Canine Fecal Incontinence

" Canine fecal incontinence is a problem where your dog defecates when it doesn't want to, such was when sleeping or when engaged in normal activities. Your veterinarian will first try and diagnose the problem by examining a stool sample. She'll look for parasites and bacteria. If that doesn't indicate the cauwse of the dog bowel problem, a colonoscopy may be recommended to examine the inside of the bowel and intestine. Tissue samples can be taken for further testing. While waiting for a definitive diagnosis, there are several things you can do at home that might help such as dietary change and supplements. "

If your dog is unable to control the passing of gas or feces, during the day or night, then she is suffering from fecal incontinence. It can be a minor problem or something more severe.

Causes of Canine Fecal Incontinence

Parasites: can cause severe diarrhea and incontinence in puppies (trichomonisis,Cryptosporidium SPP). Beyond diarrhea you might see swelling around the anus. Appetite could still be normal.

Giardia: is an infection that cause diarrhea and bowel incontinence in adult dogs and puppies. It is contracted when drinking unclean/stream/lake water or from coming in contact with feces. This parasite causing a softening of the feces during the early stages of the condition. Conventional medications such as Fenbendazole (Drontal Plus) are highly effective for treating this condition. Washing your dog is critical to remove any giardia cysts from the air that may be caught in your dog's coat.

After Surgery: If your dog has been operated on, certain procedures can cause fecal incontinence as an unwanted side effect. These procedures include:

  • Hip Displasia: a common procedure in growing dogs, Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO), if performed incorrectly, could result in fecal incontinence as a side effect due to damage to the pudenal nerve. The nerve damage causes loss of muscle tone in the sphincter and perineal muscles.

Nervous System Problems: Neurogenic or problems with the way the nerves in the body work can cause fecal incontinence in dogs. As the muscles weaken the bladder will fill with urine and overflow. The sphincter becomes weaker (flaccid) and dilated, which causes the canine fecal incontinence.

Diagnosis of Canine Fecal Incontinence

A procedure called a colonoscopy is used to determine why your dog is suffering from chronic diarrhea or fecal incontinence. A tube with a small camera on the end is inserted through your dog's anus to check on the lining of the colon and intestines.

Before the procedure, your dog will not be able to eat for 24 hours. 48 hours before the procedure your dog will have to take a solution that will help empty the stomach and colon. If necessary, your veterinarian will do an enema as well.

During the procedure your veterinarian will collect samples including any ulcers that are seen during the test.

Your veterinarian will also examine the feces itself to see if the cause of the fecal or canine bowel incontinence can be determined. It will be tested for Giardia (parasites), bacteria and lesions.

Treatment of Canine Fecal Incontinence

The goal in treatment is to help make the feces more solid since dogs with this problem usually suffer from diarrhea or feces which is highly liquid. Of course, if their is an underlying condition, your veterinarian will have to identify and recommend an approach for treating the cause. At the same time, you can try some natural approaches to see if they help.

Diet for Canine Incontinence

In humans, diets high in fiber have been shown to have a positive effect on fecal incontinence. Studies have shown that if you add a dietary supplement that contains psyllum, it helped to improve the consistency of the feces.

Supplements for Canine Incontinence

One supplement to consider that has fiber and other natural ingredients to support the digestive system is RuniPoo Relief It is a - natural remedy containing herbal and homeopathic ingredients which are carefully selected to maintain digestive balance, firm stools and healthy bowel functioning. The same company also offers a product called Natural Moves which is rich in fiber and support normal dog bowel movements.

If you suspect a neurological or nerve related problem, you could try a remedy formulated to target this cause. The product EaseSure might help with these kinds of problems. It contains ingredients such as Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower) and Scuttelaria laterifolia (Skullcap) which are associated with soothing the nervous system. The product's web site offers research/clinical support for further reading. Further, if uncomfortable flatulence or gas buildup is the issue, then Flatulence Preventer may be of help.

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Endoscopy of the Small and Large Intestine
M.C. Walker
North Florida Veterinary Specialists, Jacksonville, FL, USA.

The Scoop on Poop - Maximizing the Diagnostic Yield of The Faecal Examination
Stanley L. Marks, BVSc, PhD, DACVIM (Internal Medicine, Oncology),
DACVN University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, Davis,

Complications Associated to TPO (Triple Pelvic Osteotomy)
Aldo Vezzoni, MedVet, Dipl ECVS,
Clinica Veterinaria, via Massarotti
Cremona, Italy

Management of Canine Incontinence
S.A. Brown
College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.


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