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What is Enteropexy?

Enteropexy refers to one of many surgical techniques used to treat intestinal obstruction and rectal prolapse. The procedure involves attaching the small intestine, or bowel, to the abdominal wall. Enteropexy can also be used to correct the formation of sacs in the rectum following a perineal hernia. This procedure is rarely performed in domestic animals, as these conditions are considered rare.

Enteropexy Procedure in Cats

Enteropexy is usually part of another surgical procedure based on the underlying condition. For instance, cats with intestinal obstruction will also require surgery to remove or correct the obstruction. Cats with rectal prolapse may require colopexy – a procedure which involves attaching the colon inside the body using sutures – or rectal resection. Cats with perineal hernia will require an additional surgery to repair the pelvic diaphragm.

Since there are usually several surgical techniques involved in any case requiring enteropexy, only the procedure steps for enteropexy will be discussed here.

  1. The cat will first be treated for shock, if it is present.
  2. The cat will then be anesthetized.
  3. The surgeon may then perform any surgical techniques required. This may or may not take place before enteropexy is performed.
  4. The surgeon will then evaluate which sections of the bowels need to be attached to the abdomen wall.
  5. The surgeon will use sutures to attach the section of the small intestine to the abdominal wall.
  6. The surgeon will perform any additional surgical procedures required following enteropexy, if needed.

Efficacy of Enteropexy in Cats

In current veterinary literature, there is little on the efficacy of enteropexy in cats due to its rarity as well as the additional surgical procedures typically involved. Prognosis will vary based on the underlying condition. Cats treated surgically for rectal prolapse and perineal hernia usually have a fair to guarded prognosis. The prognosis in cats suffering from intestinal obstruction may vary based on the underlying cause of the obstruction. The presence of foreign bodies, as well as bacterial or parasitic infections, is usually treated quickly and successfully. In more severe cases of intestinal obstruction, such as mesenteric torsion, the prognosis can be grave.

Enteropexy Recovery in Cats

Cats undergoing enteropexy and related surgeries will likely require hospitalization for a few days following surgery. During this time, the cat will be given supportive fluid and nutritional therapies until it is stable enough to eat on its own. The vet will monitor the intestinal lining to ensure inflammation has not reoccurred and that healing is progressing as expected. Antibiotics may be prescribed for conditions caused by infection. Steroids and anti-emetics can control symptoms of shock and vomiting. Other drugs, including stomach protectants and stool softeners, may also be prescribed on a symptomatic basis. Deworming medications may also be required for cases of rectal prolapse. The vet will usually also recommend dietary changes.

On the return home, cats should rest, not engaging in any activity, for up to two weeks. Owners should prevent their cats from irritating the surgery site or sutures. If swelling or leakage occurs near the surgery site, owners should contact their trusted veterinary professional immediately to prevent contamination and infection. Fresh water should always be available.

Cost of Enteropexy in Cats

The cost will depend on the underlying condition as well as other costs incurred, such as hospitalization, medication, and laboratory charges. The cost of treatment for the aforementioned conditions ranges from $600 to $2,500. The average cost is approximately $1,200.

Cat Enteropexy Considerations

Enteropexy is a relatively controversial procedure in many veterinary textbooks, mostly because it is not often necessary for many conditions and there is a chance the condition will recur. For these reasons, it is rarely the treatment of choice for most veterinary surgeons. For cases of perineal hernia treated with enteropexy and colopexy, there is approximately a fifteen percent chance of recurrence. Complications are possible with any surgery.

Enteropexy Prevention in Cats

Prevention measures will depend on the underlying condition. For cases of rectal prolapse, it is important that owners prevent their cat from engaging in activities that may cause traumatic injury. Spaying or neutering cats can significantly decrease the likelihood of perineal hernia. It is important that owners prevent cats from ingesting foreign bodies to prevent intestinal obstruction.