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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog
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Experience:  I have over 20 years experience in small animal and emergency veterinary medicine
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My 15 yr old lab mix has no bowel control anymore and ...

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My 15 yr old lab mix has no bowel control anymore and poops in the house constantly(sometimes 3x a day) there ANYTHING we can do to stop/control this? We are going crazy...I have an in-home business.....
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 8 years ago.

Hi SJSmall -

It sounds like you are describing fecal incontinence rather than him deliberately pooping in the house. Is this correct?

Are the bowel movements normal consistency?

When he goes outside to poop, does he "assume the position" and manage to get the job done?

Does he have any difficulties with his rear legs?


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Yes, she has normal stools and if she manages to go outside, she assumes a noraml position. She has arthritis in her hips and I guess stenosis or degenerative disease. I don't think she even knows she's pooping sometimes.....
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 8 years ago.

Hi SJSmall -

I know it can heartbreaking to watch the pets we love get older and develop problems. I admire you for hanging in there with this problem.

If she is unaware that she is pooping and has no control, then this is probably a neurological problem. This is probably a result of the stenosis that you mention. The nerves of the spinal cord that control this function are damaged as a result of this stenosis. Unfortunately there really is no medical treatment for this. Although it is possible that surgery could relieve the pressure on the nerves, whether this would be successful would just depend on how much damage to the nerves has already occurred. Obviously, this would be a major spinal surgery and most people are not interested in pursuing this in this age of a pet, but if this is something you are interested in, ask your vet for a referral to a neurologist.

Some dogs will do better with certain consistency of stools, so you could try different diets to see if this makes any difference. This is pretty much a trial and error situation, there is no one diet that works best in these dogs, it is just an individual thing. Sometimes diet doesn't make much difference though.

Getting her outside more frequently could also be helpful. She will probably still have some accidents, but it may help decrease the frequency of her messing in the house.

They do make doggie diapers that may help you manage this problem. Here is a website where you can check these out in case you interested. Obviously doesn't prevent her from pooping, but at least keeps it from making a mess.

I hope this information is helpful. If so, please click Accept. If you need additional information, please let me know.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I understand most of what you are saying....we take her all the time and give her a food that keeps her stools harder. I guess there is no other answer.....I haven't tried the diapers as I thought I would end up with smashed poop all over her rear, or she would tear them off and make a worse mess......what do you think?
I am guessing this is half hip/nerve problem and half dementia.....
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 8 years ago.

I think the diapers are worth trying. If she sits down after pooping, that may indeed make a mess, but a lot of dogs with hip pain don't spend much time sitting as they would rather lay down and then I don't think that such a mess would occur. Obviously, changing the diaper as soon as she poops would be ideal, but I know that is not realisitc 100% of the time.

If you think this is more of a dementia problem, then there is some medication that you can try to help with that. Dementia associated with aging in dogs is usually referred to as cognitive dysfunction. The medication that is used to treat this is called seligiline and sometimes ti works and sometimes it doesn't. These dogs usually more deliberate defecation than what you are describing (they actually posture to poop rather than show fecal incontinence), This would be something you could discuss discuss with your vet though.

Let me know if you have additional questions.

Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1376
Experience: I have over 20 years experience in small animal and emergency veterinary medicine
Dr. B. and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Okay...I would like to try the meds....but my Vet won't do anything without alot of blood work and I don't think Phoebe(my dog) can handle the ride, let alone the visit in her condition. I also can't afford an expensive visit right now.

By the way, most of the time when she poops in the house, she does assume the postion and walks along pooping away, but I don't think she knows it's happening until it does, and no control to stop it, if you know what I mean. So, do you think the meds would be worth a try, if my vet will give them to her?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 8 years ago.

If she is assuming the position while in the house, then that is probably not true fecal incontinence and there is an greater chance that she would respond to the meds, but there really is just a lot of individual variation as to whether dogs get better on this medication.

You might check to see if there are any housecall vets in your area if you think a trip into the clinic would be too stressful for her.

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