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No bowel movement?

Species: Dog
Breed: Lab mix
Age: 11-15 years
Hi & thank you for taking my question. I would like to know if it is normal for my 11.5 year old lab mix to have gone for about 48 hours without a bowel movement following hospitalization for a first episode of pancreatitis? She was NPO from Tuesday until Friday, and was on IV fluids and electrolytes, IV pain meds, anti nausea meds and antibiotics. Came home Thursday night, was hand fed some turkey baby food Friday morning and was able to progress to eating a half cup of finely diced chicken mixed with baby food twice on Friday, three times Saturday and twice so far today. She began drinking water mid day Friday- just once on Friday, and more each day since. She had two smallish loose stretchy stools Friday, but nothing since, Is no t straining or making any effort to go, and doesn't seem any more uncomfortable since coming home. She is slowly looking a little better each day, is walking, wanting to go for rides, and hanging by my side as usual. I did notice that the first baby food I gave her listed onion powder as the last ingredient, so I switched it as soon as I caught it. So the question is how long is normal for her to go without a bowel movement, and when should I be concerned? Thank you... She is urinating normally, and today has begun to pass some gas. Is still taking clavamox and Pepcid by mouth and has resumed Rimadyl, century senior vitamin, and Dasuquin chew. Thank you.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It sounds like Penny is recovering well from pancreatitis. The fact that she is able and willing to eat is a really good sign.

And yes, I have good news for you. It is very normal for a dog to have even several days with no bowel movement after having a period without food. Dogs with diarrhea issues will often have a couple of days without a bowel movement once they have recovered as well.

Now, if Penny was straining to defecate then I would be more concerned. I suppose if she goes more than 5 days then I would call the vet. Or, if her appetite starts to decline again then I would have her seen again.

Don't worry too much about a single serving of baby food with onion. We advise to stay away from onion because it can be toxic to red cells, but she would actually need a fair amount (much more than in a jar of baby food) to be affected.

I hope that helps, but please let me know if you have more questions.

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Just want to thank you very much for your thoughtful and prompt response. It was very helpful. Take care.


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.