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Beagle with bowel problems, any thoughts or advice?

May 2nd, 2006, 02:32 PM
I know this is long, but I hope you will bear with me. My 12 year old obese beagle is has been having some type of bowel problem for almost a month now.

Some backround information. About the weight, we don't overfeed her, she eats a couple of cups of a dry food for overweight, elderly dogs each day. The vet thought she might have a thyroid problem. We had her on medication for over a month with no improvement a few months back. Maybe it wasn't long enough, but we let that treatment go. She is however, food obsessed, and will eat whatever she can find. She actually gets into our neighbors house through their doggie door and raids their trash, since they don't monitor it as closely as we have to. She also tries to eat their dog's food. They are family members so they tolerate this. She also loves to chew up my daughter's panties which they leave on the floor. She had a real run on that the week before this whole bowel problem started so I wondered if it was somehow related. She chewed up the crotches of at least a half a dozen panties.

The first symptom we noticed was a foul smell. We thought she had somehow gotten out and rolled in something dead, which she used to do when she was younger. When the smell didn't go away, I bathed her. She still stunk. Then I started noticing smears of excrement on the carpet. She is not dragging her butt. Rather, everytime she sits, she leaves a little smear. She has a messy anus all the time. It's like her sphincter muscle isn't working or something. She has not had any accidents in the house, just these smears. Her bowel movements have varied from diareah to ordinary during the course of this problem. There is sometimes blood in the stool, sometimes not.

We took her to the vet about 10 days ago. He said it was either worms or colitis or both. When he tried to get a stool sample, her bowel was empty except for mucous and blood and the stench was horrible. He gave her a worm treatment and put her on medication for the colitis, a steroid called Albon twice a day, and Lomotil as needed for diareah. The only real improvement is that she doesn't seem to smell so much any more. She went a couple of days without leaving smears and then I found one again this morning. She has had both diareah and a fairly normal stool over the last 24 hours. We kept her on the Lomotril the whole time. Her medication ran out last night and I have an appointment with the vet tomorrow morning.

He did not seem to address the "messy butt" issue when I was in the last time. He said that it was just due to the diareah, but I wonder if it could be something else. Do you have any opinions as to what her problem may be? Is there something I should bring up to the vet tomorrow? I would appreciate any help you could offer.

May 2nd, 2006, 03:08 PM
First I think some stronger supervision is in order and it's not uncommon for dogs to venture and chew on things.

If you don't supervise or limit your dogs access it is likely your dog will end up getting into substances or items which can cause deadly results. Ie: bones in the trash, poisons and such.

In addition there are many individuals who are not pet friendly and may put out substances deliberately to poison your dog. You must be more responsible.

I'm not sure I understand 'was' there actually a stool sample taken? If not, collect one and have the vet do a parasitology screen and bacterial culture.

If your dog is injesting all sorts of things it's no wonder it's GI tract is all shot to heck. :confused:

May 2nd, 2006, 03:50 PM
I don't believe that we are irresponsible pet owners. It appears that you wrongly assumed that we let our dog roam free. We don't. Maybe I gave the impression that she is overweight because she is eating garbage all the time. That is not the case, but if she had her way, she would be. I don't know why she is overweight. As I mentioned, the vet believes it may be her thyroid. I did get her back on that medication after this last vet visit.

Have you ever heard of the expression, where there is a will, there is a way? That applies to this dog. Although I will admit that I don't supervise her when she is outside, she doesn't roam free. We have a fenced yard with a gate to our neighbor's (my brother-in-law's) house (also fenced). We do leave it open much of the time because they have a neurotic, but sweet, border collie, who freaks out when she is left alone. This way, the dogs are companions for each other, and I am home much of the time while they are at work. They do keep their trash and dog food in the laundry room and try to keep the door closed, but it doesn't always happen. This dog is so sneaky that she will poke her head in and won't come in if she sees anybody. My sister-in-law has caught her literally sneaking around her house like a cat on the prowl. She has been caught and reprimanded and it doesn't phase her. Closing that gate doesn't solve the problem because she somehow can manage to squeeze her fat body through the bottom. Currently, they have placed a piece of furniture in front of the gate so she cannot get through. They don't want poop smears on their floor either, I guess.

As for our home, the only issue has been the panties, or sometimes used kleenexes in the bathroom trash cans. We do make an effort to keep all the doors shut, but she will literally check them with her nose to be sure they are really closed. I have talked to my daughters about making sure they get everything in the hamper, but they don't always follow through and doors are left open on occasion. I don't think that makes us irresponsible. These are not new habits of hers, and she hasn't had any similar bowel problems in the past.

I don't usually bring a stool sample to the vet. He usually goes in there and gets one out himself. This time he said that she was empty. I did plan to bring a sample from home tomorrow, so that won't hapen again.

This is my first time on this forum although I participate in many message boards on the net. I have to say that your reply was not very welcoming.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone that may have heard of something similar to the symtoms I described.

May 2nd, 2006, 04:05 PM
I merely responded to what you posted

She actually gets into our neighbors house through their doggie door and raids their trash,

Take a stool sample with you, there is no reason why you can't.

May 2nd, 2006, 05:14 PM
Yes, I guess I didn't use the best choice of words. It's more like if she sees an opportunity to grab something, she will, and then run off like a bandit with her loot. She doesn't turn the trash over and make a huge mess or anything. Like I said, she's very sneaky.

May 2nd, 2006, 06:14 PM
It's nice to let them have freedom and to enjoy coming/going from next door but if your dog can get into things there or elsewhere you have to limit the access to 'you' supervising.

So many things can happen right, better to be safe then sorry!

Beagles are scent driven by nature!

May 3rd, 2006, 08:07 AM
Beagles are normally very food driven. They love to eat! But this seems to be a bit excessive. Has she always been this food driven or has it increased over the years? Have you had any blood tests done or any other test to confirm whether or not she does have a thyroid condition? One month on therapy is not enough to see an improvement. She would need some tests to determine why she is so crazy for food and finds the need to search for it constantly.

Does she drink more than normal? I would suggest maybe even testing her for Cushings Disease. My beagle, Misty, is also very food motivated. She constantly searches for food. She also drank a little more than usual. She has recently been diagnosed with Cushings and is now undergoing treatment.

About the panties fetish, this could be causing a severe problem with her GI tract. In fact, I'm very surprised she has not had a blockage yet. Have you had x-rays done to confirm that there are no blockages?

What are you feeding her, exactly? What is the brand of food? Any treats? You may not be overfeeding her, but her getting into other "food" is what is contributing to her overweight problem.

May 3rd, 2006, 09:39 AM
as for your beagle running off like a bandit with anything she can get her hands on......thats a beagle for you, and i dont think anyone could understand this quite as well as any beagle owner, as they are notorious for this....if u read my threads u will see that i recently had to euthanize my beagle Porkchop less than a wk ago, just thought i would comment on ur panty issue:

My beagle, POrkchop, had this thing with panites as well i think it is the smell of a womans area that they like, my friend has 3 beagles who do the same, they are the same as mine was, any used tampon/pad left loose in the garbage would be gold for him....dirty panties too, never fresh clean outta the wash ones...always ones in the clothes hamper.....anyway just thought i would let u kno that your problem with the pantie fetish isnt isolated, as i think it is fair to say ANY Beagle seems to like these...from my experiences stop this, i was forced to put a big rock on our garbage can in the washroom, cause like yours, he is sneaky and wouldnt tip it over, meerly take a peak to see whats good, then rip the $hiat outta it.....hence why we would kno he did it, he wasnt too smart at coverin up after for the panties, mayb put your dirty clothes hamper or w/e ur using in a closet so theyre is no access for you four-legged friend to ruin them....

best wishes and good luck

Chad.....keep me posted.

May 4th, 2006, 02:22 PM
Thanks for the replies. I do think you have to be a beagle owner to understand their mentality; totally food driven. It helps to know that we are not alone in our problems. By the way, her name is Chloe. Years ago, she got up on the dining room table in the dark of night, which I didn't even know she was capable of doing, and made off with an entire bag of Hershey's kisses. She ate the whole bag foil and all. I just found little bits and pieces around. Luckily, since it was milk chocolate, she didn't suffer any ill effects, but that is just an example of the lengths she will go. Needless to say, we don't leave any food on the tables anymore, wrapped or otherwise.

To answer your questions, yes, she has always been this way. No, she doesn't seem to drink more water than normal. I am feeding her NutroMax weight control formula for overweight less active dogs from PetSmart. We very seldom give her treats. These days, she gets them with her medicine. That's how we get the medicine down, usually wrapped in a small piece of turkey. I think getting into other food may contribute to her weight problem, but I don't think it is a major factor. I don't think she gets away with it every day or anything, more like she strikes gold once or twice a week. The blood tests for the thyroid condition were inconclusive if I remember, I think borderline; so he said to give it a try and see if the medicine made any difference.

The vet seemed to pay more attention this week to my description of her messy anus. Last time, he just attributed it to her diareah. He did a test and found that her anal sphincter is not reacting to his prodding as it should. He doesn't think there is anything he can do about this, it is just an age thing. He did try an "experiment" and gave her a shot of estrogen, which he says helps if the problem is with the vaginal sphincter. He also thought that there was an area where a small amount of feces was getting trapped and not expelled. He thinks it is these feces that are being left when she sits. Not a very promising diagnosis.

Her stool that I brought him looked normal. He didn't really examine it. I guess he prefers to get a really fresh sample, so he took his own. It was soft, but no diahreah. He was concerned about the yellowish greenish color and was thinking there might be a pancreatic problem. When he examined it under the microscope, he found a bunch of parasites in there, not something he sees very often. He had me look at the slide and and there were these little cirlces with red in them. He said they were eggs. He did not think they were worms, but some other sort of parasite. He seemed really surprised to find them like it's very uncommon. He decided that the next course of treatment was to tackle these babies, rather than investigate a pancreatic problem. She is now on metro nidazole, tetracycline, lomitil as needed for diahreah, and soloxine for her thyroid.

Thanks for your support and sorry to hear about Porkchop. We lost our other beagle, Chloe's son, when he was only two years old. He was not quite as food obsessed as her and not nearly as clever, but he was a looker. We always teased that she had the brains and he had the looks. They were quite a team getting into mischief. I couldn't imagine owning three beagles like your friends!