As a responsible pet parent, you know what your dog’s stool looks like. Seeing blood in your dog’s stool, also known as hematochezia or melena may come as a surprise. A dog’s stool should be firm, but not hard, and should not contain any blood.
Changes in your dog’s stool may indicate numerous health conditions. That said, it’s best to bring any changes to your veterinarian’s attention, so that a complete diagnosis can be made.
Blood that is present in your dog’s stool could mean a few things.
You’ll need to also examine your yard or garden to see how many bloody stools your dog has passed. Your veterinarian will do a full examination to check for hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, gastrointestinal ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, malabsorption, a bacterial disorder in your dog, and to rule out other serious conditions. If your dog is pooping blood, here’s what you should do:
Is Your Dog Pooping Blood? Blood in Dog Stool
With so many possible causes of blood in feces, you’ll need to examine and see whether your dog has diarrhea or if it’s normal in consistency. If your dog is pooping blood in his stool, you’ll need to bring a sample to your veterinarian. Black, tarry feces can also be a sign of intestinal bleeding or bleeding from the stomach.
Straining during bowel movements can also lead to inflammation of the rectum and anus, and blood in the stool. That said, sometimes your dog’s stool may be red from something he’s eaten that has red dye. Keep in mind that the problem could be a simple one like your dog eating food that’s too rich for him. If that’s the case, his stools will start firming up within 24-48 hours.
Problematic issues could relate to parasite infections, bacterial infections, colon cancer, and even hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. Make sure that your dog is current on all vaccinations. Check to see whether he’s playful, eating normally, and not vomiting. Changes in color, consistency, or the frequency of feces are a sign of digestive issues.
Hematochezia and Melena in Dogs
Hematochezia causes bright red blood, and results from bleeding in the lower digestive tract or colon. This is mostly associated with straining to pass feces. Causes may include colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, viral diarrheas, and cancer. Here’s what you should know:
Poop that has a single streak of bright red blood usually means a fluke. Your dog’s poop otherwise is normal in consistency. If there is a large amount of blood, this could mean a more serious problem resulting from a viral or bacterial infection.
Life-threatening conditions like parvo can be life-threatening with a dog’s condition deteriorating fast. It’s important to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible, because the death rate associated with this virus is reported to range from 16 to 48%.
This is dark stool that is sticky and tarry looking. It has a jelly consistency as a result of the blood being digested or swallowed, indicating an upper digestive tract issue. This comes from high- up in the digestive tract, and is digested as it passes along the gut. Your veterinarian will need to analyze a stool sample, since melena is very subtle. It’s not associated with straining to pass feces, and usually is the result of stomach ulcers, gastritis, and cancer.
Research on Probiotic Use for AHDS
A recent study on whether probiotics on dogs with acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome (AHDS) was effective added that “Acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome (AHDS) is a common complaint in dogs presented to primary care veterinarians. The etiology is not fully understood, but there is strong evidence that C. perfringens and its toxins play a role in the pathogenesis and are responsible for the intestinal lesions in most dogs diagnosed with AHDS,” via Plos One.
“The clinical picture of AHDS is characterized by acute onset of hemorrhagic diarrhea, lethargy, dehydration, and anorexia. Due to massive fluid loss, dogs with AHDS quickly develop hypovolemia, which can be potentially life threatening when untreated. Usually, a rapid clinical improvement under symptomatic treatment with aggressive fluid therapy, antiemetic therapy, analgetics, and gastrointestinal diet can be seen. Short-term prognosis is considered good after successful treatment of hypovolemia, while long-term consequences of the severe mucosal damage in dogs with AHDS are currently not known. Two individual studies have shown that treatment with antibiotics has no significant influence on mortality rate, duration of hospitalization, and clinical signs, and antibiotic treatment should be restricted to dogs with signs of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) or inadequate response to symptomatic therapy. Additionally, the use of antibiotic treatment can cause acute alterations in the intestinal microbiome and some bacterial taxa even remain altered for months after antibiotic treatment. Moreover, inappropriate use of antibiotics promotes the development of antimicrobial resistance, which poses a major problem in health care.”
The results of this study demonstrated that the use of probiotics is important and advantageous to dogs suffering from acute hemorrhagic diarrhea. “Both groups recovered quickly with a significant improvement on day 3 in the probiotic group and day 4 in placebo group compared to day of clinical presentation. Dogs receiving probiotic treatment also showed an accelerated normalization of Blautia, C. hiranonis, Faecalibacterium, and Turicibacter compared to dogs that were only treated symptomatically. Additionally, the abundance of C. perfringens encoding enterotoxin was significantly lower in dogs receiving probiotics.
This virus is transmitted by direct contact with infected dogs, and the virus by itself, is resistant to common disinfectants. There are several dog breeds that are predisposed to parvo, and these include the German Shepherd, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and American Pit Bull Terriers.
The virus can be transmitted through dirty surfaces, and stays in feces for as long as three weeks after infection. The production of the virus in the lower intestine results in bloody diarrhea with the normal intestinal bacteria entering the damaged tissue and bloodstream. This results in the worsening of the condition. Additionally, an infected dog may be contagious before he or she is symptomatic. Dogs recover with supportive care, yet the death rate is high.
Keep Your Dog’s GI Tract Healthy with Vet’s Preferred
A heathy gut fights off infection, and is more resistant to stress. That said, it’s important to feed a high-quality and nutritious dog food formula for the correct life stage. Older dogs and young puppies may benefit from Vets Preferred Advanced Milk RX Supplement. With no lactose, and easily digestible, it’s rich in immunoglobulins to support optimal gut health in pets. Additionally, it’s effective when taken during a course of antibiotics, when dogs are more prone to antibiotic related diarrhea. Adding canine probiotics is very effective in helping to support an upset stomach.
Dog Blood in Jelly-Like Stool? It Could Be Colitis
This is due to an inflammation of the large intestine or colon. Dogs with diarrhea or loose stools have large- bowel diarrhea that is linked to colitis which can be seen as frequent, semi-formed or as liquid poop. When dogs strain, small streaks of red blood are usually passed at the end of defecation.
Dogs will need to go potty often, and sometimes vomiting occurs together with diarrhea. Causes include stress, parasites, and illness. It can also occur if your dog consumes food that is contaminated, or is in contact with infected dogs. Being in a wet environment for long periods of time also triggers off colitis. Consult with your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis. Some reasons for colitis may include:
- Food intolerance
- Bacterial overgrowth
- Immune-mediated disease
- Cancer (not often)
- Intestinal parasites
As usual, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian if you find any signs of blood in your dog’s stool. Causes of bloody diarrhea are numerous, and may happen for the following reasons:
- Garbage gut
- Bowel cancer
- Severe food intolerance
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBM)
- Parasites like whipworm or hookworm
- Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
Mucus and Blood in My Dog’s Stool. How Does My Vet Know What Could Be Wrong?
Diagnosis will be based on your dog’s history and signs. Your veterinarian will do a fecal test or run blood tests. The fecal test is used to detect viral protein, and may be negative, even though there is an infection, if it’s taken too early. Some tests will need to be repeated to check for viruses. With inflammation, supplementation with fiber helps to improve diarrhea in dogs.
Additionally, large-intestinal diarrhea may need anti-inflammatory meds, and a change of diet. Short- term use of antidiarrheal meds is also used to reduce inflammation of the large intestine. That said, when dealing with cancers of the digestive system, x-rays and abdominal ultrasounds are used. Bleeding from a tumor is also found with a rectal examination. Surgery is usually the norm, with treatment.
When looking for gastrointestinal obstructions, intussusception is used, which may cause vomiting and diarrhea. Your veterinarian will examine the abdomen, and look for gas, bowel enlargement or bowel loops. Endoscopic examinations are necessary together with x-rays, which may show obstruction, masses, abdominal fluid, foreign objects or bloat. Dogs that suffer from IBM will need to gain weight via a change of diet, and to decrease inflammation. Changes in diet combined with medication can help with treatment. That said, your veterinarian will prescribe the right diet for your dog that is tailored to his needs, and to the severity of his condition.
Dog Blood in Stool: What Causes Bloody Stool in Dogs
Blood in dog stool can come from active bleeding (such as in parvovirus infection), inflammation (such as food intolerance or inflammatory bowel disease) or physical trauma (such as hookworms or whipworms.)
As an owner, you can help the veterinarian make a diagnosis by taking a photo of the bloody stool. They can gain a lot of clues as to what's happening, by seeing it for themselves.
5 Facts You Need to Know About Bloody Stool in Dogs
Ask yourself the following questions, as this gives the vet vital information for treatment.
- Fresh blood or digested blood? Examine your dog's poop as this helps the vet understand where in the GI tract the blood has come from.
- How often does the dog poop? Watch your dog toileting. Straining or increased frequency of toileting is again a useful clue.
- How long has there been blood in dog stool? Did the problem come on suddenly or has it been present for a while?
- Diet change?: Have you changed the dog's diet recently?
- Stress?: Is the dog prone to anxiety and has anything stressful happened recently (such as fireworks or a new baby in the house)?
Treating Blood in Dog Poop
Blood in dog poop is just a symptom. If the dog is sick, always see a vet. If the dog is well, watch them closely for deterioration.
In the first instance, take away food but make sure the dog has plenty of fresh water to drink. This is especially important if the dog has diarrhea as they will lose a lot of fluid.
Blood in Dog Stool Home Remedies: Why Home Remedies won't Work!
Blood in dog stool can be down to a simple reason (such as dietary indiscretion) or more complex ones. Whereas the former should settle down simply by resting the gut, the latter won't.
Home remedies may appear effective, but this is usually because the problem would resolve anyway. For those more complex or more serious conditions, home remedies can cause a delay in taking the dog to a veterinarian, which could be dangerous.
If Your Dog has Blood in Stool then don't Wait! Take them to the Vet!
It is better by far to have a wasted trip to the vet, than to ignore a potentially serious problem. If you see blood in dog stool, don't delay, get them seen by a vet.
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