Hematochezia in Dogs

Written By hannah hollinger
Published: 05/23/2017Updated: 12/22/2021
Veterinary reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS
Hematochezia in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Hematochezia?

Dogs get into and eat all sorts of things.  It can upset their gastrointestinal tract and lead to diarrhea or blood in the stool.  While the cause may be something simple such as slight irritation from eating some rich food, it can also be caused by something more severe like toxicity or tumors. Your veterinarian will want to examine your dog and perform diagnostic lab work in order to come to a proper diagnosis.  Once diagnosed, treatment can begin; it will vary depending on what the cause of your dog’s symptoms is.  Prognosis of recovery varies along with the cause.  If the hematochezia is caused by upset stomach or intestinal parasites, prognosis of recovery is good with treatment.  If the cause is a tumor, his prognosis is more guarded.

If there is blood in your dog’s stool it is known as hematochezia; this is not a normal finding in dog’s bowel movements.  If you see blood in your dog’s stool, it is recommended you have him evaluated by his veterinarian.

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Symptoms of Hematochezia in Dogs

By definition, hematochezia is bright red blood from the anus, with or without fecal material present.  Symptoms in addition to the blood may include:

  • Presence of rectal polyps
  • Loose stool with blood mixed in or on the surface
  • Formed stool with blood on the surface 
  • Discolored stool
  • Mucus (slime) in the stool
  • Straining when passing stool
  • Blood can be in streaks or droplets 
  • Intermittent finding or consistent


There are two different types of blood that can be found in the stool, hematochezia and melena.  Melena is seen as dark, tarry, black feces. This indicates bleeding high up in the intestines and the dark stool is the passing of old digested blood.  Hematochezia is bright red, fresh blood in the feces.  This indicates bleeding in the lower intestines such as the colon or rectum.

Causes of Hematochezia in Dogs

There are a variety of ailments that can cause hematochezia, most related to the gastrointestinal tract.  Inflammatory bowel disease is one of these illnesses that can have this as a symptom. Other illnesses with this as a symptom includes colonic neoplasia, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, colonic or rectal tumors, or erosions or ulcerations within the GI tract are just some diagnosis that can have hematochezia as a symptom to indicate larger problems.

Diagnosis of Hematochezia in Dogs

When you arrive at your veterinarian’s office, she will start with performing a physical exam and collecting a verbal history from you.  While the issue may be with your dog’s bowel movements, she will want to evaluate him entirely in order to check for a possible cause.  She will want to know when it started, it if has been progressing, if it is constant or intermittent, and similar questions.  

When it comes to trying to diagnose a cause, lab work and imaging will be performed for more information in regards to your dog’s condition. Blood work will consist of a complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel for basic information on how your dog’s internal organs are functioning.  It can also indicate if he is losing a lot of blood somewhere in his body.  Your veterinarian may also want to perform fecal diagnostic testing in order to rule out intestinal parasites that can cause blood to be present in the stool.  

Radiographs and abdominal ultrasound of the gastrointestinal tract are a good way to check for an abnormality that may be causing the blood in the stool.  The use of an endoscope for a view within the gastrointestinal tract can be extremely helpful in the diagnostic process.  It will allow your veterinarian to get a live view of the inside of your dog’s GI tract to check for polyps, perforation, or any other sort of abnormality that can be causing the blood.

The diagnostic lab work, imaging, and history of your dog’s condition should help the veterinarian come to her diagnosis.  If she is still unsure, there are additional, more specific tests she may suggest depending on your dog’s specific case.

Treatment of Hematochezia in Dogs

Treatment will be symptomatically in response to your dog’s symptoms.  If lab work and imaging are also performed, the results will indicate if additional therapies or surgery is needed.  Each dog’s condition is unique to him so there is no exact treatment.

Your veterinarian may begin small by simply changing your dog’s diet and prescribing a probiotic.  She will prescribe him a food that is very easy on the digestive tract and should lessen his discomfort.  The probiotic will ensure there are good bacteria in your dog’s GI tract and restore the natural balance.  If parasites are suspected, a dewormer will be administered.  There are other medications and supplements that can be prescribed to calm your dog’s digestive tract, decrease any inflammation, and offer him some relief.

If the cause involves the growth of polyps or tumors, your veterinarian may suggest surgical intervention depending on the severity.  This however, comes with its own risks so be sure to discuss this option thoroughly with your veterinarian.  

Finding and treating the cause is ideal in this situation.  If you do not pursue and treat the original cause of your dog’s hematochezia, you are only masking his symptoms.

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Recovery of Hematochezia in Dogs

Depending on the cause of the hematochezia, your dog’s prognosis will vary.  If it is symptoms from a small case of gastroenteritis or parasites, treated properly his prognosis is good.  If it is caused by something more severe such as a tumor, his prognosis is guarded.  The sooner you begin treatment for your dog’s condition, the better his chances of recovery.

Hematochezia can be symptomatic of a serious medical condition. To avoid high vet care expenses, secure pet health insurance today. The sooner you insure your pet, the more protection you’ll have from unexpected vet costs.

Hematochezia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals


Cocker Spaniel



4.5 months


0 found this helpful


0 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
Normal Poop With 2-3Drops Blood In The End
In the past two days, I noticed max 2-3 drops of blood in his poop... This happened thrice in past couple if days... He all fine... Playful.. Good appetite... Didn't change much to his food but I introduced boiled chickpea in very moderate quantity 2 days back - say, 15-20 in numbers... Taking him to get tomorrow...

Sept. 25, 2020

Answered by Dr. Michele K. DVM

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that all is well and he is feeling better. If he is still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 20, 2020

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Mix yorkie



Fifteen Years


10 found this helpful


10 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
Noisy Breathing, Bloating, Weakness
Bear has been bloated after he eats for about 2 weeks. I got a muffin tin for his feeding. It did slow him down and he was less bloated. He threw up once, then was able to rest the whole night. This am, I notice blood on the floor and it came from his booty. I am not sure what to do. Please help. What natural things I can use?

July 27, 2020

Answered by Dr. Michele K. DVM

10 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I'm not sure if there are an appropriate home remedies to help with what is happening with him, as he may have some intestinal problems. If this has been going on for 2 weeks, it seems it isn't a passing thing, and it isn't getting better. If you are seeing blood at his rectum, he should see a veterinarian. They will be able to examine him, see what might be going on, and get treatment for him. I hope that all goes well for him!

July 27, 2020

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