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My 8 yoa GSD has developed a problem when trying to poop. She struggles to go and when she does just a small piece will come out. Every time I take her out she tries to go. No other health problems, poop consistency appears normal. Vet says he believes it is some type of degenerative nerve or spine issue, but that sounded more like a guess than anything else as he ran no tests of any kind. Switched to a high fiber food, which seemed to help a little for a few months. This has been going on for about 9 months now. Anyone have any ideas on what could be causing it or what I can do to help her.
 

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It's a pretty good indication that there is a degenerative nerve or spine issue. They will quite often lose control of their bowels as well.
 

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If the dog is male and intact, I would ask the vet about a perineal hernia being a possibility:

Difficulty passing stool is one of the first symptoms of this abnormality. It's fixable with surgery (expensive surgery, but still)....so it's probably a better dx for the dog than some of the other possibilities out there. It can happen to females but it's significantly rarer than in intact males.
 

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My 8 yoa GSD has developed a problem when trying to poop. She struggles to go and when she does just a small piece will come out. Every time I take her out she tries to go. No other health problems, poop consistency appears normal. Vet says he believes it is some type of degenerative nerve or spine issue, but that sounded more like a guess than anything else as he ran no tests of any kind. Switched to a high fiber food, which seemed to help a little for a few months. This has been going on for about 9 months now. Anyone have any ideas on what could be causing it or what I can do to help her.

I'm sorry to say I know all about this...

We tried lots of things including also increased fiber in the food, which for mine seemed to actually make it worse. The only thing that helped was stool softeners, laxatives and sub cu fluids regularly.

Even with laxatives she became so constipated that she almost died from it, and we started having to do enemas. I took her to see internal medicine at our state's referral hospital. At that time she was so constipated that her X rays were shocking to me and I don't even really know how to read x rays. She had vomited so much that she aspirated on it and had to be treated for that too (she would vomit over and over once she got that constipated)

Our treatment team also felt it was degenerative nerve issue. Internal medicine said that if she could not be stabilized with medicine (she was taking laxatives and bowel stimulant---cisapride, which stimulates the muscles in the bowel to move) then the next step would be a bowel resection surgery. They wanted to remove a huge portion of her bowels.

Prior to seeing internal medicine she had had an ultrasound to check for obstructions or tumors, and what they saw was that portions of her intestine just seemed to be not acting like they should. I don't remember exactly what the ultrasound vet said to be honest.

The drugs that helped my dog the most were Mira lax and cisapride. And enemas when those drugs failed. She was given a few enemas by vets and then I tried a Fleet enema at home which worked great. The relief she had after finally getting all that poop out made me realize it was so much worse for her than I even knew when she was constipated like that.

For my dog I think it started about age 12 though. Possibly a little younger, it started so gradually I wouldn't know exactly when the troubles began
 

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I read you said she's having no other health issues--no problem walking--stands up from a lay down position easily ?....if all else is OK I'd try a couple other brands of kibble that have grain in them--one type of grain may work better than another for her...worth a try....I'd also try mixing in a little canned pumpkin in with the kibble--I know you said the consistency of the poop was good but I'd still try pumpkin in the past i have used human type of stool softeners with NO stimulants to help things move easier..........frankly I thought about DM but I'd think she'd have other symptoms and DM typically causes incontinence along with struggling to walk etc.....I'd also think spinal x-rays and having a "specialist" look at them might be a good idea.... because if it is just a disc putting pressure on the spinal cord....that's fixable many times
 

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I don't have much to offer but have you tried joining some Facebook groups for paralyzed dogs? Many of those dogs have elimination problems and I am thinking that maybe they can offer lots of helpful tips for what worked for them and things you can try.
 
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