Why Does My Dog Have Bright Red Blood in His Stool?
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Diarrhea is a relatively frequent disorder in dogs and can be due to multiple causes that require different treatments and care. However, if you observe blood in your dog's stool, it's understandable that you worry. Bloody diarrhea in dogs has different causes and treatment.
In this AnimalWised article we are going to explain why your dog is pooping bright red blood and what to do about it.
Causes of bloody diarrhea in dogs
Diarrhea consists of frequent evacuation of liquid stools. This can be due to different causes, so we must pay attention to other signs and have our veterinarian carry out various tests to reach the correct diagnosis. The presence of bright red blood can help determine the cause. Diarrhea can present itself in an acute (sudden) or chronic (maintained over time) way.
The most common causes of bloody diarrhea are the following:
- Hemorrhoids: this is the number one cause for bright red blood in stools. A hemorrhoid is a swollen blood vessel located at the edge of the anus. Dogs get hemorrhoids by straining to poop.
- Hematochezia: this type of bleeding occurs in the lowers digestive tract or colon and presents itself with bright red blood in a dog's stool. To learn more, read our article on hematochezia and melena in dogs.
- Parasites: due to the damage they cause to the digestive system, internal parasites can cause slight bleeding and diarrhea. They usually don't present any other symptoms. They can be observed under a microscope or even with the naked eye. There are specific products that combat them and to prevent then. Speak to your veterinarian to learn more.
- Enteritis: are intestinal inflammations that can also have various causes. One being the ingestion of a foreign food or object that upset the dog. If your dog has experienced this once, it shouldn't be a concern. However, if it continues or if your dog is pregnant or very young, take them to the vet as soon as you can.
- Viral or bacterial infections: diseases as serious as parvovirus or leptospirosis can cause bloody diarrhea. They are distinguished because they are accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, apathy or fever. They require rapid veterinary intervention and the administration of antibiotics chosen by the vet.
- Food intolerances or allergies: this can cause different symptoms including diarrhea. However, dermatological pathologies are more common.
- Poisonings or drugs: ingesting a poisonous substance or even certain medications can cause bloody diarrhea. If this is the case, bring your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you can.
- Constipation: lack of fiber in your dog's diet may cause them to have trouble pooping. This straining can lead to tiny, uncomfortable tears in their anal tissues, causing bright red blood in their stool.
If you notice a single streak of red blood in your dog's stool and the rest of their poop is normal, it should not be a problem. However if the bleeding is consistent or in large amounts, this indicates a more serious problem. This may include viral and bacterial infections, parvovirus, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis or possibly cancer.
Mucus in dog stool or with diarrhea
Mucus is a viscous substance made by the intestines to keep the lining of the colon lubricated and moist and is perfectly healthy. Dog's stool often has it. In fact, small amounts are often dead cells acting as a natural lubricant in the gut, helping prevent constipation. However, when mucus is accompanied by diarrhea, it's something that could warrant a trip to the vet. Also, if you see your dog overly straining, and nothing is coming out but mucus, this could mean something is wrong in the GI tract. You will need to take them to the veterinarian in this case too.
If your dog has excessive mucus in their stool, you can expect your veterinarian to recommend medication, probiotic supplements or a diet change. The diet change will often consist of more easily digest foods such as boiled white meat chicken with no skin or bones and white rice.
Bloody diarrhea in pregnant dogs
First of all, it's import to make sure that our pregnant dog indeed has diarrhea. If it is liquid or mucus coming from her uterus, this indicates a different problem and may affect her pregnancy. If this is the case, it's crucial you bring her to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
If you are certain that your pregnant dog has bloody diarrhea, you mustn't worry yet. Observe their symptoms. If the bloody stools are repeated during the day or a couple of days, or if you also see them experiencing other symptoms such as vomiting, apathy, fever or dehydration, you must bring them to the veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
They will do this by observing a stool sample under a microscope and by having blood tests, radiographs or even endoscopies done. This will depend on the present symptoms. It's especially tricky to treat pregnant dogs because of the side effects that medications can have on her babies.
This is why the veterinarian has to be extra careful when assessing the advantages and disadvantages that the possible medications will have for her and her babies. This will also vary depending on what stage of her pregnancy your dog is in. You should never self-medicate your dog as this can cause abortion or malfunctions in her pregnancy. Always consult a veterinarian.
What should I do if my dog poops blood?
Once you have observed the bright red color of the blood in your dog's stool, you should try to observe if they are experiencing any other symptoms. Then, call your veterinarian and explain exactly what's happening. Giving them details will help them properly diagnose your dog and wisely choose a treatment. They will perform certain tests to make sure they know the exact cause. This may include observing a stool sample under a microscope and by having blood tests, radiographs or even endoscopies.
How to treat bloody diarrhea in dogs
To treat bloody diarrhea in dogs, we must know the exact cause. This is because the treatment will vary depending on the cause. For example, if they have hemorrhoids, some vets will recommend home remedies, whilst others may recommend over-the-counter steroid creams. Whereas, if your dog has minor conditions of hematochezia, your vet may recommend dietary changes, probiotics, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, or laxatives. If parasites are the cause, your veterinarian will prescribe medications to deworm your dog and discuss how to safely clean up their environment to prevent reinfection.
For more serious causes, such as viral infection like parvovirus, this can be life threatening and often require hospitalization, intravenous fluids, antibiotics and additional medications to control the pain and vomiting. For other serious causes, such as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis or cancer, your vet will carry out various examinations on your dog to find the best treatment for them.
How to prevent diarrhea in dogs
You can prevent future diarrhea problems by following these recommendations:
- Deworming: following the deworming schedule set by the veterinarian is very important to maintain a healthy dog. If your dog will be a mother, speak to veterinarian about it as the deworming schedule will change due to her pregnancy.
- Feeding: a stable and balanced diet important in helping a dog have healthy bowel movements. Keep in mind that a dog's diet may change, depending on their health, allergies or if your dog is pregnant. Learn more on our article What to feed a pregnant dog.
- Safety: it is very important to maintain a safe environment so that our dog does not have access to any toxic substances. These precautions must also be taken when we take them out for walks. Make sure they do not ingest anything that may cause them harm.
- Vaccinations: it is very important to respect the vaccination schedule since there are some diseases, such as the much-feared parvovirus, which have no cure but can be prevented by administering the vaccine. Before allowing a dog to get pregnant we must make sure that she is properly vaccinated.
- Medications: never self-medicate your dogs. If you see any abnormalities, bring them to the veterinarian as soon as you can. This way they will a receive a proper diagnosis and treatment.
In conclusion, bloody diarrhea in dogs isn't always a serious matter, but it can be. This is why it's important to be observant and bring them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. If you've found this article useful, you may also be interested in:
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
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