Normal Bowel Patterns After Surgery
If you have a pet that has recently had surgery, you have probably pondered the same question that a lot of pet owners have contemplated: “When will my pet poop again?” Or, “Why hasn’t my pet pooped after having surgery?” Understanding the normal changes that take place for a recent patient can help guide a pet owner to know which symptoms are normal, and which could be cause for concern.
Here, we will take a look at the bowel patterns of a pet who has received surgery as well as some natural and effective ways to stimulate a bowel movement and encourage normal body functioning.
How long does it usually take for a bowel movement?
After a procedure, a bowel movement can take anywhere from 3-5 days! Although that may seem like a long time for a furbaby that normally poops daily- this is actually a normal reaction to a surgical procedure. When a pet undergoes surgery, bowel motility is slowed down by the anesthetics and opioids that are used. These tend to have a constipating effect and can prolong the body’s normal bowel functions.
What can be done to help?
Food and Water. It is important to make sure that your pet continues to eat and drink once it is home. Normal water and food intake can contribute to proper bowel movements. The food itself provides the actual content that helps the stool to move through the body. Drinking allows for an increase in water content which leads to more fluid leaking into the stools. This causes them to become softer for a more comfortable bowel movement.
Canned Pumpkin. If there still hasn’t been a bowel movement by day 3, you can administer small amounts of canned pumpkin throughout the day. Pumpkin is high in fiber and can encourage water to enter the stool. This makes for bulkier and softer stool which encourages peristalsis (the movement of content through the intestines.) Aim for 1 teaspoon-2 tablespoons a couple times per day, dependent on the pet’s size.
When to be concerned.
If you notice that your pet still hasn’t had a bowel movement by day 5, or your pet is straining to defecate, has diarrhea or bloody stools- call our office or your primary care veterinarian for further recommendations.
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