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Fecal incontinence.

Species: Dog
Breed: Pug
Age: 11-15 years
My 11-year-old Pug was diagnosed with a luxating patella at 8 years of age. He was diagnosed with arthritis at around 9 years. His regular vet has said his luxating patella is so bad that it works. In other words, the kneecap no longer pops out of the socket and he doesn't show signs of pain there. His back leg muscles are flaccid and we've not been able to build muscle despite exercise. For the past few months, he has been defecating in the house. The frequency of this has increased in the past month or so. It seems to happen during exercise or periods of excitement. He does not whine or cry and the stool is normal and firm. He no longer signals to us that he needs to go outside, so we try to take him out several times per day. Given this information, do you believe it is likely that his fecal incontinence is the result of pain?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm sorry to hear that your dog is having these problems. This is a tough question to answer without being able to examine To eu, but I'll give you my thoughts.

I have seen dogs who have housetraining issues because of pain. My thought is that if it hurts to get into the position they need to take to defecate then the dog will hold the stool for too long and then eventually it can get to the point where it just escapes out because too much stool is there.

There are other possible reasons though. If something is affecting the nerves to the anal area this can cause difficulties with keeping stool in as well. I am guessing that this is more likely. Some causes could be arthritis in the spine or even a tumor in the spine (although a tumor is not common.) Pugs can sometimes get something called cauda equina syndrome which is a problem at the very end of the spinal column and it can affect the nerves to the anus. While there are some treatments that sometimes can help a little, they are not always effective. *If* this is the problem, sometimes a spinal surgery can be helpful.

Another possibility is a condition called degenerative myelopathy. This is much more common in German Shepherd dogs, but it can potentially affect little dogs.

If this were my case I would likely be trying him on anti-inflammatory medications to see if this helps at all. I probably would want to be taking some spinal xrays just to see if I could find evidence of a problem.

It probably is a good idea to have your vet take a look at him.

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:

If it is cauda equina, can you give me a very rough estimate of treatment costs?

If he was in pain, would it keep him from walking or would his mobility otherwise be normal?.Are there any other symptoms I should look out for if it is Cauda Equina?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

If this was something that could be treated with spinal surgery it would be very expensive. In my area, such a surgery could be $4000-$6000.

It's really hard to answer the question about pain because there are varying degrees of pain. He may or may not be able to walk properly but I would expect that if there is some pain there would be *some* kind of change in his ability to walk.

The symptoms of Cauda equina are very similar to other spinal issues so it is really hard to say what to look out for. An xray may be helpful here.



Customer reply:

Well, I appreciate your help. Thank you for your time.


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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.