Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs: How Worried Should You Be?
Seeing blood anywhere near your dog is not a comfortable feeling, especially if it comes out of his body. Discover what to do if your dog starts having bloody diarrhea. Blood will alarm you for sure, but how worried you should be? Read on to discover.
Bloody diarrhea is never something that should be taken easily. Furthermore, this is both uncomfortable for the dog and the owner. Suffering from this condition can put your dog in massive pain.
In most cases, bloody diarrhea is a sign of an underlying cause. Long story short, bloody diarrhea is not a normal part of feces, so it is something that you should understand better, take seriously, and act properly.
Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs
Blood belongs in blood vessels, so when you notice it anywhere around your pet, you should be worried – and with good reason. Blood in dog stool is a symptom of a wide range of mild and severe conditions, some being more or less serious than others.
The very first thing that you should do if you notice any trail of blood in your dog’s stool is to call your veterinarian. This should be your first step regardless of your dog having a loose (like diarrhea) or forming a stool. Since the dogs can’t speak human and tell us what’s wrong, their body will do that for them and show us what’s the problem. So, finding blood in dogs stool is alarming, and a clear sign that something hurts your canine.
Your veterinarian will ask you to describe your dog’s stool. This is a good way for your veterinarian to know what might you be facing and if you should give some medicine to your pooch immediately. That being said there are two types: hematochezia and melena.
1. Hematochezia In Dogs
Hematochezia is another name for bright red blood. Although it seems worrying, it’s actually not a sign of a life-threatening illness. If you notice a single streak of red blood in your dog’s stool, while the rest of the poop is normal, it just might be a fluke. Still, you should call your veterinarian.
Possible causes of melena in dogs include:
- Parasites, such as hookworms
- Anal sac infections or impactions
- Inflammatory bowel disease
On the other hand, this can be a sign of severe conditions that actually can cause bloody diarrhea or bloody stool including parvovirus, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, and even cancer. To diagnose any of these conditions, a veterinarian may perform a series of diagnostic tests (blood work or fecal examination) to help determine the cause of the bleeding.
Quick tip: But if you know for sure that your dog has been exposed to parvovirus, call ahead before you bring him into the emergency room, so they can prepare the room in a way to limit the spread of infection.
2. Melena In Dogs
Melena in dogs is seen as a dark sticky stool, almost jelly-like. If this is the case, you should know that this blood has been digested or even swallowed, meaning that your dog has a problem in the upper digestive tract. You are not sure whether your dog’s stool contains any blood trace? Use a paper towel and wipe it to see if the color is reddish.
Melena in dogs is always more difficult to notice than bright red blood. Also, some dogs have naturally darker stool than others, depending on various factors, including the dog’s diet. Therefore, if you think that your dog’s stool is darker than usual, contact your veterinarian.
Possible causes of melena in dogs include:
- Inflammatory disorders
- Hormonal imbalances
- Exposure to toxins
Of course, your dog may show other symptoms as well, if he is suffering from one of these conditions. Weakness, vomiting, appetite loss, diarrhea, blood in the urine and even difficulty breathing can all mean serious conditions that simply call for immediate veterinary intervention.
Also, if your dog shows any of these signs when you first introduce a medicine to him, make sure that you contact your veterinarian and inform him about the situation.
Diagnosing Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs
Bloody diarrhea is primarily identified by inspecting the stool. Of course, its the easiest to spot the bright red blood in the stool. On the other hand, its the most challenging seeing blood in the dark stool, it’s simply less apparent. If very small blood is suspected, your veterinarian will primarily perform a test called a ‘fecal occult blood test’ that says whether or not blood is detected in the feces.
When it comes to diagnosing the underlying cause of a dog’s bloody diarrhea, the examination will be slightly heavier. Your veterinarian will need a dog’s complete health history and physical examination. To set the proper diagnose, you veterinarian might perform:
- X-rays: to check for anythign unusual in the digestive tract and in the abdomen.
- Ultrasound: to show organs and see their condition. Ultrasound is a great and non-painful way to evaluate soft tissue organs and evaluate fluid-filled organs. This was, your veterinarian will see the dog’s kidney, liver, spleen, testicles, prostate, heart, ovaries/uterus, and so on.
- Tissue biopsies: to show if your dog is cancer-free or not. In most cases, veterinarains can do biopsy in their office.
- Blood work: to show a complete blood count. This is a great way to show the dog’s status on anemia, blood clotting, infection, and overall dog’s hydration status.
- Urine analysis: to show chemical and physical properties of urine. This test is mainly used to assess the health of the kidneys and urinary system. This test can also discover problems in other organ systems.
Questions Your Veterinarian Might Ask
As soon as you come to the veterinarian’s office you can expect some questions. By asking you these questions you veterinarian will understand the problem better and find the real issues.
- When did you notice the blood in dogs stool for the first time?
- Has this happened before?
- If yes, for how long?
- Does your dog roam free?
- If yes, how often and where?
- Is your dog lethargic?
- Is your dog vomiting?
- Is your dog drinking water and eating normally?
- Do you suspect that your dog ate something that he shouldn’t?
What About Treatments
Just like any other condition, treatment will depend on the cause of bloody diarrhea. If your dog has a foreign body or cancer, surgical intervention will be mandatory. On the other hand, if your dog suffers from treat diseases or parasites, you can expect to treat your dog every day with medications, to alleviate symptoms and provide much-needed support. If your dog is dehydrated or anemic, he will need blood products and enough fluids.
You should know that this is a condition that demands your care. Therefore, think about living and managing your dog’s life quality while he is on treatments.
The first thing that you could do to improve your dog’s life quality os to maintain proper nutrition and improve it toward his new condition as much as possible.
Secondly, you should provide healing time and follow the veterinarian’s advice on water and food. Monitor your dog’s behavior in the first seven days or more if needed. Then, provide a bland diet for a period of three to seven days, followed by a return to the dog’s normal diet. In needed, your veterinarian will advise you for any special diet.
Can You Prevent Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs
Some diseases are more preventable than others. So, when it comes to preventing bloody diarrhea in your dog, you can’t do too much. Therefore, the best way to prevent a dog from developing bloody diarrhea is to make slow food transitions, keep toxins and foreign objects away from his reach and monitor his stress level.
Make sure that you provide appropriate food, use intestinal parasites. From the scientific side, some veterinarians have emphasized the importance of restoring intestinal microflora through food additives to prevent the infection from recurring. A good way to prevent anything in dogs is to have regular check-ups with a veterinarian.
Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs – Conclusion
Blood in your dog’s stool may appear for numerous reasons and you should address this problem properly. Blood should only be in blood vessels and if seen anywhere else it’s a call for help. This is a concerning condition and you should contact your veterinarian as soon as you notice blood marks. This is a 100% certain way to help your dog.
Frequently Asked Question On – Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs
1. How Do You Treat Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs?
This depends on the reason for blood in diarrhea. If the blood is a result of eating garbage or something else that could upset his stomach, your veterinarian may recommend medication and a special diet for a period of a few days.
On the other hand, if your dog has parasites, your veterinarian might prescribe simple medications to deworm your dog and explain your future steps on how to safely keep your dog clean from parasites.
2. What Can Cause Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs?
Many conditions can cause the appearance of blood in the stool. Some of them are parvovirus, bacterial and viral infections, and possibly cancer.
3. Is Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs An Emergency?
There is no just one type of diarrhea. Therefore, there is no single cause for this appearance. Simply said, yes. Bloody diarrhea in dogs is an emergency and you should contact your veterinarian as soon as you notice any trace of blood.
4. Why Would A Dog Have Bloody Diarrhea?
There are many reasons why your dog may start having bloody diarrhea. The most common reason is often due to foodborne illness. This can be a sign of potentially fatal disease, so contact your veterinarian immediately.
5. Why Is My Puppy’s Poop Runny And Bloody?
This is usually a sign of parasites. However, you will need to take your dog to the veterinarian’s office for a fatal analysis. The other most common reason for bloody diarrhea is hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, usually followed by diarrhea and vomiting. This condition can cause large amounts of blood in stools.