Dealing with fecal incontinence in an older female OES


I haven't posted here in years but I was hoping someone would have some expertise/advice. Our only remaining sheepdog is Sophie, who is 12.5. Overall, her health is pretty good but this summer she had recurrent bouts of diarrhea which took a while and a lot of various antibiotics to clear. She's on a pro-biotic and her diet has not changed. The only change in the family has been that her litter mate, Sherman had to be PTS this spring, which was sad.

Anyway, after the diarrhea cleared up, she began having fecal incontinence: not diarrhea, but leaving smears and then small bits of poo all over. Sometimes not so small. A visit to the vet offered no real solutions although they did decide her anal glands were infected and expressed them. This did not clear up the fecal incontinence although there is no more of that vile smell that had developed. She sometimes has bits of fresh blood on her stool, from irritation. We have kept her rear clipped down pretty well (year round puppy cut for the rest of her), and can visibly see that her rectum is frequently distended with poop. This has been an ongoing and increasingly difficult issue to deal with. In fact, we cannot board her if we need to go away, and we cannot ask anyone to keep her for us for an overnight. And it has gotten so that I am no longer comfortable having anyone come into the house at all, for any reason because who knows what we might find and where. And there is always something.

She gets 4 walks or more a day and having recently retired, I am home to take her out at will. That's not an issue. No diarrhea nor constipation. Prior the earlier diarrhea, she's almost always had extremely firm poops.

At this point, we really need to find a long term solution. As I mentioned, she's otherwise in very good health. An earlier vet visit/x-rays determined that she only has a tiny bit of arthritis in her back but not enough to cause any real concern. She's not good on our stairs and usually stays downstairs for the night, her choice. But recently, with the cooler weather, she has spontaneously decided to come upstairs with us and has done well, showing no hesitation or pain. She's not as fast as she was a few years ago, but it's not painful to watch.

Any suggestions for dealing with this? Are there incontinence products that would help and not get her coat all matted with feces? We don't have any good place to bathe her and in Minnesota winters, an outside shower is not practical. Winter is coming.

We love Sophie very much and want to do our best for her. We'd prefer not to have our home destroyed if possible.

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I had the same problem with my male, Oliver, a few years ago. He had arthritis and didn't come upstairs anymore, also his choice and pretty much had problems getting up. I used 'pullups' and even had regular underwear that I put pads in. Both methods worked well. I used Huggies Baby Wipes to keep his butt clean and prevent irritation. Many things you mentioned rang true with my boy. I never wanted him to feel bad and constantly told him he was a good boy. I guess being older, I understand aging challenges in myself and therefor in my pets. And as we both understand, what we do for our pets is done out of love. I lost my boy 2 years ago. But these are some things I tried and also improvised other methods for other things that cropped up. Hope this information is helpful. Everything we do for our pets is done out of LOVE, :hearts: I also live in Minnesota :)
Thank you so much for the reply.

What size pull ups did you use?

Did you find that his coat got....messy with poop? Were you able to keep his skin clean or clean enough to prevent infections? We're getting a bit desperate.
I THINK it was the larger size in the pull ups. It was trial and error because of him being a boy. I also used older underwear and inserted a pad and clipped them at the top in back so they wouldn't slide off. I always have kept my sheepies short around the anus area so I was able to keep him clean with the Wet Ones and on occasion, wash with warm water and a gentle soap. Always telling him he was a good boy and ' let's rub a dub' your buns. I hope this helps.
Thanks. I’ve done a bit of trial and error and am currently trying adult medium delends. For overnight, we covered those with boys underwear. Worked well for overnight and we are in the first day of daytime use. She’s not my wild about it but so far, it’s working. I was really pleased that her oat was not messy. She’s in puppy cut but I’ve trimmed her down quite a bit on her back end, especially around her rectum. Crossing fingers. Many many many thanks for your kind help.
Anytime. It's harder with a older dog and I absolutely love them. I made other modifications for him as was needed. And I will do the same for my girl when needed. :hearts:
We used pullups too and just got in the habit of taking a peek in there whenever we walked by her. Baby wipes, bought in bulk at Costco, became a necessity. I miss wiping that fuzzy bum so much.
Have been very lucky with my 3 previous oes's as not had that problem with any of them-one did have a "water works" issue for a while so used men's incontinouse pants. xx
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