This information will help you to prevent constipation in your pet. There are many diseases, which can lead to constipation. Apart from the common ones discussed here, constipation can be due to excessive hair accumulation, perineal hernias, arthritis, lack of exercise (especially old or unwell pets), malfunctioning colon in cats, and tumors.
Diet Related Constipation
This affects males and females alike, and is more common in dogs.
Diets containing a large amount of bones increase the chance of developing constipation. Bones are not broken down or softened in the gut, and form a plug in the rectum where it enters the pelvis. Soft bowel motions can pass through the pelvic canal, but bones get stuck.
- This problem is more likely if you feed cooked bones, so always avoid these.
Cats can get constipation due to excessive fur accumulation in the stomach and intestine, especially in long haired cats. Occasionally this can even cause an obstruction in the bowel.
Constipation can be prevented by careful feeding practices to keep the faeces soft.
1. Give regular meals
2. Feeding of a balanced diet, e.g. a commercial diet
3. Always have plenty of fresh water available for your pet.
4. Plenty of exercise
Can I do something myself when I think my pet is getting bound up?
If your pet continues to get “bound up” even with proper food and exercise then it is neccessary to see you vet so that the cause can be found and treated.
A common treatment is to add paraffin to the food, but this should only be done for very short periods of time as liquid paraffin reduces the ability of the guts to absorb nutrients.
There are also special oil pastes for cats which can be applied to their fur for them to lick off. Faecal softening pills are also available for use in some special cases.
If your pet does not clear with an oral treatment then it might need to come in for an enema under sedation to clear to blockage. In very severe cases of constipation it may even be necessary to operate surgically to remove the blockage.
This is a condition of older male dogs that have not been neutered. The prostate is a sex gland that sits at the entrance to the pelvis. The male hormone testosterone causes it to enlarge over time and it can grow to such a size that it reduces the space in the pelvic canal that the faeces pass through. If the dog cannot squeeze the faeces past the enlarged prostate it becomes constipated.
The size of the prostate can usually be reduced permanently by neutering to remove the source of the testosterone. Your vet can discuss the situation fully with you and discuss the best options for your dog.
This is a common injury in cats. As the pelvis heals it is painful for your pet to crouch and toilet. They can become constipated as they try to toilet less often. Also when the pelvis has been broken, it may heal in a way that decreases the amount of space within the pelvic canal. This means there is less room for faeces to pass through.
If you have any queries or questions relating to your pet, please do not hesitate to ask a member of this practice for help.
Here are some diets that we recommend at Newstead vets……
Hill’s Feline Hairball Control