Ask a Dog Vet and Get Answers to Your Dog Veterinary Questions
Hello I am Dr. Joey. Thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 15 years of experience. I look forward to working with you.
This does sound very concerning, and quite stressful for both of you. But before we label this as a new behavioral problem, or a sign of older dog dementia (cognitive dysfunction), I recommend we give her the benefit of the doubt that she could have a legitimate medical problem. Some dogs with a urinary tract infection or another problem that increases the urgency to urinate could cause excess straining which then leads to an involuntary defecation.
Therefore, if Smokey was my patient I would first recommend you have your veterinarian do some screening testing starting with a urinalysis (look for UTI or other issues in the urine) and follow this with blood tests (CBC, chemistry profile, thyroid check). Your vet on a physical exam should test her for neurological problem which could also lead to problems such as this.
Alternatively, if her stool is looser than normal then this could also cause urgency to have defecation and lead to a urination as well (although this scenario is not as common as the reverse as mentioned above).
Thanks for your reply.
Please let me know if you have any questions, or if anything I mentioned seems unclear or confusing.
how does the vet test for neurological problems?
This can be done with just a physical examination. We have certain movements we can test on a dog to test for weakness or inappropriate reflexes.
Also, spinal pain can be detected on this exam which could suggest a back/neck problem.
and that could account for her uncontrollable bowel and urinary movements?
Yes, this is possible. I would say this is not high on my list of concern, though. I am more worried about a urinary tract infection or possible kidney problem that would cause increased urinations.
UTIs are treatable.
but I don't understand how a UTI could effect her bowel movements
It could cause her to need to urinate more and to strain when she goes. Sometimes if that straining is extreme (especially if a dog has bladder stones) then it can lead to a secondary, unintentional defecation. I had a patient with this exact scenario a few months ago. We resolved the bladder stones and it all resolved.
The vet where I live is not that great and he is the only one in town. I will make an appointment for her today. Thank you
That sounds like a good plan. You at least have a few talking points to work with. If you feel that your veterinarian is stumped, then perhaps ask for a referral to see the closest specialist. Might be a bit of a drive, but I really want you and Smokey to receive the best care possible.
We live in Nome, Alaska. We would have to get on a plane to see another vet. Thank you for your help, I will get her taken care of.
Please keep me posted. I am always happy to answer followup questions. You can reply to this question at any time to submit a followup. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. If there’s anything else I can do, let me know – it’s been a pleasure working with you and I hope to assist you again soon! Kindly submit a rating as you exit our chat.