We ended 2013 with a ‘first’ for Zoey: constipation. It goes without saying that I have a rather intimate knowledge of her bowel movements so I knew that, after a few days of no poop, we had problems. I took her with me to work on New Year’s Eve and discovered, after a rather invasive rectal exam, that she was quite backed-up. Zoey endured the day like a champ and survived two enemas and 100 mL subcutaneous fluids – a conservative treatment plan for which I was grateful. By the time we got home, she was ravenous – after days of minimal eating – and devoured half a can of canned C/D. I crossed my fingers and hoped it was some random fluke.
Fluke it was not.
For the past couple of weeks, Zoey has been eating and drinking just fine. I’ve been adding Laxatone to her food more regularly which she seemed to like – at first. Then, suddenly, about two days ago, her eating slowed down and it occurred to me that she hadn’t pooped in a day or so. I went to work this morning thinking that maybe I was paranoid. Then I started talking with our doctor and one of the technicians. They both thought I should run home and get her. Thankfully, I did. This time around we had to get a little more aggressive with our approach because I (we) feared the worst. Megacolon. The doctor proceeded first with a rectal exam upon which she removed three rather large, hard fecal balls. Then, we went on to x-ray to get a clear picture of what was happening inside my littlest baby. Not surprisingly, Zoey was quite literally full of poop. Her colon and intestine(s) were clearly full of several large masses of formed fecal matter. Her colon appeared to have some gas around one of the larger masses and was a bit dilated but not totally “scary” (my word) – meaning that the doctor didn’t feel like we had an obvious case of megacolon.
Enter slight sigh of relief.
We went on to administer two enemas (spaced about 2 hours apart) and 100 mL of subcutaneous fluids. Zoey passed another very large, hard, formed piece of stool and immediately seemed more comfortable. The fluids were definitely a nice way to keep her hydrated throughout the stressful day and she rested most of the afternoon in her comfy bed inside the kennel in our treatment area. After our last patient of the day went home, we took another x-ray and could see that her colon had relaxed significantly and that the largest masses of stool had passed.
I breathed another small sigh of relief.
The doctor and I discussed next steps and she ordered up a bottle of Lactulose – a liquid stool softener that I can administer to Zoey orally with a syringe since I can’t rely on her to always eat her “medicine.” I brought my baby home and she quickly ate some wet food and, as of a couple of hours ago, even passed two more hard, formed pieces of stool. (Hooray!) I will administer Lactulose 2-3 times per day for the next couple of weeks and see how things go. The plan is to follow-up in two weeks with another round of x-rays and (fingers tightly crossed) hopefully rule-out megacolon.
I also plan on exploring holistic/integrative veterinary treatment protocols and calling Hill’s to find out what – if any – changes were made to their C/D diet. It’s hard not to consider the possibility that this could be related to a change in their formulary…especially considering I have been feeding from a new case of canned food for the past few weeks when all of this has – very suddenly – become a problem. I have to at least explore the possibility.
To be continued…and hoping for the best. Zoey has endured more than her fair share, don’t you think?!