to pass the stool is most commonly caused by
impaction or proctitis. Impaction was discussed in the last section.
Proctitis is the term applied to an inflammation of the mucous
membranes of the rectum. The outcome of proctitis depends on the
severity of the inflammatory process, but when it occurs in an
uncomplicated form—that is, where the pathology is confined to the
rectal mucosa—its termination is usually favorable. It is frequently
encountered in dogs, and though it is not often a serious condition it
should be handled only by the veterinarian.
Proctitis may be caused by various mechanical irritants, such as coarse
foods, bones, needles, and other foreign bodies. It may come about as a
result of the ingestion of irritant chemical substances. It may be one
of the manifestations of a heavy parasitic infestation, a bacterial
invasion, a rectal growth, or it may appear as a complicating symptom
of numerous infectious diseases involving the alimentary canal. It may
also be due to direct injury by improper digital mani¬pulation,
careless insertion of a thermometer, and so on.
The disease picture presents difficult and painful defecation, with
frequent attempts at voiding the stool. This effort may result in the
passage of small quantities of matter which often may be tinged with
blood. The rectal mucosa is swollen and inflamed, and digital
examination elicits a very painful response. The condition is diagnosed
on the basis of the symptoms and more rarely by direct examination of
the affected area with a rectal speculum.
The first step in treating proctitis is the removal of the cause. Then
a bland diet is fed, and sedative, soothing, antiseptic, and tonic
medications are administered either orally or directly into the rectum.