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Old July 17th, 2003, 02:24 PM
mary2's Avatar
mary2 mary2 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Surrey, B.C.
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dog cat constipation

Dear Pet Dr.

I have both a cat and a dog. My cat has had an episode of constipation before but my dog is constipated now.
My dog acts like he wants to 'go' but nothing comes out.

My question is this, Is there a rule of thumb for constipation in dogs? why do they get constipated and can you treat it with imodium or another laxative? When should i be so worried that I should take it to the vet.

My other question is exactly the same but for cats, Is there a rule of thumb for constipation in cats? why do they get constipated and can you treat it with imodium or another laxative? When should I be so worried that I should take it to the vet.

Thanking you in advance,
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Old July 17th, 2003, 02:28 PM
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petdr petdr is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 262
constipation - constipated cat constipated dog

constipation - constipated cat constipated dog - General rule of thumb

Let me start by separating both cat and dog conditions since they are very different even though the symptoms may appear similar:

For cats, the most common cause of constipation is furballs from grooming. Often cats vomit up these furballs as fur sausages, however some cats are more prone to getting constipation from these as they pass through the intestines if they do not vomit them. It is for this reason that we recommend a hairball or furball paste to be given to even healthy cats 1-2 x weekly to avoid the constipation problem.

Obviously there may be less common causes of constipation including eating toys or other non food items that may get stuck, neurological diseases, cancer of the intestines to name a few.
If there is no response to hairball pastes for constipation in 2-3 days or if he looks ill, then a visit to the vet is definitely warranted.

For dogs, straining to poop frequently, sometimes producing a stool that may be mucus coated or bloody or even liquid squirting when they strain, is far more commonly caused by a large bowel infection that constipation. The analogy I can give you is that of someone who is lactose intolerant, and eats pizza, is going to need to visit the washroom soon after due to the burning sensation in their large bowel. A similar situation occurs with dogs causing frequent urges and attempts to poop, causing straining. Eventually this can cause a really bad diarrhea in dogs with squirting bloody diarrhea. Causes include parasites, infections such as E.Coli, Salmonella or some other bacteria, viruses, stress, changes of food, new treats or bones, spicy or fatty foods etc.

Constipation in dogs is possible, causing hard, dry stool. Common causes for this would be eating unusual objects, bones or prostate disease in unneutered male dogs. Both conditions in dogs usually don't clear up without medical intervention so I would suggest a visit to your regular vet.

Martin Slome DVM

Centre Street Animal Hospital
7700 Bathurst Street Units, 40-42
L4J 7Y3

Tel. (905) 771-9855
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