Rectal Polyps in Dogs

Written By hannah hollinger
Published: 03/25/2017Updated: 01/14/2022
Veterinary reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS
Rectal Polyps in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What are Rectal Polyps?

Polyps are growths that have a stem and a round top; they have a mushroom like appearance. Rectal polyps are usually benign but over time can become malignant (cancerous). Polyps that become malignant are often adenocarcinomas. Rectal polyps in dogs can be small or large in size.  If your dog is showing signs of rectal polyps, he should be seen by a veterinarian.

Rectal polyps are abnormal tissue growth on the mucous membrane of the rectum. Rectal polyps can be found in the last section of the digestive tract and may protrude from the anus.

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Symptoms of Rectal Polyps in Dogs

Symptoms may include:

  • Hematochezia – The presence of bright red blood in the feces.
  • Straining when defecating
  • Itchy anus
  • Scooting on the floor
  • Feces may have mucus or blood in it
  • Dog whimpers/cries while defecating

Causes of Rectal Polyps in Dogs

There is no a set cause for rectal polyps in dogs.  The condition does occur more often in middle age and senior dogs.  Some researchers believe that there may be a genetic predisposition to rectal polyps in some dogs.

Diagnosis of Rectal Polyps in Dogs

The veterinarian will want to go over the medical history of the dog.  If your pet has been seen by another veterinarian, it is recommended that you bring his medical files.  The veterinarian will want to make sure that the patient is up to date with his vaccinations.  The doctor will want to know what symptoms you have observed and when did they begin.

The patient will then have a physical exam.  If the dog is overly stressed and/or scared, the veterinarian may suggest using a muzzle.  The dog’s weight, temperature, pulse and blood pressure will be taken.  The veterinarian will then perform a manual rectal exam.  Sometimes the polyps are visible through the external anal opening. The doctor may also recommend taking a fecal exam to rule out parasites (roundworm, hookworms). 

If rectal polyps are identified the veterinarian may suggest scheduling an appointment for your pet to have a colonoscopy.  A colonoscopy is a diagnostic test, which inserts a flexible tube with a camera into the patient’s rectum.  This procedure aids to visualize the inner lining of the rectum and colon. During this procedure the technician will also be able to take biopsy samples of the polyps. The biopsies are then sent to a diagnostic pathology laboratory. The results of the biopsy will determine if the polyps are benign or malignant.  

The day before the colonoscopy procedure the pet will not be allowed to eat and will need to have an enema.  General anesthesia will be administered before the colonoscopy is performed.

Treatment of Rectal Polyps in Dogs

The treatment for rectal polyps is usually surgery to remove the polyps. The veterinarian may recommend having the patient take antibiotics before the surgery to prevent infection.  The patient will have bloodwork and a urinalysis before the surgical procedure is scheduled.  The diagnostic tests will help ensure that he is strong and in good health to undergo surgery. 

The day before the surgery the patient will need to be fasting.  You may have to drop your pet hours before the surgery is scheduled.  This is because the veterinarian team must have time to prepare your pet for surgery.  Patients are given a physical exam prior to surgery, anesthesia doses must be calculated and an intravenous IV must be started to administer fluids and medications.

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Recovery of Rectal Polyps in Dogs

The veterinary surgeon will provide you with post-operative instructions.  The patient will be prescribed anti-inflammatories and pain relief medications. It will be necessary that your pet wears a cone; so that he does not lick at the incision. The patient may have limited exercise and must have supervision at all times.  It is important that he gets his rest and is not jumping or running.

The veterinarian may recommend applying cold compresses on the incision area.  This may help with pain and inflammation.  Please be aware that your dog may not have a regular bowel movement for a few days after surgery.  The reasons may be because he was fasting prior to the surgery and as anaesthesia and  pain medications can cause constipation.  If your dog does not defecate by 4 days after the surgery, please call the veterinarian.  He might recommend a stool softener for the patient.

Follow-up visits will be necessary to ensure that the incision is healing properly. Usually patients are seen 14 days after surgery and then again 3 months after that.  Patients that undergo a rectal polyp surgery have a good recovery prognosis. Single polyps usually will not reoccur. Canines that had multiple polyps removed may experience the reoccurrence of the polyps.

Rectal Polyps Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals


German Shepherd mix



Seven Years


25 found this helpful


25 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
My dog has been having problems defecting I took two vets already and they said that is his food but already change his food and he keeps having problems know the problems is getting worse around his anal en inside I don’t know what’s wrong

Feb. 9, 2021

Answered by Dr. Maureen M. DVM

25 Recommendations

Hi, Sorry about that. That sounds like constipation. Constipation can occur when there little fibre in the diet. We normally advocate one adds a teaspoon of liquid paraffin in the food to lubricate the bowels which eases passage of stool. Dry food (kibble) is a common culprit in causing constipation. Always offer your dog ample supply of water throughout the day. Also, consider adding fiber to his diet by supplementing with cooked veggies such as broccoli, kale, spinach among others. In case the condition persisits please take him for some X-rays to check if there is any obstruction in the gut that may be slowing down his bowel movements. Good luck

Feb. 9, 2021

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9 Years


16 found this helpful


16 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
Blood In Stool
Frequent Pooping
Scouting Butt On Floor Often
Hi My 9 year old doxie has been having bloody stool for the pass two years. Vet believes it is IBD so we have tried everything. We have done all the meds they recommended, all the testing and an ultrasound. Nothing has helped! Recently I had noticed that when he is pooping there is a mass pushing out. I believe it is a rectal polyp, I showed the video I had taken to the vet and they did a rectal exam but do not believe it is a polyp. Should I get a second opinion? Please Help!!!

Sept. 15, 2018

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