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Signalment, history, and outcome of cats with gastrointestinal tract intussusception: 20 cases (1986–2000)

Jamie M. BurkittDepartment of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

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Kenneth J. DrobatzDepartment of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

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H. Mark SaundersDepartment of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

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Robert J. WashabauDepartment of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine signalment, history, and outcome of cats with gastrointestinal tract intussusception and to identify physical examination, diagnostic imaging, surgical, histologic, and necropsy findings in affected cats.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—20 cats with intussusception.

Procedures—Medical records were evaluated for information on signalment; history; physical examination, diagnostic imaging, surgical, histologic, and necropsy findings; and outcome.

Results—Ten cats were < 1 year old, and 9 were ≥ 6 years old. Anorexia (14/17), lethargy (12/17), and vomiting (12/17) were the most common reasons for examination. Dehydration (13/18), poor body condition (12/18), signs of abdominal pain (8/18), and an abdominal mass (8/18) were the most common physical examination findings. Abdominal radiography revealed intestinal obstruction in all 10 cats in which it was performed; abdominal ultrasonography revealed intussusception in all 7 cats in which it was performed. The most common intussusception was jejuno-jejunal (8/20), and no intussusceptions were found proximal to the duodenum. Eleven of 13 cats that underwent laparotomy required intestinal resection and anastomosis. Histologic examination revealed intestinal lymphoma or inflammatory bowel disease in 7 of 8 cats ≥ 6 years old and idiopathic intussusception in 7 of 8 cats < 1 year old.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that in cats, intussusception has a bimodal age distribution, is most commonly jejuno-jejunal, often requires surgical resection and anastomosis, is often associated with alimentary lymphoma or inflammatory bowel disease in older cats, and is readily diagnosed by means of ultrasonography.

Abstract

Objective—To determine signalment, history, and outcome of cats with gastrointestinal tract intussusception and to identify physical examination, diagnostic imaging, surgical, histologic, and necropsy findings in affected cats.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—20 cats with intussusception.

Procedures—Medical records were evaluated for information on signalment; history; physical examination, diagnostic imaging, surgical, histologic, and necropsy findings; and outcome.

Results—Ten cats were < 1 year old, and 9 were ≥ 6 years old. Anorexia (14/17), lethargy (12/17), and vomiting (12/17) were the most common reasons for examination. Dehydration (13/18), poor body condition (12/18), signs of abdominal pain (8/18), and an abdominal mass (8/18) were the most common physical examination findings. Abdominal radiography revealed intestinal obstruction in all 10 cats in which it was performed; abdominal ultrasonography revealed intussusception in all 7 cats in which it was performed. The most common intussusception was jejuno-jejunal (8/20), and no intussusceptions were found proximal to the duodenum. Eleven of 13 cats that underwent laparotomy required intestinal resection and anastomosis. Histologic examination revealed intestinal lymphoma or inflammatory bowel disease in 7 of 8 cats ≥ 6 years old and idiopathic intussusception in 7 of 8 cats < 1 year old.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that in cats, intussusception has a bimodal age distribution, is most commonly jejuno-jejunal, often requires surgical resection and anastomosis, is often associated with alimentary lymphoma or inflammatory bowel disease in older cats, and is readily diagnosed by means of ultrasonography.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Burkitt's present address is Critical Consultations, Davis, CA 95616.

Dr. Saunders' present address is Lynks Group PLC, Veterinary Imaging, 148 Cheesefactory Ln, Shelburne, VT 05482.

Dr. Washabau's present address is Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.

Presented in abstract form as a poster at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Annual Forum, Denver, May 2001.

Address correspondence to Dr. Burkitt.