Hard bowel movements and how to help your pet in case of constipation?

Constipation (obstipation) means infrequent, difficult defecation, and you may also notice that the animal does not defecate at all for several days. This of course also depends on the animal's body and diet. If the animal has not defecated for one or two days, this does not necessarily indicate a problem, especially if the faeces are of normal size and the animal does not have to make much effort to defecate. However, if there are no faeces for more than two or three days and your pet is struggling but not making any effort, this is a sign of constipation and the faeces are hardening as they accumulate in the intestines, which will require even more effort to defecate.

Before helping the animal, it is also important to assess whether it has any other diseases that can cause constipation, which is often the cause of certain disorders, and obstipation is often confused with Colitis.


Constipation is most common in middle-aged to older animals. A common cause is dehydration - the animal does not drink enough fluids, which leads to hardening of the faeces in the intestines and constipation.

Ingestion of foreign bodies is not uncommon in dogs. Dogs chew and swallow wood particles, paper, grass, clothes, toys - all of which can cause gastrointestinal blockages. For long-haired dogs and cats, constipation can also be caused by the amount of hair in the intestine, so foods containing substances that remove hair from the intestine, including special preparations, are particularly useful. The indigestible particles of ingested items mix with the faeces and cause hardening, blockages and impassability, and do not pass through the intestines, so that the animal is unable to void.

Another reason for this in dogs is long periods between walks. The longer the faeces remain in the gut, the harder they become, so if the dog is tidy and is never inclined to do his business at home, it is likely that the constipation will lead to him having to exert more effort in defecating.

The most important thing is to check that the defecation process does not cause discomfort for your pet, that it is easy for your pet to pass, and that there are no signs of blood on the faeces.


Veterinarian Aurimas Kviklys advises on how pet owners can identify these problems and what measures can be taken to prevent them.

The most important thing is always to ensure that the animal drinks enough water. Dog owners who like to treat their pets should make sure that the bones to be gnawed on are not soft (especially chicken bones are not suitable), as bone splinters clog the intestines, and in some cases it is better to give special treats.

You can also take your pet for longer or more frequent walks.

Do you often have to treat animals that have swallowed foreign bodies, as it relates to constipation?

This is not a very common problem, in our practice it usually occurs in dogs that swallow bones, bone splinters become stuck, clogging up the digestive tract and intestines. Sometimes it is very difficult to see the fine bone particles when they get stuck in the oesophagus, near the stomach, which is extremely dangerous, because the sharp bone debris can puncture the trachea, draw blood into the lungs and the animal can suffocate.

Constipation is more common in older animals and is usually a chronic problem, usually related to the animal's diet, lack of physical activity, and previous illnesses.

Which products are suitable for relieving constipation?

Various capsules, enemas and special balanced foods are recommended.

What are the signs that an owner may suspect that the animal has ingested a foreign body and should be referred to a veterinarian?

The animal vomits heavily, tries to expectorate, has difficulty defecating, strains but fails to defecate, and drinks water but loses a lot of fluid during vomiting, making it weak and sluggish.

What measures does a veterinarian take in such cases?

The abdomen is usually palpable, but if the foreign body is large, the veterinarian will palpate it. Otherwise, an X-ray is taken, which in most cases is effective in showing the foreign body. However, there are some cases where the foreign body is not visible. In fact, in practice, there are cases where the equipment does not show a foreign body, so we have to perform surgery and find small, tiny particles stuck, usually in the large intestine.

Based on scientific literature and consultation with veterinary surgeons

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Diagnostic tests at Senamiesčio Veterinary Clinic

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K.Kalinausko g. 9, Vilnius, Tel.: +37069961265Map

A veterinarian's examination usually involves several steps. At the vet's clinic, the animal must be weighed and its eyes, ears, mouth and teeth checked. The vet uses a stethoscope to check the animal's lungs, heart function and abdominal sounds.

An important indicator of an animal's health is the condition of its gums. If the vet gently presses the gums and sees them swell slightly and soon fill up with pink again, if this happens quickly, the animal's circulation is normal and the heart is working well. White gums usually indicate health problems, shock or anaemia.

The vet palpates the abdominal organs - liver, kidneys, bladder - with his/her hands; an experienced doctor can palpate to detect enlargement of the organs. This method also detects enlarged lymph nodes.

Urine tests for dogs and cats

When diagnosing diseases of the urinary tract, bladder and kidneys, urine testing helps identify the origin and severity of the disease. The urine is slightly yellowish, clear, and must be free of blood, impurities and viscosity. In the case of disease, the colour, clarity and smell of the urine change. Although the smell of animal urine is strong, e.g. in cats, it should not be stronger than normal; in certain diseases, the smell of ammonia in the urine is very strong.

In the case of kidney abnormalities, the smell of ammonia can also be smelled from the animal's mouth, which requires very urgent help.

A urine test helps to determine the amount of glucose and protein in the urine, the urine's Ph medium and traces of blood. These indicators show abnormalities in urinary function and may indicate the consequences of trauma, infections, defects or diseases. High blood cell counts in the urine may also indicate internal bleeding.

Veterinary blood tests

A blood test shows the general condition of the animal's body. Even for a healthy animal, it is recommended to have a blood test at least once a year as a way to avoid serious illnesses and long and expensive treatment.

Blood is taken from a vein in animals. There are a number of key indicators in a blood test that help the vet to determine the health status of the animal and diagnose disease:

  • The total protein content. It shows an increase in inflammation, dehydration.
  • Albumin. Growth due to dehydration. The decrease amount of albumin in the blood may indicate internal bleeding, heart disease, liver pathology.
  • Blood urea increased the quantity shows the renal pathologies, rupture of the bladder.
  • Creatinine, a substance involved in the body's metabolic processes, is associated with kidney disease, muscle damage and bladder damage or rupture.
  • Blood glucose levels. An increase in glucose levels can indicate a diabetic condition as well as a stressful condition. Excessive glucose levels can also be associated with neurological diseases and malnutrition.

Veterinary bacteriological test

It is particularly important to establish a precise diagnosis of the type of bacteria or other micro-organism, which causes health problems, in order to apply an effective treatment. Bacteriological studies carried out in specific laboratories as well.

Based on scientific literature and consultation with veterinary surgeons


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Comprehensive blood, urine, bacteriological tests, express tests, veterinary surgery, prophylaxis (vaccinations, dental hygiene for dogs and cats), microchipping and EU passport and consultations! Mon-Fri 9 am-7 pm, Sat 9 am-6 pm, Sun NOON; K.Kalinausko g. 9, tel.: +370 699 61265

Pregnancy and childbirth in dogs. Signs, help, vet consultation

A dog's pregnancy lasts about two months, with an estimated gestation period of 63 days. Pregnancy starts at ovulation, the same as in humans. A dog's pregnancy consists of three trimesters of 21 days each. We will look at the main signs that will help to determine whether a female is pregnant and how an owner can monitor the pregnancy of their pet.

Very early signs in the first trimester are difficult to spot because they are almost imperceptible. The female may gain a little weight, but you will not always notice a slight weight gain without weighing the animal. At 3-4 weeks of pregnancy, she may look tired, eat less, and vomit - these signs are caused by hormonal changes. At this time you can reduce the food portions and feed more often, with smaller amounts of food, and make sure she has fresh water at all times.

When to visit a veterinary clinic? 

It is advisable to show the pregnant female to your veterinarian 2-3 weeks after mating. A veterinary consultation will help you to clarify any concerns you may have about your pet's pregnancy, giving birth, the possibility of arranging for prenatal care and assistance at any time of the day or night, choosing the right diet, and the use of food supplements. The vet may suggest certain tests if he/she sees a need during the consultation. The vet may also recommend a blood test to help determine the level of hormones in the blood, if the dog has parasites, and will advise on how to treat it.

During the examination, the vet can not only palpate the puppies by checking the abdomen, but also, from week 3 of pregnancy, perform an echoscopy to help determine more accurately whether the pet is expecting. An experienced veterinarian can palpate the abdomen and confirm pregnancy from week 4 onwards. The palpation should only be performed by an experienced vet and is not recommended for owners, as excessive pressure can cause harm to the puppies or the female. The uterus of a female dog is V-shaped and consists of two uterine horns where the embryos form. In the fourth week of pregnancy, puppies can be about the size of a walnut.

At the end of the second trimester, the female's abdomen and nipples enlarge significantly and the mammary glands begin to secrete some milk. During the last two weeks of pregnancy, you will notice and feel the puppies moving and growing by touching the tummy.

In the final weeks, it's a good idea to make arrangements with your vet in advance for any unforeseen births, especially if you expect the birth to take place on a public holiday. Get advice on how to handle and help your pet during labour if the birth will be at home and natural, easy, and how to care for puppies.

Puppy birth. Caesarean section 

Caesarean section surgery in female dogs is usually unplanned, and only performed in urgent and dangerous cases. However, some dog breeds are genetically predisposed to difficult births, so in French Bulldogs and Boxers, in some cases, veterinary surgeons recommend a Caesarean section when the due date is near. This decision is made after examining the dam, estimating how many puppies she will have and estimating the size of the puppies. In this case, the vets palpate the abdomen, check the birth canal and perform an echoscopy. The ultrasound also helps to predict how many puppies are in the uterus and their size.

Puppies born after a caesarean operation can start barking as soon as the female recovers from anaesthesia. When you take your pet home with the puppies after surgery, it is important to make sure that she does not move around too much, and to provide a warm, cosy place where she feels comfortable with the puppies.

Research and veterinary practice show that Caesarean section surgery is well tolerated by animals, with a low chance of complications and a fast recovery from the procedure. It also helps to save puppies that may suffocate in the event of a long and complicated delivery.

The most common cases of severe bitch labour in which vet surgeons perform an immediate caesarean section are:

  • the animal arrives at the clinic after a long period of groaning, but no puppies are born;
  • Long birth intervals, where one puppy is born and it takes a long time to get the next puppy;
  • Puppies get stuck in the birth canal (the vet sees this).

There are several important aspects for the owner of a cat recovering from a Caesarean section:

  • The owner should observe the incision site, the sutures, notice if the incision site is swollen and contact the operating vet if severe swelling is observed;
  • Ensuring that the pet drinks, eats, is active, cares for the puppies and is not apathetic;
  • Uterine discharge may appear for about two weeks in bitches that have given birth after a caesarean section, if you notice that the discharge persists for a longer period of time, consult your vet..

Your vet will give you a complete post-operative care plan that must be followed. The Senamiesčio Veterinary Clinic employs vet surgeons with many years of experience who advise owners on nutrition and care of their puppies, monitor pregnancies, assist in cases of childbirth, and perform professional Caesarean section operations. Our clinic is available for consultations for assistance during delivery at any time of the day or night and on public holidays.

Based on scientific literature and consultation with veterinary surgeons


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