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Advice Needed - Incontinence In Elderly Greyhound Issue


Guest suzanne
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Guest suzanne

Hi all

I am posting the following for a friend and any thoughts/advice would be appreciated.

The dog in question is a nearly 14 year old greyhound female (spayed and long since adopted).

 

The issue is that the dog is routinely going to the toilet in the house. Things had settled down to a few times a week but now it is a few times a day, mainly poos.

The vet said that she can put her on incontinence tablets but they are more for weeing, might not work and once you put them on them they have to stay on them even if there is no improvement. It was also suggested that it could be partly a senility thing, which we think it is as she will just get up and go on the floor even when the door is open. Tablets for that are even more expensive and again might not have any effect on a nearly 14 year old dog.

 

One of the owners really doesn’t agree with messing around putting a 14 year old dog on tablets which have no guarantees of working. He is getting sick of cleaning up after her, constantly washing bedding etc. The owner's Mum has just rang her to say that she has gone in to feed them and she has pooed all over the bed and is lying in it. The owner made sure she went before she left at 12 so that’s only 3.5 hours that she has been alone.

 

Regarding the dog's quality of life, the owner says her back legs are definitely getting weaker and she can be very wobbly and has fallen a few times. Her muscle tone is poor. She pants a lot even when just standing so little things take a lot out of her. She wobbles out to the garden a few times a day for a bit of a sniff, very occasionally has a little run but really just spends her days lying on the bed. Her eyesight is poor. Her appetite is still very good. She seems happy and content, not distressed. There are other dogs and young children in the family.

 

 

Can anyone suggest some sort of a solution?

Edited by suzanne
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Guest bernadette

I'm so sorry to hear. I am learning as I go along, but this sounds to me like stenosis (not the poor dog going senile) and I think a neurological consult is in order. I am sure others will be happy to add their opinions. If indeed that is the case, I believe that this poor girl really has no control over this and my heart goes out to her- and her family.

Have they been in touch with their regular vet?

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How sad. It reads like as a result of senility the poor dog's quaility of life has all but gone and euthanasia should be considered on the grounds that the owners can no longer cope. There is no blame in this, you can only do what you are able to do.

We sent out Great Dane to the Bridge after LS went too far and she ended up losing control of her bowels - she so HATED being a 'dirty' dog.

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This is probably grasping at straws, but if it is stenosis gabapentin may help. I believe George of Noo England is on an NSAID and gabepentin because of stenosis which was causing urinary incontinence. Recently when Nadir started having incontinence problems again and I had tried everything else I thought about what was helping George and ask my vet about putting him on gabapentin in the event his issue was nerve related. Turns out it worked. We've had no accidents for 4 weeks now. I don't know if this would help fecal incontinence though, but it might be worth investigating.

Another thing to consider if they are willing is to put her on a raw diet, which greatly reduces the amount of feces along with improving consistency.

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I think the bottom line comes down to what the owners are willing to cope with at this point. Fecal incontinence does not tend to respond well to any meds. If it's caused by LS disease or a disc problem causing spinal cord compression, the only thing shown to help is surgery, but a 14-year-old would not be a good surgical candidate.

 

I've heard of some cases where acupuncture helped, but it can be hard to find a good acupuncturist, and it usually requires regular treatments and gets expensive. Anti-inflammatories and pain meds may help with mobility but I haven't had any cases where it helped with fecal incontinence.

 

The vet said that she can put her on incontinence tablets but they are more for weeing, might not work and once you put them on them they have to stay on them even if there is no improvement. It was also suggested that it could be partly a senility thing, which we think it is as she will just get up and go on the floor even when the door is open.

 

I personally wouldn't even try 'incontinence tablets' which are probably either Proin (phenylpropanolamine) or an estrogen supplement like DES. These have the potential for serious side effects and do not do anything for fecal incontinence. However, even if you do try these meds, there's no reason a dog needs to stay on them if there's no improvement.

 

Based on your description of her getting up and going on the floor, I'm also wondering if she's really incontinent. Incontinent means there's no voluntary control. Dogs with fecal incontinence will drop stool as they are just standing or walking around, and they do not get into position since they are unaware of it happening. Sometimes the poop just comes out as they are lying down.

 

If she's getting up and squatting to poop in the house, that points more toward senility. Or if she's trying to make it to the door but can't quite hold it, she may just have a decrease in control but not truly be incontinent. There are various meds and supplements that might help with senility (cognitive dysfunction), but these are pretty expensive, and some dogs respond better than others. With fecal incontinence, sometimes the only practical way to handle it is with management and frequent clean up. Feeding a "low residue" highly digestible food will decrease the amount of stool to clean up.

Jennifer &

Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

Ollie (whippet), Gracie (whippet x), & Terra (whippet) + Just Saying + Just Alice

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This is probably grasping at straws, but if it is stenosis gabapentin may help. I believe George of Noo England is on an NSAID and gabepentin because of stenosis which was causing urinary incontinence. ....

 

George is on those things, but George has never had a problem with fecal incontinence. My understanding is once spinal condition progresses to that, there is rarely any stopping it.

 

I personally would not subject a dog of that age to the indignity of laying in feces because she is no longer able to get up and go outside.

 

I would feel blessed to have had a pet live to be 14, and I would have her put to sleep. Maybe that sounds harsh, but doing what is right for the dog is what I feel is right, and having an owner frustrated and upset about the dog's uncontrolled bowels? What kind of life is that for either of them?


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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This is probably grasping at straws, but if it is stenosis gabapentin may help. I believe George of Noo England is on an NSAID and gabepentin because of stenosis which was causing urinary incontinence. ....

 

George is on those things, but George has never had a problem with fecal incontinence. My understanding is once spinal condition progresses to that, there is rarely any stopping it.

 

I personally would not subject a dog of that age to the indignity of laying in feces because she is no longer able to get up and go outside.

 

I would feel blessed to have had a pet live to be 14, and I would have her put to sleep. Maybe that sounds harsh, but doing what is right for the dog is what I feel is right, and having an owner frustrated and upset about the dog's uncontrolled bowels? What kind of life is that for either of them?

 

No, not harsh at all. Given the situation if nothing can be found to help it may be the kindest option.

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Guest bernadette

This is probably grasping at straws, but if it is stenosis gabapentin may help. I believe George of Noo England is on an NSAID and gabepentin because of stenosis which was causing urinary incontinence. ....

 

George is on those things, but George has never had a problem with fecal incontinence. My understanding is once spinal condition progresses to that, there is rarely any stopping it.

 

I personally would not subject a dog of that age to the indignity of laying in feces because she is no longer able to get up and go outside.

 

I would feel blessed to have had a pet live to be 14, and I would have her put to sleep. Maybe that sounds harsh, but doing what is right for the dog is what I feel is right, and having an owner frustrated and upset about the dog's uncontrolled bowels? What kind of life is that for either of them?

 

No, not harsh at all. Given the situation if nothing can be found to help it may be the kindest option.

 

I also agree and have had to think about this with Vinnies issues lately- although I hope and pray that I don't REALLY need to think about it until many years from now.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest galwaygirl

As with elderly people, elderly dogs can get B12 deficiency. One of the symptoms of B12 deficiency is fatigue and wobbliness. Diagnosed with a simple blood test and cured with a B12 injection. If your vet lacks knowledge of B12 deficiency, be assertive and insist on the blood test. It is also inexpensive.

 

As for poos, slippery elm powder from your health shop mixed with a little water & teeny weeny bit of honey into a paste. Does wonders for healing intestinal mucosal lining and slowing down bowel transit!

 

Vets like medical doctors too often look to gross pathologies rather than treating the obvious!!!!

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  • 1 year later...
Guest Bigaldog

We could have written this post ourselves. Katy just turned 14 also. Same exact issue. I was sitting with her today and she was lying down sleeping. At first I smelled gas and seconds later her tail became erect and she went in her sleep on her bed unknowingly. We have found it on her bed before but never actually saw it happen in her sleep. I let her out the other night, see came in and not another minute later did it standing on her bed. The vet thought we the first step should be pain meds. Tramadol . His thinking was that pain was causing her not to stay in position long enough to eliminate entirely. I believe now it's closer to fecal incontinence as mentioned in another post. Unfortunately it's becoming the norm. 5-6 nights a week.

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When our whippet was quite elderly, he knew he had to go but the signal didn't get through fast enough for him to ask to go outside and then get all the way outside. What we did:

 

1. Lined the inside of his very cushy bed with waterproof sheeting, so we only had to wash the cover if there was an accident.

2. Lined the floor of his regular overnight room with rubber-backed mats, which we could take outside and hose off if there was an accident. Occasionally we had to clean a sliver of carpet but for the most part the mats made it really easy to clean up accidents.

3. Took him outside shortly before and right after meals.

4. Took him outside whenever he woke up and got to his feet.

5. Switched him to a lower residue food. (THIS HELPED A LOT!)

6. Weather permitting, made sure he stayed outside for a few minutes, trundling around when he could or just standing for a bit if he was wobblier. That little bit of exercise often produced an extra pee/poop, which helped him last through a subsequent long nap or through the night.

7. Got him a supportive harness (RuffWear) so it was easy to help him if he was wobbly when wanting to poop.

 

Hope some of those suggestions are helpful to those with elderly dogs.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest MnMDogs

We've been dealing with this off and on for the last year with our Mork. He often just can't feel it until it's too late (if he even does, sometimes like your girl I'll just see the tail go and he poops as he sleeps). I've discussed in length with my vet and she doesn't feel it has anything to if with pain, but lack of feeling.

 

It is hard for him to stay in one place long enough to fully go, but he solves that by pooping and walking when he does make it outside. Or he just poops and walks trying to get out the door.

 

Sometimes it's every day, all day. Sometimes we make it several days without an accident (2 poop free days so far)! If she goes in her bed, I'd take Batmom's suggestion and cover her favorite bed with plastic

 

Mork wanders to so many different beds and the couch that we just shove a garbage bag under his rear and that works sometimes. But since 80% of the time he feels it as it's sneaking out, he leaves a trail to the door. Ahh, life with a geriatric dog. We have a spot bot that gets a lot of good use.

 

One thing that I have seen help with this is adequan. I know it's not a known effect of the drug, but right after an injection, we have a reprieve from the house poop. It may be worth considering.

 

I didn't realize this was an older post- sorry if I repeated myself if I posted here. Regarding indignity... I know Mork doesn't give a darn. He's happy, engaged, hungry, playful within his limitations. He's just old and I can't remember who said it, but with old dogs, poop happens.

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Guest MnMDogs

...

 

Hey I will be there some day and I hope no one ever says anything to me but just cleans it up.

My mom, who is most definitely not a dog person, says they same thing to me when she asks about Mork. Especially if it's been a particularly poop-filled day or week, and I vent a little to her.

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Guest TexasGreytMom

We are going thru most of this with our senior girl and can relate to almost everything mentioned above. Fortunately, she is only urinating indoors and so far only does so on the kitchen tile, which is easy to clean.

 

I feel badly for hubby because he works from home and therefore gets most of the cleanup duty. He feels that if he can let her out often, it may decrease her accidents in the house - and, he has started to get up in the middle of the night to take her outside with limited "success." I think it may be something that he just has to go thru - all part of the journey - perhaps it's his way of dealing with gradually losing her - subconsciously denying that we're losing her?

 

Even though we're in the very last phase of Dora's life, we're just trying to enjoy the daily positives, while reminding ourselves that the negative aspects are temporary for us. Some days are worse than others, but we're hanging in there as long as the meds she's on continue to keep her relatively pain-free and comfortable, and give her some quality of life.

 

She's had such a long, wonderful life, given us such pleasure ... and we're so blessed!

 

{{{Hugs}}} to everyone who has a senior pup!!!

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I still remember Shadow waking up, turning around to his butt, smelling the turd in HIS bed and he got up and ran away with a look of disgust trying to figure out who pooped there :lol Many times I would be able to clean it up without waking him :) I have so many stories....I love the seniors so much in spite of the late stage problems. Patience and figuring out different ways to do things.

Diane & The Senior Gang

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