February 19, 2013

Dog Pooping Blood

As a long time dog owner and breeder, I can tell you that nothing is quite as scary as finding your dog pooping blood. I have raised Labrador retrievers, coon hounds, and beagles for over twenty years and the sight still causes a twinge of panic every time I see it. Luckily, finding blood in the dog’s stool is a fairly rare occurrence. The technical term for a dog pooping blood is Hematochezia. It is identified by bright red, fresh blood in the stool. Hematochezia usually occurs with bleeding in the colon or rectum. There is a good chance that something sharp, like a bit of bone scraped the lining of the intestines and caused it bleed. Sometimes the bleeding may last for a day or two, but it probably won’t last much longer. It’s important to remember that even small scrapes can cause a lot of bleeding. Hematochezia may be a symptom of either a minor problem or a more serious problem in your dog. Often times it can be traced to simple issues like a sudden change in diet, such as feeding a dog that is used to a diet of kibble a treat of steak or other meat. The colon easily irritates and bleeds if a sudden change in diet occurs. There are of course other possibilities that a dog owner needs to keep in mind in order to keep Fido happy and healthy. Parvo, Parasites, Dietary Indiscretions, HGE or Hemorrhagic gastro-enteritis, Rectal Injury, and Melena are all possible causes of your dog pooping blood.

Parvo is a serious disease often found in puppies. Dogs with Parvo will exhibit vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite and blood in stools. Since this disease is deadly, take your dog to be seen by the vet promptly.

Parasites are by far the most common cause of dogs pooping blood. The most common parasites that cause blood in the stool are hookworms, whipworms, and roundworms. Microorganisms such as coccidia may also cause bloody stools. It is always best to have a veterinarian identify and then prescribe specific de-wormers to help get rid of these annoying pests.

Dietary Indiscretions, such as over eating or dietary indiscretion may irritate a dog’s intestines, causing vomiting, diarrhea and bloody stools. Dogs must be switched to new foods gradually. If a diet change is done too sudden vomiting and diarrhea may take place. Other causes may be eating spoiled foods or food intolerance and allergies.

HGE or Hemorrhagic gastro-enteritis involves a lot of blood in the dogs poop along with vomiting and diarrhea. Quite often the cause cannot be found, but your dog may need intravenous fluids and proper medications in order to recover properly.

Rectal Injury can occur when dogs eat sticks or bones or anything that is sharp. These bits may eventually scrape a bit the lower intestinal lining or the rectum as they make their way out through the feces. Sometimes you can even find traces of these sharp items in the feces protruding out. In such cases the blood is bright red and will eventually stop. Avoid giving cooked bones and sticks to play with. Also check the rectal area for any rectal injuries especially involving the anal glands.

Make sure you don’t confuse Hematochezia with Melena. Melena is the passage of old, digested blood making the stools appear black and tarry. Melena can develop when bleeding occurs in the stomach or small intestines. It differs from Hematochezia in that the bleeding must be high in the intestinal tract in order for the blood to be digested and become discolored. While Melena can be caused by the dog eating blood or simply swallowing blood following a mouth injury, it may represent a severe, life-threatening illness, and should not be ignored. Make sure to see a vet if it continues.

The bottom line is this; if you see a dog pooping blood then you need to see a veterinarian.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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