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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Hematochezia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Pug

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Seven Weeks

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1 found helpful

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Blood In Stool

Ever since I picked him up from the breeder his stools are semi runny, light brown, and have a jelly like blood at the end. I have to wipe him every time he uses the bathroom almost. I picked him up from the breeder 2 days ago and am not sure what to do. He has an appointment at the vet wednesday but I don’t know what action to take before then

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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Hello If your puppy is having runny stool with blood, I recommend that you take him in to a veterinarian right away. He could have an infection like Parvo or intestinal parasites. Good luck.

Aug. 2, 2020

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Mix yorkie

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Fifteen Years

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Unknown severity

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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

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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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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Chihuahua

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7 months

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Just 2 Drops Blood

He pooped diarrhea twice and two little drops of blood. I gave him 2 rawhide bones yesterday

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. We worry in puppies about parasites, and infectious diseases like Parvo virus, and and intestinal upset. IF he is not vomiting and seems fine otherwise, you may be fine to feed him a bland diet of boiled white chicken and boiled white rice for 2-3 days and see if the diarrhea improves. If he is vomiting, lethargic, doesn't want to eat, or the diarrhea is not getting better, then it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian right away. I hope that all goes well for him!

July 24, 2020

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Amstaff/English staff terrier bulldog mix

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5 months

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Lethargy, Nauseas, Not Eating, Weak Dark Brownish Red Liquid Stool

My puppy is miserable and not eating throwing up and diarrhea with dark brownish red water for his stool. Very skinny and weak. Happened yesterday. Will drink Gatorade

July 21, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Puppies are very prone to parasites and to infectious diseases like parvovirus, as well as foreign bodies. Your puppy sounds quite ill, and the best thing to do would be to see a veterinarian right away. They will be able to perform a simple test, get a better idea of what might be causing these problems, and let you know what sort of treatment is needed. I hope that your puppy is okay.

July 21, 2020

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Maltipoo

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Four Years

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Unknown severity

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Lethargy Not Eating Not Drinking Restless Dripping Blood From Anus

My dog was not playful one day and laying down hurting when I touched his tummy. I too him to the emergency vet and they told me he was backed up so they gave him an enema. After picking him up he started bleeding from his rectum and was swollen and irritated. I took him back and the emergency vet told me it was HGE. He stayed over night, picked him up the next morning and he would not eat or drink and was very restless. No bowel movement just drips of blood coming from his anus. Could they have hurt him while giving him the enema because he had no bleeding prior to it.

July 15, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. If he had HGE, I suspect that was coming and they sped the process up. It would be difficult to cause harm with an enema, and HGE is a serious illness. If he is not feeling better, he may need further care - sometimes dogs need to be hospitalized for days for HGE, to recover. I hope that he feels better soon.

July 16, 2020

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Comet

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Shihpoo

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8 Months

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Vomiting Occasionally

My shih tzu has had a healthy diet, rice, chicken broth, fish etc. but has not been eating anything besides his non-vegetarian meals as of the last few weeks. His stool has been normal, he poops once a day, but all of a sudden today, his anus seemed scarred and his poop had pale, watery blood, and he is also leaving bloody droplets as he is walking around.

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Sunny

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Chihuahua

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7 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

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Bleeding

My chihuahua had an abscess gland on the right side of his anus. We went to the vet to get it expressed and to check his anal glands. The vet expressed it and said his anal glands are fine no infection or anything like that. He gave some medicine and said it would heal in 1 week. 1 week passed and he was still having complications. He started to poop diarrhea and had blood in his stool. We went to him again and he prescribed an antibiotic. 1 week passed it didn’t help. Then we went to a specialist to get a sonogram, colonoscopy, biopsy etc. results came out nothing wrong with him. Blood work was all fine but he was still having these problems. We went to 5 different doctors, spent $4000 total and they all say it’s just inflammation in his anus. No steroids or antibiotics or allergy medicine is working. He’s also experiencing redness going up the tail near his anus and some redness on his lower lip - looks like allergies. Atopica isn’t working. Nothing is working. How can blood work and all the tests show nothing wrong and inflammation isn’t going away? This has been ongoing for a month now. He’s only 7 and other then this he’s completely healthy. I don’t want to put him down over inflammation but his quality of life is no good as of now, please help!

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Luna

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Cocker Spaniel

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10 Weeks

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

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Bleeding In Stool

Our dog is exactly 10 weeks old, seems very happy but poops out slimy poo with bright red blood. Our dog likes eating leaves in the garden. Could this be a cause? We have visited the vets and they have given us "Panacur". She's been doing this since about the time we got her which was a week ago. We've sent a sample of her stool to a laboratory. Would this be hematochezia? She seems perfectly happy and even a bit too energetic! She has a great intake of water, when some descriptions say that dehydration is normal.

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Hero

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Japanese Spitz

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3 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

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Blood Poop

My puppy Hero 3 months and half has some blood stinge on his stool, but he is actually eating fine and playing as usual. Is this something serious? Should I bring him to the veterenary?

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Bandit

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Rottie Lab

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12 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Watery Diarrhea With Blood Droplets

My dog got into some lizard vitamins last night and has been pooping very water diarrhea, since. this evening we went out he went again same watery diarrhea but I noticed there was some blood droplets around the area in the snow. I'm worried he is my best friend through everything.

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