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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 a part of his toy, it can also be caused by something more severe like polyps 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
  • Blood can be in streaks or droplets 
  • Intermittent finding or consistent

Types

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 to indicate an issue.  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 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.

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 Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Clark
Cockapoo
2 Years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

When should I go to vet? B. Dark red tarry stool after two days of loose stool but will take walks and play catch he will drink water

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1955 Recommendations
You should take Clark to see your Veterinarian sooner rather than later to determine the cause of the presence of blood; if the dark red blood in the stool looks more like raspberry jelly/jam it may be due to hemorrhagic gastroenteritis and should be seen by your Veterinarian immediately. Other causes may be infections, parasites, food intolerance, colitis, foreign objects, poisoning among other causes. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Thank you for your response. We did take CLARK they did diagnosis him with gastroenterocolitis.

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buttons
Lhasa Apso mix shitzu
11 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Lethargy,weak, not eating,not drink
Lethargy,weak, not eating,
Lethargy

my dog lhasa apso mix shitzu has frank blood in stool for 24 hrs, not eating ir drinking, lethargic, weak, wobbly hind legs, vomited once, now she is drinking small amounts of pedialyte. she had 5 small loose bloody stool past 24 hrs. I gave her toast beef 2days ago and she vomited that 24hrs later.

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
467 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Buttons needs to be seen by a veterinarian. Without examining her, I can't diagnose or treat what is going on with her, but she needs medical attention. Your veterinarian will be able to examine her, figure out what is wrong, and recommend any necessary testing or treatments. I hope that she is okay.

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Maggie
Mix
1 Year
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Blood In Stool

My 1 year 1 month dog has bit of blood in her stool. She eats normal and plays and drinks normal. Not sure what causing it.her stool is normal but with bright red blood.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1955 Recommendations
There are a few different causes for the presence of blood in the stool which may include straining to defecate, colitis, parasites, infections, poisoning, foreign objects among other causes; if Maggie is otherwise in good health you should keep an eye on her but if there is no improvement over the weekend you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination especially if the stool turns loose or you notice any other concerning symptom. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Ayden
Poodle x Shih-Tzu
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

My dog got his teeth clean and now he has blood in his stool and he is vomiting. He woke up out of his sleep and started doing all of this a day after he got his teeth clean this has never happen to him before.

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
467 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. If he is having these problems after his teeth were cleaned, he should be seen by your veterinarian. Anesthesia can be hard on some dogs, similar to people, and he may be having a bad reaction to the drugs used, and may need supportive care until he feels better. I hope that he is okay.

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Chloe
Lhasapoo
5 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

My 5 y/o Lhasapoo is having a slight blood on her loose stool .She’s still very active and her appetite still the same.She’s not yet spayed and she eat some humanness food as toppings (fish)

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
467 Recommendations
Thank you for contacting us about Chloe. I'm glad that she is doing well other than the loose stool. It would be a good idea to take her to your veterinarian and have her examined. They will probably want to run a fecal sample to make sure that she doesn't have any intestinal parasites and make sure that she is okay otherwise. Depending on what they find, they might give her some medication for the soft stool or prescribe a bland diet for her to be on temporarily.

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Leia
chihuahua mixed
1 year 2 months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

My dog has had blood in stool off and on since having her anal glands expressed. Yesterday she had diarrhea with bright red blood so we had a stool sample tested. The results came back negative for any parasites. She no longer has diarrhea but still has blood in her stool. Her appetite is otherwise good and she is still being active and playful. What could this be? Should I pay for an expensive blood test?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1955 Recommendations
There are various causes for blood in the stool which include anal gland disorders, parasites (ruled out), infections (viral mainly), tumours, foreign objects, poisoning among other causes. I would give Leia a few days to see if the blood continues or not, if the issue continues you should have your Veterinarian do an internal finger examination and possibly an x-ray to look for any masses; but your Veterinarian will guide you based on their findings. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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HERO
Golden Retriever
8 Months
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Blood In Stool

My 8 Months Golden Retriever has hematochezia, i guess this is because he eats different unwanted stuff from the streets sometimes, he littered blood instead of stool, we injected a bottle of glucose now what how should we do

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1955 Recommendations
Blood in the stool may be caused by a variety of different causes including foreign objects, tumours, anal gland disorders, poisoning among other causes; it is important to not allow him to eat rubbish from the street by supervising him when out or walking him on a lead. Hero will need a rectal examination to determine whether there is any issue internally that isn’t caused by external factors. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

I have seen him eating useless rubbish things from the streets, he does that many times, he sometimes even eat my clothes, he even once swallowed a sock(which came out later), how to control him.

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