Dog Manual

Straining To Pass Stool

Excessive straining to pass the stool is most commonly caused by impaction or proctitis. Impaction was discussed in the last section. Proctitis is the term applied to an inflammation of the mucous membranes of the rectum. The outcome of proctitis depends on the severity of the inflammatory process, but when it occurs in an uncomplicated form—that is, where the pathology is confined to the rectal mucosa—its termination is usually favorable. It is frequently encountered in dogs, and though it is not often a serious condition it should be handled only by the veterinarian.

Proctitis may be caused by various mechanical irritants, such as coarse foods, bones, needles, and other foreign bodies. It may come about as a result of the ingestion of irritant chemical substances. It may be one of the manifestations of a heavy parasitic infestation, a bacterial invasion, a rectal growth, or it may appear as a complicating symptom of numerous infectious diseases involving the alimentary canal. It may also be due to direct injury by improper digital mani¬pulation, careless insertion of a thermometer, and so on.

The disease picture presents difficult and painful defecation, with frequent attempts at voiding the stool. This effort may result in the passage of small quantities of matter which often may be tinged with blood. The rectal mucosa is swollen and inflamed, and digital examination elicits a very painful response. The condition is diagnosed on the basis of the symptoms and more rarely by direct examination of the affected area with a rectal speculum.

The first step in treating proctitis is the removal of the cause. Then a bland diet is fed, and sedative, soothing, antiseptic, and tonic medications are administered either orally or directly into the rectum.