DEAR DR. FOX: We have two Boston terriers, Kash and Carrie. About a month ago, Carrie started leaving feces around the house. (The bits are small -- about 1 inch in size.)
We took Carrie to a vet who prescribed Prion and metronidazole. Neither of those medications helped her. The vet didn't know what was wrong with her. Her food (Purina Fit & Trim) didn't change. She is 8 years old.
Since the first vet couldn't help her, we made an appointment with another vet. He prescribed Previcox. That didn't help either. We switched vets again, and this one prescribed phenylpropanolamine. After 10 days, I called the vet and told him the medicine was not helping, so he said to stop the medication. After taking the medicine, she was constipated, so I am now giving her a tablespoon of pumpkin once a day.
Carrie always slept in bed with us, but she started pooping in the bed while sleeping under the covers. She goes outside first thing in the morning (6:30 a.m.). She walks every day for at least a mile. Weather permitting, she plays outside for 30 minutes. She is a very active dog.
She doesn't have any problems other than dropping feces, and sometimes I think she doesn't even know she is doing this.
I hope you can help her. She doesn't mean to go. As soon as she does, she leaves that area and doesn't come back until we dispose of the evidence. Please help! I don't know what else I can do. We love her so much, but cannot go on like this forever. -- J.R., Villa Ridge, Mo.
DEAR J.R.: Fecal incontinence is not uncommon in older dogs, but Carrie is not all that old, so I would not put her condition down to any age-related cognitive or neurological deterioration.
I find all the prescribed medications you listed questionable; the third one -- phenylpropanolamine -- is categorically absurd.
I would phase out feeding her the high-fiber dry dog food and instead give her three or four small meals daily of a low-fiber, grain-free dry dog food with equal parts organic canned food. Give her a sprinkling of digestive enzymes and some plain, raw, organic yogurt or kefir -- 1 tablespoon per meal -- as a source of probiotics.
Many of the manufactured weight-loss dog foods have high fiber content (such as peanut hulls and beet pulp). This means more fecal material is produced, possibly compounded by malabsorption of nutrients, so the poor dog is hungry, eats more and suffers painful bloat, contractions and constipation.
I trust that all the veterinarians you consulted ruled out any infection, impaction or cancer of her anal glands, which can impair sphincter control.
DEAR DR. FOX: I was very surprised at the harsh comments about Persian cats in your column, in which you referred to them as "freaks."
I have a 7-year-old male Persian. Yes, he has a flat face, a biggish head and his eyes weep from time to time, but, in spite of these so-called impediments, he is the sweetest, happiest, most contented and affectionate cat you could ever meet. I find this is often the case with this breed.
Let's be kind about these beautiful creatures that bring so much pleasure to their devoted fans here in the U.S. and around the world. -- S.L., Arlington, Va.
DEAR S.L.: Thanks for your contribution to my readers' discussion on this issue. I contended that Persian cats are freaks of human creation and suffer as a consequence. The same must be said about bulldogs, shar-peis and other breeds deliberately bred for extreme, abnormal physical traits. The selective breeding for dwarfed, hairless and extremely "refined" (long and thin bones and faces) feline varieties entails inbreeding and, as a consequence, more genetic abnormalities, disease and suffering.
I agree with you that we should love all creatures; for me, that four-letter word means respect and compassion. I see neither in the deliberate breeding and commercial propagation of animals with extreme traits such as pushed-in faces and abnormally large heads (which can force cesarean delivery), along with other abnormalities that can mean a life of suffering. For more details, see my book "Healing Animals and the Vision of One Health" (Amazon,com). Of course, if your cat lived in my home, he would be loved for who he is, which is quite separate from what humans have done to him.
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