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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19834
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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loss of sphincter control in dogs

Customer Question

my female, spayed boston terrier, 6 1/2 years old passes small balls of feces while in bed or standing, sometimes while eating her breakfast. has had good vet care, current vaccines, heart worm meds,etc
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 9 years ago.

This is called fecal incontinence. Sometimes if a dog has had trauma to the rectal area such as continued anal gland issues, fecal incontinence will develop as a result of a loss of muscle tone in the sphincter. This can also be caused by an injury to the back or a problem with an invertebral disc. An intervertebral disc that has slipped or ruptured up into the spinal canal causes inflammation of the spinal cord, which in severe cases causes paralyses of the rear legs. You can read about this here:

It might also be a perineal hernia which you can read about here.

Large dog breeds sometimes suffer from a condition called degenerative myelopathy which can also cause problems with the rear legs and paralyses.   You can read about this here:

You may want to have your dog checked over by your vet as back issues are best treated early for the highest chance of successful treatment.

A few things that can help with this is adding fiber to the diet to firm up the feces. A few spoonfuls of canned pumpkin (not pie filling) added to the food works well for this purpose. Also there is one drug frequently prescribed which is phenylpropanolamine which can help tighten the sphincter muscle. You can read about this here:

I hope this information is helpful to you
Jane Lefler and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
thank you. I will try the fiber angle first, until I have time to take her to the vet.