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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18982
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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Older dog not opening his bowels lying around. Responds when

Customer Question

Older dog not opening his bowels lying around. Responds when I talk to him.
Food no interest at moment.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today.

How may hours has it been since he passed stool? Any straining to go?

How long has he been off food?

Are his gums nice and pink (not white/pale)? Moist or sticky?

If you press on his belly, does he have any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?

Could he have eaten anything he should not have (ie bones, toys, plants, chemicals, human meds, etc)?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Some discomfort when I lift him up
Could have swallowed a larger bone
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

Oh dear,

Now hopefully his gums are still pink (paling would suggest a gut bleed or damage), but if there is a chance of a bone ingestion this could be why we are seeing the signs we are seeing. So, if you think he had a large bone that he cannot pass (they don't tend to digest them), he needs to be seen urgently as this could be blocking the gut. Especially if he is sore in his belly.

Otherwise, any delay in having him seen and we can at least try some supportive care. To start, we will want to feed him small meals of a light diet. Examples of an easily digestible diet include cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled egg, or meat baby food (as long as its free from garlic or onion powder). Ideally, we want to offer this as small frequent meals to keep his stomach settled. Whichever you choose to offer, you can add some fiber (ie a spoonful of tinned pumpkin or all bran) to the food to bulk up his stool and push this bone and stool through the intestines. As well, you can also add a dose of a GI lubricant (ie cat hairball medication Miralax, lactulose or food grade mineral oil). These can be beneficial for getting any thing caught and hard feces slipping through the gut.

While doing this, we do need to keep a close eye on him. Red flags of trouble or obstruction include restlessness, lethargy, vomiting with blood or coffee ground type material, inability to keep any food or water down, anorexia, pale gums, straining to pass feces or passage of black feces (digested blood). If you see these signs, then having him seen would be best for his vet to have a feel of his belly +/- an xray to see what is where in the gut and whether it will pass on its own.

Overall, situations like these always require us to be on our toes and tread with care. At this stage and since he has no signs, we can consider the above steps for him while keeping a close eye. It will help with constipation as well as partial obstruction. But if you see any of those other signs or want to err on the side of caution, then having him examined +/- xrayed would be ideal so you can appreciate whether there is any risk here and whether surgery may be needed to help him.

All the best,

Dr. B.


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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.
Hi Michael,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Mac. How is everything going?

Dr. B.