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Pseudocoprostasis in Dogs (Fecal Matter Stuck in Hair)

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Pseudocoprostasis is a condition that occurs when fecal matter becomes matted in the hair surrounding the anal opening. Complete obstruction of the anus can occur.

Once the feces and matted hair have covered and obstructed the anal opening, the passage of additional feces becomes quite difficult. Defecation becomes difficult and can become painful. The fecal matter is in constant close contact with the skin and can result in skin irritations and infections. Constipation then ensues. If left untreated, it is possible for flies to lay eggs on the fecal mass resulting in maggot infestation of the anal area.

This condition is most common in longhaired breeds of dogs and most often occurs if the dog has diarrhea.

What to Watch For

  • Straining to defecate
  • Scooting bottom across floor
  • Vomiting
  • Poor appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Foul or fecal odor to cat
  • Large amount of matted hair around anus

    Diagnosis

    Diagnosis is typically based on physical exam findings. A large fecal and hair mass obstructing the anal opening is definitive.

    Treatment

    The primary treatment is to remove the fecal and hair mass. Shaving the anal area is usually required. The skin surrounding the anus may need medical treatment and ointments for irritation.

    A stool sample is evaluated microscopically to check for any intestinal parasites. The presence of parasites, if left untreated, may result in reoccurrence of this condition.

    If vomiting and poor appetite has resulted in dehydration, fluid support may be needed. Few pets with pseudocoprostasis will require hospitalization.

    Removal of maggots may also be necessary.

    Home Care and Prevention

    The primary home care is to remove the fecal mass obstructing the anus. Place the dog in the bathtub and spray warm water on the fecal mass. This will usually slowly remove the feces from the hair. Thoroughly cleaning the anal area with mild dish soap will also remove residual fecal material. Consider seeking a groomer to clip the hair around the anus to reduce reoccurrence.

    Take a stool sample to your family veterinarian for analysis. Making sure that intestinal parasites are not present will help diminish reoccurrence.

    Preventing fecal material from becoming matted in the hair is key to preventing this condition. Frequent cleaning of the anal area may be necessary for some pets, especially if you notice diarrhea.

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