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Loss of Control of Bowel Movements (Fecal Incontinence) in dogs and cats

Fecal incontinence is defined as the involuntary passage of feces. The animal has lost its control of bowel movements. While fecal incontinence can occur at any age, older dogs and cats are affected more commonly.

Additional information

Inability to retain feces resulting in involuntary passage of fecal material. Fecal incontinence is characterized as defecation of normal stools without posturing.

Reservoir fecal incontinence develops when disease processes reduce the capacity or compliance of the rectum. Sphincter incontinence develops when the external anal sphincter is anatomically disrupted (i.e., nonneurogenic sphincter incontinence) or denervated (i.e., neurogenic sphincter incontinence). Neurogenic sphincter incontinence can be caused by pudendal nerve damage, sacral spinal cord disease, autonomic dysfunction, and generalized peripheral neuropathy or myopathy. Damage to or degeneration of the levator ani and coccygeus muscles can also contribute to fecal incontinence.

Systems Affected
  • Nervous
  • Gastrointestinal
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