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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19294
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
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Hi. I have a min. Schnauzer who was hit by a bike 2 1/2 weeks ago. Since then he has had an exploratory lap. His gall bladder had been torn for 6 days before surgery and he has/had horrible peritonitis. Also, his elbow was out of joint and we are having trouble splinting it to make it stay in joint. Surgery would cost $5000 which I don't have especially after spending $4300 already. After that, last week, his red blood cells were dropping and he had a black, tarry stool. So I felt better about the RBC's. He had 2 more enemas since then with the last one being this past Saturday. It was still dark but not as bad as before per the vet tech. He used approx 120 cc's of water and Dawn dish soap and used a soft flexible "catheter looking" like thing. He hasn't had a BM since then. He is just oozing slightly. This concerns me since I know the amount of food that he has been eating since surgery. Our vet doesn't seem concerned since he doesn't seem to be trying. He would be more concerned if he was trying to go and couldn't. I have a bad feeling about it ( since I'm an RN myself). What do you think?

Hello, I'm Dr Gary. I've been practicing veterinary medicine since 2007. I look forward to helping with your questions/ concerns.

I wouldn't be too worried about the bowel movements either. If he were straining or acting constipated, then I'd be more concerned. If he had multiple enemas, then his colon should be pretty cleaned out. It's going to take a couple days for food to get back to the colon and for the colon to fill again. This needs to happen before he has another bowel movement. It may take up to 5-7 days in some dogs after given enemas.

I would be more concerned about getting nutrients into him and making sure his other injuries are healing. Constipation is the least of his worries.

The other thing that slows down bowel movements is surgery. This lets air into the abdomen. There is then an air barrier between the body wall and colon walls. This decreases the ability to push stool out and it decreases the sensation that you have to go.

If you want to make sure the colon is doing well, have them shoot some abdominal x-rays. That will allow you to look at it and make sure food is moving through the gut normally.

As long as his GI bleeding (black tarry stool) is resolving and the post-operative signs of peritonitis are resolving, it sounds like he should recover. The next thing would be to make sure the elbow stays in place and heals up well.

Best of luck, let me know if you have any other questions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Dr. Gary,

When he had the enemas there wasn't much output. He got a soap suds enema with 120 cc's and he didn't have nearly that amount out. It may have been 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dark loose stool but not much more than that. Working with humans, usually the amount out is close to what went in. How would you be able to tell if the GI bleed is resolving with no BM? RBC's? They started increasing Thursday of last week. The lowest his PCV got was 15 and then started increasing from there to 20 on Sunday. White count was going down but started to increase again on Saturday. 48,000 down to 30,000+/- and then up again into the 40's. He doesn't act like he is in pain or uncomfortable and has eaten great since surgery with a little creativity at first.

Sorry for the wait.

To check for continued bleeding, your best test is repeated PCV/ total protein checks. I would do that every 8-12 hours to monitor. If we have continued bleeding, then a transfusion would be needed to replenish those cells.

I'm still not sure why enemas were given. It doesn't sound like he was ever constipated or obstipated. I rarely give enemas to dogs. I don't think it was all that necessary here, unless I'm missing part of the story.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Come to think of it, I'm not sure why we gave enemas either unless my dad and I were worried about a lack of a BM. The first one he got was on last Wed which would have been 5 days post op. He was eating great. However, had we not done one, we wouldn't have known why his RBC',s were dropping. He was supposed to go to the doctor Friday to have labs drawn and to check his elbow. My dad was going to take him tomorrow so hopefully they will do xrays at that time. I will suggest that he ask for one if it isn't offered.

Yeah, I just wouldn't worry too much about bowel movements. Just keep him eating and he'll make stool and go. He doesn't need enemas to make him go.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks so much! I feel much better now. If we could just get his elbow to cooperate, that would be awesome! Take care....

You're very welcome, happy to help.
Dr. Gary and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Candace,

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

Dr. Gary
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Dr. Gary,

He finally went about an hour ago. It was soft but formed and greenish-brown. Talk about a relief! Friday his elbow was checked. It was still in the joint so he decided to leave the splint on for a little bit longer. I was glad of that. His PCV was up to 29 but WBC's weren't checked since he said that he still expected to be up some. I think he is actually on the mend and I can breathe easy again. I have been a wreck for 3 weeks! Thanks for following up on him!

Good deal, it sounds like everything is moving in the right direction. Thanks for the update.