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Bladder and Bowel Control

Neurological Disorders Resources. Treatment and care for pets having pain or trouble walking or standing due to spinal injuries or neurological disorders like IVDD, FCE and DM.

Bladder and Bowel Control

Postby nfolkmann » Mon May 14, 2018 5:12 am

Hello everyone,

My first dog about has me at wits end. Last Christmas she blew a disc in her back. I decided to go with the expensive surgery. She is walking again, and I am grateful for that. I cannot get her bowels and bladder under control. I have to use a sling for her to urinate outside, and maually help her deficate. I understand that is it could be she needs to build muscle to squat again. The biggest issue is she keeps having accidents in my house. I have tried getting her out more, and it still happens. My two dogs are kenneled during the day while I am gone, so I let they stay with me in bed at night. Usually for this dog she has her own bed and a pad in case she has accidents. The problem is she gets up in the middle of the night and gets off the pad, and has an accident. If anyone has something I can do at home to help get her back to normal, I would greatly appreciate it. it is getting close to 6 months since her accident.
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Re: Bladder and Bowel Control

Postby CarolC » Tue May 15, 2018 5:55 pm

I'm curious what size of dog she is. It sounds like maybe she's somewhat large? When you sling walk her, is that mainly to steady her so she can squat? Or are you actually applying pressure to her bladder by lifting on the sling? Have you tried actually expressing her bladder at bedtime, in case she is not fully emptying during her bedtime trip outside?

If you are already doing that, have you tried letting her wear a diaper at night? You could just put it on her at bedtime so you are not starting your busy morning with a time consuming extra chore of cleaning up. Instead, in the morning, you could put the sling on her and as soon as you get her out the door remove the diaper and proceed as usual. I used to do that with my male dog when he could still walk, just zip off the velcro diaper as he went out the back door.

I don't really know of a way to hurry recovery of bowel and bladder control, but I would not be too worried that it is almost 6 months. There have been dogs here who recovered bladder control much later than 6 months.

Important question, where on her back was the disk problem? Was it lumbar, or mid back or upper back or...? There was one dog here who was mostly recovered but still lacked bladder control, and medication allowed him to urinate independently. I'd have to find the post, but I think I could if you are interested.

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Re: Bladder and Bowel Control

Postby nfolkmann » Tue May 15, 2018 7:41 pm

She is a toy fox terrier. She is only about 12 lbs. She is not overweight at all. When she urinates she needs to be in a sling because she will just spread her legs. If I let her try and go on her own she tries but just hops and does not really fully express herself. I do try an lift up on the sling to entice her to go. Sometimes she wants to be difficult. I have not tried diapers. Diapers do not protect from her going number 2. I usually just put a pad under her, if she will stay there. If I remember correctly the injury was about the middle of her back. My goal is to get her to go potty on her own in both manners and stop the accidents in the house. I would love to let her go back under the blankets at night again, as she loves doing that. I just cannot trust her. I have already had a few messy incidents in the bed. The hospital where she got the surgery stated they think that she just needs to regain strength in her legs to get better. Does that sound correct? That is what they told me at the 8 weeks revisit. She was walking at that visit. Do I try and cut her off of food and water a certain time before bed, and take her to the bathroom right before bed? One thing since the injury is she really guzzles down water. Is that normal? Maybe I just think it is more because she is not able to jump down and get it on her own all the time. Is there any exercises I can do to speed up the process?
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Re: Bladder and Bowel Control

Postby CarolC » Thu May 17, 2018 11:20 pm

OK, wow, if she was walking at 8 weeks, that is extremely good. You guys are really fortunate. I have always thought it is true that gaining strength and balance has something to do with the ability to toilet. If she is tensing up trying to stand or hold a position squatting, it must make it harder for her to relax and do her business. The other thing is, if her surgery was mid back, that tends to create tight sphincters, as opposed to a lower back injury which tends to cause more relaxed sphincters.

I don't know the answer on the water. It may be exactly as you say, it's just more obvious now. If she is or was on steroids, that can make the dog thirsty, but if she is off the medication, she should go back to her normal drinking habits.

It's true about the diaper, it won't hold in #2. Or rather, it shouldn't because she is a female dog and you do not want solid waste collecting inside a diaper where it could cause a urinary infection. Stool quality is important with a paralyzed or recovering dog. If she has soft stools, that could be a mess. I've had really good luck feeding Science Diet w/d dry kibble, as far as producing good stools for an incontinent dog, whether paralyzed or just senior. The stools are low odor and firm and not sticky. If my dog doodles in bed, I can pick it up with a kleenex, and she also stays clean.

There is one option for diapers, but it may be more fuss than you want to do. You could put a disposable diaper on her to collect urine, but cut a tail hole in it so the stools fall out. Over that you could put a diaper cover with a locking tail hole. That way if she doodles, the waste does stay inside the diaper cover and your bed is clean, but it is not contacting the urogenital area where she could get an infection. In the morning it will be easy enough to remove the diaper cover and throw away the disposable. This is another time when stool quality matters. If she has firm stools and drops one inside the diaper cover, it won't be a big mess. Here is an example of a diaper with a locking tail hole.

https://www.samsdoghut.com/ecommerce/ul ... wraps.html

I don't really know of any exercises, but time is on your side. Recovery from paralysis continues not for months but for years, and more than one person here has noticed that sometimes just the tiniest improvement can be all it takes for the dog to be able to do something he could not do before. All of her daily exercise and all of the general improvement in her state of health from good nutrition, etc., will help. If you live in a climate where the weather is getting warm, you might try taking her swimming when you have time. That helps with overall conditioning.
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