Veterinary questions? Ask a Vet for Answers ASAP
Ask an Expert
Ask a Vet
How JustAnswer Works:
Ask an Expert
Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
Get a Professional Answer
Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
100% Satisfaction Guarantee
Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Board Certified Veterinarian
Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
Type Your Vet Question Here...
Dr. Kara is online now
my dog , Meg a 14.5yr old Golden Retriever has been having
my dog , Meg a 14.5yr old Golden Retriever has been having problems holding in faeces when she walks , she has bad cataracts an hips an regulary falls because of her hips , im dreading going to the vets with her, is it time for me to lose her ???
3 years ago.
Share this conversation
replied 3 years ago.
Hello, I am very sorry to hear about Meg's fecal incontinence, cataracts, weakness in the rear and bad hips.
There are a few things that may be causing her fecal incontinence.
The first would be spinal arthritis which can cause inflammation of the spinal nerves that control urine and stool continence. These dogs have obvious spinal arthritis on radiographs and are painful upon examination. They may respond to anti-inflammatories (steroids or nonsteroidals like Deramaxx or Rimadyl), pain medications like Tramadol as well as omega 3's and glucosamine/chondroitin supplements like Dasuquin or Cosequin DS. I know that she is already taking Metacam but you might discuss trying a different anti-inflammatory with your veterinarian to see if it is more helpful.
The second condition that could cause incontinence would be a degenerative myelopathy. This is a degenerative condition affecting the nerves of the spinal cord, it starts in the back legs and ascends eventually affecting nerves to the bladder and rectum which leads to loss of continence. These dogs aren't painful. They are incoordinated in the rear because they have lost the ability to feel where their rear legs are and place them properly. They become incontinent because they can not feel the stool building up and because their anal sphincter becomes loose. Unfortunately we do not have any good therapies for this condition. Radiographs look normal and diagnosis is by an MRI of the spinal nerves.
The other disease process would be lumbosacral stenosis and instability. This is an instability between the sacrum (pelvis) and the lumbar spine. It leads to inflammation and scar tissue and places pressure on the spinal cord leading to loss of function in his rear legs and stool and urine incontinence. These dogs are painful and should respond at least somewhat to steroids or anti-inflammatories. Diagnosis is by an MRI of the area. Treatment is surgery but once fecal and urine incontinence occur we cannot always reverse the damage done to nerves. Definitely worth trying though.
Unusual causes can also be a spinal cord tumor or a mass of the vertebrae or supporting tissues.
A bacterial infection of the bones of the spine that spreads from a urinary tract infection or a puncture wound is another possibilty, but those dogs are running a fever and are extremely painful and feel horrible.
In order to help Meg we really need to know why she is the way she is. I know that you are dreading a veterinary examination because you are worried about what they may find and that they may recommend euthanasia, but it is the only way to figure out what is going on with her and see if we can help her further.
An examination and radiographs of her spine are a great place to start.
At that point your veterinarian can prescribe a higher dose of or a different anti-inflammatory and pain medication if needed.
In the meantime it may help to increase the amount of fiber in her food to help her feel and be more aware of her stools. You can add 2 to 3 tablespoons of canned pumpkin or Metamucil to her meals to increase fiber. Make sure to get her outdoors frequently to pass stools as well so her colon is less likely to overfill causing stools to just drop out.
It may also help to add an omega 3 fatty acid (like 3V Caps or Derm Caps) to the glucosamine/chondroitin product (examples are Dasuquin or Cosequin) that you are using. These work synergistically and improve cartilage health and joint fluid quality and quantity as well as reducing inflammation. They can take several weeks to see full improvement but some dogs do very well with them added. They are available over the counter.
Another option is a product called Duralactin. This is an anti-inflammatory product derived from milk proteins and it also has omega 3 fatty acids incorporated into it which can be very helpful. See this link for further information: http://www.duralactin.com/products_canine.htm
Other alternative therapies such as cold laser, acupuncture or chiropractic may be of help as well if her problem is arthritis related.
If we cannot get her comfortable no matter what we do, or help her with her incontinence then you may need to consider humane euthanasia, but I wouldn't give up on her yet until we know why she is the way she is and seeing if we can help her.
Let me know if you have any further questions.
Dr. Kara and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Share this conversation
Related Vet Questions
I’ve got a 9 week puppy and I’m really worried about worms.
I've just bought a sprocker spaniel last week. He is 9 weeks
My dog has fallen and is in severe pain. I have phoned the
My rabbit sounds as if she is sniffing. There's no nasal or
My domestic short haired, year old, cat had her annual
My rat is not eating, moving and breathing very shallow
Can I upload an xray for you to tell me if my cat has a
Our dog has started to smell fishy all the time. We took her
I have an old Russel cross who is now having trouble with
My dog keeps on lying down on walks. I've checked all his
Ask a Veterinarian
Get a Professional Answer. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed.
Veterinarians are Online Now
Type Your Vet Question Here...
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.
Terms of Service
Privacy & Security
© 2003-2017 JustAnswer LLC