgical procedure for treating mesenteric volvulus will be discussed here.

  1. The cat will first be treated for shock until it is in a more stable condition. This may involve the administration of antibiotics and intravenous fluid therapy as well as blood transfusion in cats that suffer from anemia due to the condition.
  2. The cat will then be anesthetized.
  3. The surgeon will then perform exploratory surgery to examine the extent of torsion.
  4. If it is viable, the surgeon will derotate the small intestine back into its normal position.
  5. If derotation is not viable, or if this procedure will not solve the problem completely, resection may then be performed. This involves removing necrotic portions of the small intestine and reconnecting the healthier tissues using sutures.
  6. Following resection, the surgeon will evaluate the resection to ensure no leakage can occur.
  7. The surgeon may choose to explore the gastrointestinal system further to ensure no other conditions are present before performing abdominal lavage.
  8. The surgeon will then close the initial entry site, and the cat will be hospitalized and monitored during recovery.

Efficacy of Derotation of Intestines in Cats

Due to the rarity of the condition in cats, there is little information regarding the efficacy of derotation of the intestines. However, one study documented the successful treatment of two cats with mesenteric volvulus. The cats in this study both survived the surgery, later dying of unrelated causes. In one cat, the extent of mesenteric volvulus was so severe that a blackened portion of the small intestine with no pulse had to be removed. It is unclear whether the surgeon performed derotation of the intestines.

The other cat underwent derotation of the intestines before undergoing resection of the intestine. This cat made a good recovery following a 72-hour hospitalization. Both cats featured in the case study experienced long-term diarrhea.

For most animals with mesenteric volvulus, the prognosis ranges from very poor to grave unless immediate surgical treatment is performed. Derotation of the intestines is only part of the procedure; resection is also usually required, particularly if necrosis of the tissues has occurred. The prognosis may be fairer if the torsion of the small intestine is only partial.

Derotation of Intestines Recovery in Cats

Affected cats that are treated promptly and successfully will be hospitalized for up to a week following surgery. During this time, the surgeon will administer supportive care, including intravenous nutritional and fluid therapy, analgesics, and other medications as needed. On the return home, the cat should not irritate the surgery site. If owners notice swelling or leakage at the surgery site, they should consult their veterinary professional immediately.

Cats that survive mesenteric volvulus will likely experience diarrhea throughout their lives. This is because resection of the small intestine can sometimes cause short bowel syndrome. It is usually not fatal, although the vet may prescribe medications or dietary changes to manage it.

Cost of Derotation of Intestines in Cats

The cost of surgical treatment for mesenteric volvulus may vary depending on any additional charges incurred, including the cost of medications, hospitalizations, and laboratory tests. The average cost of surgery to treat mesenteric volvulus ranges from $2,600 to $3,600.

Cat Derotation of Intestines Considerations

Mesenteric volvulus is considered a likely fatal condition in dogs and cats. However, the aforementioned study posits that the prognosis may not be as grave in cats if treated. In some cases, surgical treatment may not be sufficient to prevent sudden death. There little information in current veterinary literature on the risks associated with derotation of intestines or the success of surgical treatment for mesenteric volvulus in cats.

Derotation of Intestines Prevention in Cats

It is difficult to prevent mesenteric volvulus. The condition seems to be more prevalent in large dogs such as German Shepherds and Irish setters. The exact cause is not fully understood. Ensure your cat is being fed a complete, commercial diet, and monitor their activity to ensure they do not ingest any foreign bodies that may cause obstruction or torsion.