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Constipation in Dogs

By: Dr.Bari Spielman

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Therapy In-depth

One or more of the diagnostic tests described above may be recommended by your veterinarian. In the meantime, treatment of the symptoms might be needed, especially if the problem is severe. The following nonspecific (symptomatic) treatments may be applicable to some dogs with constipation. These treatments may reduce severity of symptoms or provide relief for your dog. However, nonspecific therapy is not a substitute for definitive treatment of the underlying disease responsible for your dog's condition. Medical and dietary therapy may be lifelong and often frustrating.

  • If an underlying cause has been identified, treat it or remove it if possible.

  • Discontinue any medications that may cause constipation.

  • Alter the diet to be altered to include bulking agents such as methylcellulose, bran, or pumpkin.

  • Stool softeners such as docusate sodium(DSS, Colace) may be used as instructed by your veterinarian.

  • Promote frequent exercise, as this helps promote regular bowel movements.

  • If a dog is severely impacted and/or dehydrated, it may be necessary to hospitalize him for fluids, enemas, and possible manual removal of feces, which often necessitates general anesthesia.

  • In a small percentage of patients where constipation continually progresses to obstipation, a colectomy (surgical removal of the colon) may be necessary if medical management is not of benefit.

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