Twisted Colon in Cats


Twisted colon, also called gastric dilation or bloat, rarely affects cats and is most commonly seen in large dogs.


  • If your cat is suffering from twisted colon, it is a life-threatening emergency. Seek immediate veterinary treatment for your cat.

Gastric dilation occurs when gas from digestion builds up and causes the stomach to stretch and expand. When this occurs, it begins to twist in the abdomen trapping gas in the stomach and stopping blood flow to the stomach. If the swelling is large enough, it may press on the vessels providing blood to the heart.

Symptoms of Twisted Colon

Symptoms of a twisted colon include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal distension
  • Retching
  • Restlessness
  • Collapse in severe cases

Contact your veterinarian if you see these symptoms. She can confirm or rule out gastric dilation with a radiograph.

Twisted Colon Treatment

Emergency surgery is necessary for all cats with gastric dilation. Your vet will first stabilize your cat with IV fluids and pain medications to help treat shock. During the surgery your vet will remove any food from the stomach and examine the area for any dead tissue. If any tissue has died from lack of blood flow, it will be removed.

Your vet will then reposition the stomach in the correct location and attached to the abdominal cavity to hold it in place. If the stomach tissue did not die, your cat has a 90 percent chance of survival after surgery. Survival rates drop to about 50 percent if portions of the stomach have died.

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