Fecal incontinence and spinal cord abnormalities in seven dogs

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2005 Dec 15;227(12):1945-51, 1928. doi: 10.2460/javma.2005.227.1945.


Seven dogs with fecal incontinence and abnormal gaits were evaluated. Fecal incontinence was characterized as defecation of normal stools without posturing. Duration of clinical signs prior to evaluation ranged from 5 months to 3 years. Five dogs had upper motor neuron (UMN) paraparesis, and 2 dogs had UMN tetraparesis. With magnetic resonance imaging, spinal cord abnormalities primarily involving the dorsal aspect of the spinal cord were identified in all dogs. Five dogs had focal abnormalities, and 2 dogs had diffuse abnormalities of the spinal cord. Of the dogs with focal spinal cord lesions, 4 had cystic spinal cord abnormalities and 1 had a meningioma. Surgery was performed on all dogs with focal lesions; 4 of the 5 dogs had resolution of fecal incontinence after surgery. Results in these dogs suggest that fecal incontinence can be associated with spinal cord abnormalities and, depending on the characteristics of the lesion, can resolve after surgical treatment of the abnormality.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / diagnosis
  • Dog Diseases / etiology*
  • Dog Diseases / surgery
  • Dogs / abnormalities*
  • Dogs / surgery
  • Fecal Incontinence / diagnosis
  • Fecal Incontinence / etiology
  • Fecal Incontinence / surgery
  • Fecal Incontinence / veterinary*
  • Female
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / veterinary
  • Male
  • Paraparesis / diagnosis
  • Paraparesis / etiology
  • Paraparesis / surgery
  • Paraparesis / veterinary*
  • Spinal Cord / abnormalities*
  • Treatment Outcome