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What is Lack of Bowel Control?

Aside from the puppy training moments, most dogs are very conscientious creatures and will not defecate inside the house unless there is a problem. While fecal incontinence is most common in older dogs, there are medical reasons that may contribute to this problem in younger dogs. An illness, disease or injury may be the cause for the lack of bowel control. Consult the appropriate veterinary professional without delay; her knowledge and understanding will be able to remedy the situation.

Fecal incontinence is the medical term for a dog who is exhibiting a lack of bowel control. This can be an unpleasant situation for you as a pet owner, and will most likely cause stress for your dog as well. A visit to the veterinary clinic is imperative in order to diagnose and treat the cause, as well as prevent further complications that can arise from the incontinence.

Lack of Bowel Control Average Cost

From 16 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,800

Symptoms of Lack of Bowel Control in Dogs

The inability to control bowel movements stems from a lack of communication of sorts between the brain and the colon. There can be various explanations for the problem, and the veterinarian will be able to diagnose the problem. Take note of the following signs, and relay them to the veterinarian at your clinic visit:

  • Lack of anal tone
  • Passing feces while walking
  • Passing feces while sleeping
  • Gas
  • Vomiting
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Scooting hind end along floor
  • Diarrhea
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Causes of Lack of Bowel Control in Dogs

There are many reasons why your dog may lose control of his bowels and have an accident in the house. Remember, this can be an upsetting occurrence for your pet. To avoid further complications resulting from the added stress, take your dog to the veterinarian in order to pinpoint the exact cause that may be included in the list below:

  • Degenerative myelopathy (spinal cord disease)
  • Peripheral myopathy (damage to nerves which impairs sensation)
  • Muscle atrophy (wasting)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Trauma after injury such as impact from car accident
  • Paralysis or debilitation of hind legs (this can lead to a colon that is never expressed fully, as the dog does not have strength to eliminate feces - because colon is not fully empty, your dog may lose bowel control when asleep or upon standing)
  • Infection of anal sac
  • Viruses such as Parvo, which cause uncontrollable diarrhea
  • Perianal fistula (chronic lesions around the anus)
  • Parasites (resulting diarrhea for an extended length of time can lead to damaged muscles in the rectum)
  • Spinal tumor
  • Myasthenia gravis ( a neuromuscular disease that keeps the muscles from contracting)
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Diagnosis of Lack of Bowel Control in Dogs

Diagnosing the cause for the lack of bowel control will be greatly improved if you are able to give the veterinarian informative, relevant information. Make a note of the incidences when your dog has an accident in your home, and try to document any behavioral changes that you may see as well. Collect a fecal sample to bring to the clinic for analysis.

Along with the feces analysis, the veterinarian may want to do a urinalysis. These tests, together with a chemistry blood profile and complete blood count, can help diagnose infection or parasites if present. A discussion of your pet’s medical history and a thorough physical examination will be done, which will include checking the anal and sphincter muscles.

If required for an accurate diagnosis, the veterinarian may recommend radiographs of the abdomen, thoracic spine, and lumbar spine to see if there are visible tumors or spinal arthritis.

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Treatment of Lack of Bowel Control in Dogs

When treating fecal incontinence, it is essential to address all of the complications and causes that may accompany it. For example, a dog who has incontinence in the form of diarrhea may have blistering around the anus, which if left untreated, can lead to a secondary infection. Another instance of a complication may be a stress induced illness. Though you may not be able to ascertain the amount of stress the fecal incontinence is causing for your pet, there is no doubt that the situation is causing him discomfort.

If the lack of bowel control is being caused by a simple infection, antibiotics may quickly resolve the problem. A parasitic infection, such as giardia or intestinal worms can be eradicated with the appropriate medication. There are drugs that can strengthen the sphincter muscles if necessary.

Surgical reconstruction of the anal and sphincter area may be required in some dogs. The veterinarian will be the absolute best person to decide on the appropriate treatment protocol. Some may recommend therapies such as chiropractic care, physiotherapy or acupuncture, for example, if the incontinence is resulting from lower back pain or weakness.

In the case of a senior dog, the incontinence may be less treatable, in which case diapers or frequent trips outside may be of help.

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Recovery of Lack of Bowel Control in Dogs

Working closely with the veterinarian will be a big part of taking care of a dog who has lack of bowel control. Pay special care to the instructions given to you by the veterinary professional; your cooperation will be instrumental in relieving your dog of this problem. Follow instructions completely when dealing with medication. If the veterinarian suggests diet changes, be sure to heed the advice. Your veterinarian may prescribe a hypoallergenic diet (with ingredients like rice, fish oil, and soy hydrolysate) or an intestinal diet (containing corn meal, chicken liver hydrolysate and soybean oil).

Psyllium supplements may help to slow down diarrhea, but can also aid in facilitating stool elimination. You will have to consult with the veterinarian in order to find the right diet balance that works with your pet’s digestive system.

At home, patience is key. We never want our pet to associate accidents of bowel control with anger. Frequent walks allow for plenty of opportunities for your pet to pass a bowel movement. Exercise can assist the digestive system with elimination, and chances are if your pet has emptied his colon after a long walk or run, you may have helped him to avoid an accident later. A long walk before bed may benefit the situation also.

A lack of bowel control can be expensive to treat. To avoid high vet care expenses, secure pet health insurance today. The sooner you insure your pet, the more protection you’ll have from unexpected vet costs.

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Lack of Bowel Control Average Cost

From 16 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,800

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Lack of Bowel Control Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Dachshund

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16 Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea, Frequent Stools (4-6 Times A Day Or More)

Hello. My mini doxie is a 16 year old male. I used to walk him 1-3 miles daily this past Summer and Fall. He didn't have the amount of diarrhea and stools that he currently has. I started noticing them around the time he jumped off the sofa at my sister's house, but with their breeds short legs and his age Im wondering if it did something to cause his frequent stools now? He walks fine. My Vet did blood work on him a few months back and an ultrasound and she said his gallbladder is inflammed. He is on 1 ml of Prednisone. He also takes 10 mg Famotidine. 1/4 of a 300 mg tab of Ursodiol once day

Jan. 20, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Maureen M. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hi, Sorry about this. This could be the side effects of the drugs that he is currently on. Famotidine and Ursodiol can cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal side effects.Long term use of Prednisolone can also cause digestive disturbances. I would advise you to visit your vet for other alternative medication with lesser side effects where possible. Good luck

Jan. 21, 2021

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German Shepherd

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Nine Years

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Unknown severity

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10 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Hello, My dog has started to poop at night in one specific spot on the rug and this has happened for the last two to three weeks. The vet has said that he has some arthritis pain.

Jan. 12, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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10 Recommendations

Arthritis is a very common cause of inappropriate defecation as dogs can find it harder to hold their stool and dislike going outside to go to the toilet. If the issue is caused by arthritis, controlling the pain with the appropriate medicine should improve the issue. I would also use an enzymatic cleaner to clean the area he normally goes to remove any odour. Also, give him an opportunity to poop outside last thing at night.

Jan. 12, 2021

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Lack of Bowel Control Average Cost

From 16 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,800

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