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Etymology: Gk, spasmos, spasm; L, constipare, to crowd together
a form of constipation associated with neurasthenia and constrictive spasms in part of the intestine. The condition may be a sign of lead poisoning.
Constipation due to excessive tonicity of the intestinal wall, esp. the colon.
See also: constipation
a condition in which the alimentary transit time is prolonged in view of the amount and type of food being ingested in the preceding day or two. This means usually that the feces are hard, dry and of small bulk and are passed less frequently than expected. They may also be difficult to pass and this may cause some straining; on rectal examination the rectum will be full of hard, dry feces. In some cases a small amount of very thin, soupy feces will be passed even though there is a sizable mass in the rectum; this is soft contents being passed around an impacted fecal mass, and obstipation is said to be present.
caused by ingestion of large amounts of foreign material such as bones, hair or fiber that mixes with feces to form hard, dry masses which are difficult or impossible to pass.
may result from treatment with antimotility drugs.
may accompany some disorders of endocrine glands causing reduced gastrointestinal motility, e.g. hypothyroidism and hypercalcemia of hyperparathyroidism.
conditions of management, particularly in dogs and cats, that inhibit freedom for defecation or present unsuitable conditions, such as soiled litter trays or restriction of a house-trained animal to a cage, may cause retention of feces with eventual drying and increased size of the fecal mass.
disorders of innervation to the colon or hindquarters may cause an atonic colon or prevent an animal from assuming normal posture for defecation, thereby inhibiting the desire to defecate. This is seen particularly in painful intervertebral disk lesions or musculoskeletal injuries or lesions.
any impediment to the passage of feces, either within the colon, rectum or anus, or from compression by surrounding tissues can cause drying and enlargement of the fecal mass.
see irritable colon syndrome.