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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 32794
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My mongrel is 14 years old, and has recently started

Customer Question

My mongrel bitch is 14 years old, and has recently started having bouts of night time incontinence [pooping]. Any sugestions???.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
We first need to differentiate true incontinence - unwillful defecation - from inappropriate defecation - willful due to either medical or behavioral abnormalities. With true incontinence, stool is dropped from the anus unconsciously during sleep or waking hours. When a medical disorder is present, the stool may become diarrheic and excessive amounts of mucus or blood might be seen in it. When a behavioral disorder is present, you might see other signs of inappropriate behavior - a normally social dog becoming aloof or, conversely, a normally aloof dog becoming "clingy", abnormal vocalization, aimless wandering, aggression, e.g. - all of which would be consistent with sundowners syndrome - a type of cognitive dysfunction (senility) seen in a 14 year old. The dark and quiet of nighttime accentuates the sensory deprivation dogs with cognitive dysfunction often suffer. The first order of busines is to have your bitch thoroughly examined by her vet including diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests + a rectal exam to rule out a medical etiology for her behavior. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.