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Discussion Starter #1
I don't know if I should go into the long-ish history of how this has been developing or if it's TMI.

My old dog is having problem passing stool. She can strain for hours and not get anything out. Usually after a certain amount of straining she will vomit undigested food (I assume because it can't go through the normal way). This has happened 3 times now. With periods of semi normal in between. Normal for her now is passing tiny poops many many times per day.

I've taken her to my vet and talked about it, they've done a rectal exam on her to see if there was anything palpable there causing an obstruction (there isn't)

It is slowly getting worse as far as I can tell. She does have a neurologic deficit to her hind end and everybody's top theory seems to be that it's some form of neurologic problem where her bowels aren't pushing it along or she just can't push it out.

I'm taking her back in this morning for X rays to see if they can see any kind of a mass in there that might be blocking her. They also suggested I should maybe take her back to the referral hospital.

If she goes to the referral hospital that's almost certainly going to mean anesthesia and an endoscopy or colonoscopy or something like that and I am a little conflicted about putting her through that or putting her under anesthesia. She's 12 and a half. BUT she is otherwise still totally full of life. She still goes on our walks. I entered her in an obedience competition for fun two weeks ago and she Qed with a smile on her face.

I'm trying switching food. Vet put up some Gabapentin for her in case it is neuropathy related and this might somehow help.

Her food produces really bulky stools....and I am conflicted about whether more fiber is good or bad...would smaller stools help or hurt....

Has anyone experienced anything like this? Any suggestions?
 

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My girl will have similar symptoms when she eats long blades of grass that get tangled in a clump internally.A slice of whole wheat bread with a thick coat of margerine repeated every two or three hours does the trick.Oil +fiber.Maybe worth a try?
Miss you around here!:hugs:
 

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Other than obstructions, the only time I've seen that kind of difficulty pooping was in a male foster dog with a perineal hernia and massive prostate that had totally screwed up his ability to pass stool normally...but my understanding is that those kind of hernias are far more common in intact males. It's apparently rare to see a perineal hernia in a female (but not impossible -- it's an "old dog" issue)...so with a female, it maybe wouldn't be high up on anybody's list of differentials. There's often a softy, fatty area of swollen tissue that pops in and out on either side of the anus when they try to defecate.

The perineal hernia comes from weakening of the pelvic muscles to the point that the diaphram kind of collapses and traps some of the GI tract inside the collapsed area. It's usually fixable with surgery by a board-certified specialist surgeon for about $2,000 (generalists won't do this surgery because it's a delicate procedure working around a major nerve back there).

Here's more info about it:

https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/perineal-hernias


If nothing else, it's something to rule out in your search for an answer.
 

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The vomiting makes me think there's an internal obstruction. The sooner you get x-rays done, and maybe an ultrasound, the better!

This does not sound good.
 

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Her food produces really bulky stools.... Any suggestions?

Have you tried soaking her kibble in water overnight, or at least two hours, in the fridge, before feeding?


Dry food pulls water from the the gut to enable movement. Maybe b/c of her age, she needs more liquid to aide her digestive track.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Have you tried soaking her kibble in water overnight, or at least two hours, in the fridge, before feeding?


Dry food pulls water from the the gut to enable movement. Maybe b/c of her age, she needs more liquid to aide her digestive track.
Have you tried soaking her kibble in water overnight, or at least two hours, in the fridge, before feeding?


Dry food pulls water from the the gut to enable movement. Maybe b/c of her age, she needs more liquid to aide her digestive track.
She eats Honest Kitchen. Although I am trying switching her off that to see if it will help at all. I soak it and feed it to her as soupy as she will eat it. She laps it up vs taking bites. I will try soaking everything longer, though.

I've just come back from the vet fr abdominal X rays, where they saw nothing of interest other than that she is full of poop. Everyone seems to think there is a nerve problem causing her bowels just to not be able to move it along, which rings true to me.

the first time this happened she had been eating dirt, and after several hours of trying to poop unsuccessfully I put on a glove and found that there was a hard ball of dirt/feces which I was able to remove for her and then she had a big normal poop right after. I thought it was a freak thing because of her PICA and have really just cracked down on following her and keeping her on a leash and being sure she is not eating dirt.

But it's happened 2 more times since, with maybe a week or two in between, last night being the most recent. She has passed two small stools since this morning so that's something, but I know it isn't as much as what's in there. But she got fluids at the vet which helped before and I also started her on 2 new meds, one which may help increase her gut motility.

I know it isn't good. I feel like this is the beginning of the end if I can't help her do better...pooping is necessary for life.

We are talking about getting her an ultra sound and then maybe going back to the big hospital although I don't really want to do very invasive stuff to find out that there is no treatment available....
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Other than obstructions, the only time I've seen that kind of difficulty pooping was in a male foster dog with a perineal hernia and massive prostate that had totally screwed up his ability to pass stool normally...but my understanding is that those kind of hernias are far more common in intact males. It's apparently rare to see a perineal hernia in a female (but not impossible -- it's an "old dog" issue)...so with a female, it maybe wouldn't be high up on anybody's list of differentials. There's often a softy, fatty area of swollen tissue that pops in and out on either side of the anus when they try to defecate.

The perineal hernia comes from weakening of the pelvic muscles to the point that the diaphram kind of collapses and traps some of the GI tract inside the collapsed area. It's usually fixable with surgery by a board-certified specialist surgeon for about $2,000 (generalists won't do this surgery because it's a delicate procedure working around a major nerve back there).

Here's more info about it:

https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/perineal-hernias


If nothing else, it's something to rule out in your search for an answer.
Would this have been something the vet would have found doing a rectal exam of her? Or it only is visible when the dog is straining to poop? The has a hairy bum of course so I don't think I'd really be able to see what is happening unless I shaved her.
 

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Would this have been something the vet would have found doing a rectal exam of her? Or it only is visible when the dog is straining to poop? The has a hairy bum of course so I don't think I'd really be able to see what is happening unless I shaved her.



In the one we had with it, there was a big chunk of tissue popping in and out that we saw. They usually can find it with a rectal exam, and the xrays tend to show organs out of place. If the xray looked normal, you're likely not facing this.


Have you tried a stool softener from the vet? Did the vet consider an enema?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
In the one we had with it, there was a big chunk of tissue popping in and out that we saw. They usually can find it with a rectal exam, and the xrays tend to show organs out of place. If the xray looked normal, you're likely not facing this.


Have you tried a stool softener from the vet? Did the vet consider an enema?
No, stool softener has not been brought up. I asked about an enema, last time he said let's try fluids first and it did resolve within 24 hrs with no enema. This morning he said if she can't pass anything significant in 48 hrs we'll give her an enema. The good news is, she has pooped during the day today in an amount that is a real improvement over yesterday and fairly normal in that she didn't strain awhile before it came out. This after approx 24 hrs of not passing anything significant, but constantly trying.

She got fluids again this morning at the vet, and I brought her home and gave her the first dose of the meds they gave me (one is to improve motility for gastroparesis--the other is the Gabapentin)

My thing is-- I could give her an enema and bail us out one time but it's just going to happen again unless something changes the way things are moving thru her.

She was slowing down yesterday and having more trouble and I knew it, and I now think I ought to have given her the fluids yesterday before it got bad.

Thanks for the brainstorm guys. Really hoping a food change and the new meds will help. He didn't think she was dehydrated but the fluids to seem to help so i think i need to try harder to get her to drink more somehow
 

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Feeding bone broth or beef tea would get more fluids into her, and hopefully improve peristalsis (the involuntary constriction and relaxation of the muscles of the intestine or another canal, creating wave-like movements that push the contents of the canal forward).
 

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Adding something as simple as Vit C can help soften. As well Magnesium. Citrate would likely be best form for this. Very bio-available but can cause soft poop. Glycinate for is also touted for bio avilablity, but does not affect the way other forms do.


I had a cat who went through this. Exam, meds, special food higher in fibre. Things would work slightly, enough to take pressure off. But would get worse over time. Until one day he pooped a golf ball lump of poop. He cried out. Rock hard (indoor cat). He would get so bad he would go hide and want to give up on life. I took him to be PTS at some point (he did the whole enema tour a few times...but temp solution). At the time (papers signed, needle prepped), I said is there not one more thing we can try...


Next day blood work, next booked for surgery with specialist. This guy assured me that there was a 90% success rate. They called it mega colon. So basically the large intestine (or small??? cannot remember), was stretched and the muscles used to move things along were not as effective, the intestines were not secreting enough moisture to soften the stool and bulk it for the rest to catch on and move along. Until it built up like a blockage. He too vomited what seems to be poop. (Thinking along those lines now I wonder if slippery elm would help as creates mucosal barrier that might help surround and ease out???)


They removed the large or small (?) intestine saying the other would take over the job.
He ended up with chronic diarrhea...My whole place, sofa, bed etc were covered in blankets and sheets as he would leak poop or fart and blow it out...long story short he had an infection from the surgery. It mostly resolved, but him dragging his bum didn't and he was never perfect. But he lived 4more years.
(I had bissel spot cleaner I used on a reg basis)


I hope something helps
 

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And Magnesium is touted for smooth muscle contraction...might be worth a shot
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Slippery elm crossed my mind too...wondered if it might possibly help lubricate to make it easier for things to pass thru her.

Mega colon was mentioned today while looking at her X Rays. I can't remember what specifically he said...I think that he didn't think she really had it but there was some similarity.

I am just happy she is comfortable tonight.

I don't want to do too many things to her all at once if for no other reason then I won't know what helped. So she has started the two new meds today and switching foods to see if this other one maybe she can pass easier. I'm making a list though...for things to try going forward.

Otherwise, like I said, for her age she is so darn full of life. She's lost a lot of sight and hearing but hey she manages.
 

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When I had the kennel, I had a lab that came in that got a scoop of bran with his food to relieve chronic constipation. You might try that, though since the stool seems to be quite dry, a stool softener would likely work better, as it helps keep moisture in the stool.

Another suggestion is to go with a food that's less bulky, and see if that helps.
 

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I know keeping seniors hydrated is important so if a way to get more water intake may help. Everything slows down sadly but normal I would think. I would ask vet what to give. Pumpkin can help small amount of coconut oil may be good to lubricate things.
 

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Thecowboysgirl;9164643 [B said:
I don't want to do too many things to her all at once[/B] if for no other reason then I won't know what helped. So she has started the two new meds today and switching foods to see if this other one maybe she can pass easier. I'm making a list though...for things to try going forward.

I wouldn't switch food while adding new meds......you won't know which worked.



I think it will help if you add triple the amount of water to the Honest Kitchen and let it set for an hour before feeding. If it still looks "stiff" add more water. That is what I do for my 12 1/2 year old girl when I use HK.



If you do switch foods, I would soak it in a good amount of water (in the fridge) for a few hours before feeding.


Keep us posted!
Moms :smile2:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I wouldn't switch food while adding new meds......you won't know which worked.



I think it will help if you add triple the amount of water to the Honest Kitchen and let it set for an hour before feeding. If it still looks "stiff" add more water. That is what I do for my 12 1/2 year old girl when I use HK.



If you do switch foods, I would soak it in a good amount of water (in the fridge) for a few hours before feeding.


Keep us posted!
Moms :smile2:
I know that changing all these things at once is a problem but it's flippin scary to see your poor old dog stop being able to do a bodily function necessary for life.

she's mostly on the new food already-- she likes it better than HK actually so that's good because she's been a bit "meh" about her breakfast lately.

One of the meds is not meant for long term use so I will try to phase that out when she's totally on a new feeding schedule and then I can see what effect that particular drug was having once it's removed.

Today she pooped less than yesterday and less than normal BUT, she's already 60/40 on less bulky food and yesterday she was backed up by a day at least when it started coming out. She pooped easier today than normal. And she never tried and failed. So what we are doing is helping for sure. Now to dial it back and see if she can do without the rescue drug all the time.

The traveling ultra sound vet has been scheduled to come to my regular vet and do her next Thurs. so we will see if there is anything else to see in there that might give us any info. That vet is good, she's ultra sounded her before and she also did my old male dog who died of hemagio. Her findings on ultra sound were spot on exactly what the referral hospital verified on cat scan, so she's good at what she does.

I fed her "chicken soup" for lunch. Instead of a Kong with honest kitchen which is what she normally gets. I took cooked chicken breast and shredded it as small as I could and soaked it in a bowl of warm water hoping it would be chickeny enough that she would drink it and she did.

I have a bag of fluids at the ready I can give her if things start slowing down again. I am soaking her food much longer before feeding her than before.

Thanks everybody for the ideas.
 

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I am soaking her food much longer before feeding her than before.

Glad she's better! Don't hesitate to mix the food up the night before and let it soak a long time in the fridge so that you don't have to wait on it at meal time. I sometimes mix a couple of days worth of THK and store it in a covered bowl in the fridge to save time on work days.



If you want to go a step further, rehydrate, freeze, and then thaw to burst the cell walls of the veggies in the mix -- I discovered this by accident when I was freezing meals for boarding...it seems to digest just a bit better (fewer chunks to pass), which kind of makes sense with raw veg.
 
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