Old Yellow Lab that has trouble getting up and poops in house
We have a 15 year old yellow lab that was missed diagnosed for Lymes disease a few years back. One day our dog couldn't get up, couldn't even move much by himself. Took him to the vet who said he was just old and had arthritis & gave us some drugs. One of my husband's co-workers told him his dog acted the same way when he had lymes disease so we took him back to the vet and requested the test. It was positive! Got him on the right meds and he seemed fine for a couple years. Now he can't lift himself up most of the time, when he does he struggles, but once up he walks okay, but does fall down easily. Then he started pooping in the house so we took him back to the vet and she said that he has lost the feeling in some part back there that tells him when he has to poop so it just comes out when it needs to. If this was everything I wouldn't have a problem putting him down, but the vet also told us that she's amazed at how healthy he is otherwise. His heart is fine and so are all his organs. Our dog can still hold his bladder for 12 hours if he has too!! So, what to do? I'm tired of cleaning up after him (we have blankets on the floor so when he does have an accident we can clean it up and throw the blanket in the wash) and I'm not sure how healthy it is for the family to have this continue. It's already been 9 months. Any suggestions?
Hi. I wasn't aware of Lymes Disease until I read your post, so it has been an interesting learning curve, having just read a few articles on it. Presumably, your dog got this from a tick bite. I understand lameness can occur in one leg, become resolved, but then affect another leg at a different time. The treatment seems to be a 4-week course of antibiotics. Most of the material I have read mention potential problems with the kidneys, causing incontinence, but not problems with control of the anus. It may be prudent therefore to ask your vet whether this is associated with the Lymes Disease, or whether in fact it is something else. It sounds to me rather more commonsense that failure to control the anus is likely to be connected with the lameness, but articles for some reason don't suggest this.
We have to remember that your lab is 15yrs old, so it could just be down to old age too. Bless him.
I can appreciate that you are getting fed up with cleaning up after him all the time, but the alternative is even worse. Euthanasia is an option, but if he's otherwise happy and contented, it's not something I would do. Considering his age and his existing problems, time is not on his side - so I would just try to enjoy his company for as long as it's practical to do so - and give him all the love and attention he needs.
12 hours is a hell of a long time for any dog to hold his bladder - why are you expecting him to hold on for this long? If it's while you are at work, can you not arrange for a friend or neighbour to pop in midway through the day to let your dog out?
I hope someone more experienced with this particular problem might propose some management suggestions for you. In the meantime, I think you are doing pretty much all you can for your guy, so please keep up the good work for as long as you can.
One alternative I did with my yellow lab was acupuncture and chinese herbs and I actually got 5 1/2 more beautiful years with her. She was having alot of issues with 2 cruciate ligament surgerys on both back legs She had them done in 1996 and 1998. So in 2005 I had a vet tell me she was in pain with her back legs especially one of her hind legs and we should put her down. I refused. We went alternative & that's where we met a fantastic holistic Doctor who did the accupuncture. Unfortunatey, we are at a crossroads and We are deciding now at 16 whether or not to let her go tomorrow. It's a very difficult decision when you are put in that position. I wouldn't let your baby go just yet. I don't know if you take her out to go potty every couple hours if that would help or too much work?. I know that is alot of work but it may help relieve some of the cleaning up in the house. Also, they have those puppy pads like the ones used at hospitals, they may help to just roll them up and throw out. I would really seek a holistic Doctor one that is an accredited Vet (DVM) as we did. I hope something works out for you all.
One more thing to add. My brother has a yellow lab with the same symtoms. She is about 12 -13 years old and is healthy too. Cannot hold her poops. Very frustrating. So, He is doing accupuncture with the same Dr. I used. Its been a month and he is seeing some results.I don't think its an overnight miracle
I do believe the chinese herbs must be used in conjuction to the accupuncture. May be worth trying....
Just a quick word about chinese style alternative medicines ... please double and treble check what is in them before buying. Most chinese medicines and so-called remedies include animal, reptile and insect parts, often from endangered species. In some cases, the testing of these so-called medicines is insufficient and unqualified. Please use these only after thorough research and with the advice from your vet.
I agree Absolutely check and of course I wouldn't go to just anybody. The herbs did not contain anything of reptiles, insect parts etc. We did use an accredited DVM, She is a graduate of Davis CA,
" Dr. Williams graduated from the Veterinary School at the University of California, Davis in 1992. She was on staff at Crow Canyon Veterinary Clinic prior to its merger to become Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center. In 1998 she became certified in veterinary acupuncture by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, and is one of only two veterinarians in the region who provide this care for dogs and cats. With training in both conventional western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dr. Williams is able to integrate multiple treatment modalities for her patients." The Clinic we do use comes highly recommended (even the county Police Department bring their K-9 dogs there) & they have several Drs who specialize in different areas. I do think the acupuncture was worth it for us. But you must decide what is best for you and your family. So as Tony mentioned "Research"... Good Luck.
Thank you for your reply. We don't keep our dog from going outside for 12 hours at a time. I was just making people aware that he can if he chooses to. He does not like storms and will not go out during them. I just wanted people to understand that his kidneys are fine.
He does it when we are home and no I wouldn't want to change that diaper, all squished on him. It is easier to let him lay there finish going and then move him out of the way and clean up and wash the blanket.
Yes, we've tried taking him out several times a day, however, he doesn't want to walk around. He goes down our ramp we had to make for him, turns & walk a couple feet away from it, pees, and walks back up to come in. A few minutes later he's pooping in the house.
I Did a quick web search for you, and here are some of the things I found, that may help you....
There are some things you can do with your dog's food and feeding schedule to help the situation:
Feed two or three small meals rather than one large meal each day.
Switching to a high fiber dog food can produce bulkier (more solid) stools by absorbing stool water. Change foods gradually over a few weeks to reduce the possibility of bloating and gas from the extra fiber.
Help your dog have fewer stools by feeding a highly digestible, low residue dog food. Several appropriate commercial diets are available. Do a web search, and you will see that there are many different brands.
And to try to make things a little easier to clean up, you can try to
Keep your dog's rear-end fur trimmed short. After a bout with incontinence, wash the dirty area, rinse, and dry.
Disposable baby wipes work great for quick cleanups.
Instead of using puppy training pads, you can purchase something call Underpads...they are large disposable pads made for people. You can buy them from Wal Mart or Sams Club. If I remember right, a box of 120 cost around $20
If you do not have a WalMart or SamsClub, you should be able to purchase these types of disposable pads anywhere they sell medical supplies. They would probably be called Disposable Chucks for urinary incontinence.
I hope this information helps both you and your dog.
Thank you everyone for your time of research and suggestions. The one most important thing I totally forgot to write in my initial question was that our dog has trouble getting up due to muscle loss in his back end. The vet said he's lost probably 90% of his muscle. One of his legs is very limp when you move it, but somehow he still uses it! However, he can't stand for long and he can't turn without falling down. Anyway, I guess I am more concerned about my family and wanting to know if we are being harmed by the fumes, etc. of our dogs feces. One of our daughter's has asthma and it has been acting up, but that could be from other things as well. Plus, we can't take him anywhere, like camping, anymore. He physically could not handle it and we can't ask someone to take care of him with his condition and he's ruined our carpenting.....soooo......I'm torn between the guilt of putting him down if he is still healthy and the guilt of not putting him down because it may be a sanitation/health issue for our family.
Since your dog did have Lyme disease...it is a possibility that the disease has flared up again, and I would have my dog tested. I would certainly want to have it ruled out.
Did your vet ever do any xrays on your dog, or did she suggest trying to use any anti inflammatory medications on him..?
I would try an anti inflammatory medication...it may reduce any swelling that might be contributing to pinched nerves. It would also help him feel better...less aches and pains.
If you want to try and possibly help control the timing of your dog defecating, here are a few suggestions I found on PetMd....
For dogs that are suffering from back end paralysis, You might be able to induce defecation by pinching the tail or the pelvis.
Or, you might try applying a warm washcloth to the anus to try to stimulate defecation in an animal whose posterior is paralyzed.
I do not believe that your family is at risk of becoming ill due to your dogs fecal fumes. However if you are concerned about catching something (like worms ) from contact with the feces, just take in a stool sample, and have it tested. Other than that, practice good hygiene.
You can also clean your carpet with a professional steam cleaner and use an enzymatic carpet cleaner when you do.
If you have linoleum in your kitchen...could you keep him confined to that area during the day...?
I realize he is 15 years old, and his condition is becoming a burden on you.
I know that you are concerned about the quality of his life...but you know your dog best, and because of that, you are the best one to determine if he is not happy with the way he is living.
He Trusts you to make that decision for him.
I wish I could be of more help, but this is all I have to offer for now.
I will be thinking of you both...
Please let us know how things are going for you.
Only you know your situation, your priorities and your dog well enough to make the ultimate decision. If it were me, which it isn't, but if it was ... I would do whatever it takes to maintain my dog's quality of life, contentment and happiness - and that would include cleaning up whatever mess he made - just as I would if it were an elderly infirm relative I was caring for. All that said, only you can determine if and when the right time is for euthanasia. My heart goes out to you in assessing this dreadful question. I know you are worried about faeces and the smell, but others have given you some suggestions about how to better manage this - and bear in mind that faeces are not in themselves harmful to you or your family, providing they are cleaned up more or less straight away and the floor area disinfected (just calls for a wipe over with a dog-friendly disinfectant).
Whatever you decide - please come back and update us. We are here if and when you need us. Big hugs, Tony
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