Cat resting on the sofa.


An intussusception is a life-threatening condition involving an abnormal invagination of a portion of a cat’s small or large intestine into a dilated portion of bowel situated just ahead of it, causing obstruction to normal flow within the intestine.

Peristalsis involving the affected gut segments further aggravates the intussusception, making it worse with time. In especially severe instances, the blood supply to the portion of the intestine involved will be cut off, resulting in the death of that tissue and serious health problems.

The site at which an intussusception is most likely to occur in dogs is where the small intestine links up with the large intestine. The causes of an intussusception can include any type of inflammation within the gut, viral infections, parasites, tumors, and swallowed foreign objects.

Strings and other linear foreign bodies are often the underlying causes of intussusceptions in cats. Signs seen in pets affected include lethargy, abdominal pain, fever, and vomiting.

Radiographs are the most useful tools in the diagnosis of an intussusception, since it has its own characteristic appearance on a radiograph. If intussusception is suspected or diagnosed, immediate surgery is necessary to correct the invagination and to remove any dead portions of bowel that might be present.

Obviously, the underlying problem that initially caused the intussusception must be corrected as well.