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What is Rectal Prolapse?

Rectal prolapse in dogs can occur at any age of the animal and can be congenital or develop later in life.  Though this condition can occur in both males and females, the female has an additional possible cause to her credit in the birthing process.  There are several diseases that can cause straining in puppies which may cause the protrusion of the rectum through the anus.

Rectal prolapse is defined as the protrusion or pushing out of the inner layers of the rectum through the anus.  This often occurs after straining to defecate, urinate or give birth.

Rectal Prolapse Average Cost

From 247 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,000

Average Cost

$850

Symptoms of Rectal Prolapse in Dogs

Rectal prolapse symptoms are quite simple: 

  • Visual observation and noting of a mass protruding from the anus; this mass will appear similar to a “sausage or dough-nut” and it will be reddened
  • There may be pain in the area, similar to the discomfort experienced by humans with regard to hemorrhoids, though dogs don’t get hemorrhoids
  • You may notice your pet straining to produce a bowel movement, urinate or straining during a difficult birth

Types

There are two types of rectal prolapse per se but there are several other rectal disorders in which rectal prolapse is a sign.  The two true types of rectal prolapse are:

  • Incomplete in which only the innermost rectal layer is actually protruding
  • Complete in which all of the layers of the rectum are protruding.

There are several other disorders of the rectum in which rectal prolapse occurs; they are:

Anal Sac Disease

This disorder involves the anal sacs which are positioned on either side of the anus.  This is the most common disease found in the anal area of a dog.  They become clogged, infected, abscessed or even cancerous, making defecation difficult.  The other signs that you might see in this case would be related to pain or discomfort while sitting, scooting the buttocks on the ground, licking or biting at the anal area.

Perianal Fistula

The most prominent signs are chronic, foul-smelling wounds in the tissues that encompass the anus (the cause is unknown), most often found in German Shepherds and less frequently in Setters and Retrievers.

Perineal Hernia

This is a hernia that happens near the anus most often in males 6 to 8 years old who have not been neutered.  Typical breeds affected are Boston Terriers, Welsh Corgis, Boxers, Collies, Kelpies, Dachshunds, Old English Sheepdogs and Pekingese.

Rectal and Anorectal Narrowing

These are narrowing of the rectal area as a result of scar tissue from injury from foreign objects or trauma or may be a complication of inflammation.  This type generally has both rectal and anal involvement.

Rectal Tumors

Surgical removal is the primary treatment option but may not always be effective if the tumor has spread beyond the rectum before the signs were noted. The signs of this disorder include the straining and painful defecation noted above as well as blood in the feces and diarrhea.

In addition, rectal polyps are basically growths that appear in the rectal area.  This is not a frequent occurrence in dogs and they’re typically benign when they do appear.  The bad news is that, generally speaking, the larger the polyp in size, the increased chance it will  be a malignancy.

Rectal tears, as well as anal tears, can occur when a dog swallows a foreign object that is sharp, like a bone, needle or other rough material. It can result from a bite or injury.  The tear may involve only the surface layers of the rectum (called a partial tear) or may it may puncture through all the rectal layers (called a complete tear). Swelling or edema may also be seen if the condition is long standing.

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Causes of Rectal Prolapse in Dogs

The main cause of rectal prolapse in dogs, whether it’s the primary or a secondary condition, is straining to either defecate or urinate in both sexes and difficult birthing in females.  There are some conditions and diseases which can contribute to the prolapse of the rectum, regardless of age or sex:

  • Straining to defecate or urinate at any age
  • Difficulty in giving birth
  • Severe diarrhea especially in puppies but can occur at any age
  • Constipation and parasites may help to cause the protrusion of the rectum
  • Straining to urinate because of urinary infection or other urinary disease
  • Obesity in dogs cause poor muscle tone and contributes to the failure of the anal sac to be fully emptied during defecation
  • Excessive secretions of the anal gland 
  • When the contents of the gland are not adequately emptied regularly, the gland becomes a target of bacterial infection and inflammation
  • In some of the disorders of the rectum, hair follicles as well as anal glands become contaminated by fecal material and secretions of the anal sac, resulting in damage to the tissue and skin inflammation over the long term  
  • Some other causes in rectal disorders include breed predisposition, hormonal imbalances, prostate disease, chronic constipation and pelvic muscle weakness
  • Swallowing of foreign objects, especially sharp or rough things, and injury from trauma
  • Cancer
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Diagnosis of Rectal Prolapse in Dogs

The primary diagnostic tool for rectal prolapse in dogs is the physical examination.  This examination will provide a great deal of information to your veterinarian as to which organs and tissues are actually involved. This examination may involve the use of a probe inserted next to the prolapsed tissue to determine its identity.  It is important for the veterinarian to know if the prolapsed tissue is intestinal or rectal so that appropriate treatment options can be explored.  If the protruding tissue is intestinal, surgery will be required to put it back where it belongs.

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Treatment of Rectal Prolapse in Dogs

Treatment of rectal prolapse in dogs will depend upon the tissue involved and the reason it is prolapsed.  In the case of anal sac disease, the anal sacs will need to be expressed to empty them.  This may require manual expression by the veterinary caregiver using his finger.  A decision for surgical intervention must be carefully considered based on the cause, identity and degree of prolapse.  There are possible complications to any surgery, whether on humans or canines, and your veterinarian will need to consider if the prolapsed condition warrants the risks of the possible complications that are associated with this surgical repair.  

Regardless of the treatment option recommended, the prolapsed tissue will need to be returned to its normal position and location by some means.  In the event that the prolapse is caused by a tumor, that, of course, will need to be surgically removed to prevent possible cancerous metastasis.

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Recovery of Rectal Prolapse in Dogs

Prognosis in most disorders of the rectum is good but may require closer observation and dietary changes over the rest of the pet’s life.  You will need to monitor your pet frequently and in your regular observation of your dog, watch for prolapses, straining to defecate or urinate, diarrhea episodes, pain with defecation, urination, sitting, and walking. Note any changes in urinary or bowel habits as obstructions in either of these systems can quickly become an emergent situation. Your veterinarian will likely want to follow up after treatment periodically to assure the prolapse doesn’t return or, in the event it does return, it can be treated expeditiously to avoid permanent damage to your pet.

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Rectal Prolapse Average Cost

From 247 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,000

Average Cost

$850

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Rectal Prolapse Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Labrador Retriever

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Seven Years

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Anal Discharge

My dog is a lab mix very muscular thin build, we have now had him 6 years our guess is he is 7. It started with blood in his stool and we did several differnt test and medications. helped some but never lasting help. now a mass is coming out when he poops, they tried to take a biopsy of the mass but it is inconclusive in if it's cancer or what it is. when pooping and this comes out and I have to pop it back in, there is quit a bit of blood now. they are now trying the prednisone to see if we can reduce the inflammation. Not sure where to go from here, it's not getting better.

Aug. 8, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If the Prednisone has been a recent addition, it may take some time to start to work. Surgery may be an option for him. It would be best to ask your veterinarian what the next step might be, as they are able to examine him and see what might be going on. If they are not sure, it is never a bad idea to get a second opinion from a veterinarian who can see the lesion and be able to examine him. They may have other ideas. I hope that he feels better soon.

Aug. 11, 2020

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American Bully Staffy Bull Terrier

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

It seems like my dog has a recral prolapse , what do you recommend to do in this case. And if its not a rectal prolapse. What can it be. Thank you

Aug. 1, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. From your picture, that appears to be a mass of some kind, more than a prolapse. That is something that you will need to have a veterinarian look at, as they can fully evaluate the area, do a rectal exam to see what might be causing this, and let you know what options there are for treatment. I hope that all goes well for your dog.

Aug. 1, 2020

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Shih Tzu

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Ten Weeks

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Red Prolapsing Anus

My puppy has what appears to be a red prolapsing anus. Is this an urgent matter I need to take her to an after hours hospital, or can it wait u til Monday?

July 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. The urgency of this really depends on the degree of prolapse. If it is a tiny bit that sort of pokes out when she defecates, that can probably wait until Monday. If it is a large amount of her colon that is sticking out of her rectum, then that is an emergency and needs to be seen right away. I hope that all goes well for her.

July 25, 2020

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Bullmastiff

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Fell On His Tail Looks Skinned Underneath Near His But Looks Like His But Is A Little Swollen Sticking Out

Not sure if he needs to see a vet

July 11, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If he seems comfortable and is able to defecate normally, he may be okay to monitor. If his anus is continuing to be swollen or he is straining to defecate over the next 24 hours, then it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian. I hope that all goes well for him.

July 11, 2020

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K

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Irish Terrier

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11 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Symptoms Described Above

Hi my dog had been struggling pooping and was having only small kinds slimy peices coming out. I took her to the vet. She got an xray and it showed an intestinal blockage The vet gave her some special food and told us to add mineral oil. Problem is, her appetite comes and goes. Sometimes she's very hungry and will scarf it down,sometimes she won't eat for almost a whole day.The first symptoms started about 5 days ago. Vet visit was 2 days ago. I'm just not convinced she's getting the amount of mineral oil she should be, due to not wanting the food half the time. I'm also worried about said blockage getting stuck stuck, and cutting off blood flow and causing intestinal necrosis or something horrible like that. The one caveat is that she HAS been pooping. First day after vet nothing. But Saturday and today, she had a big huge lump poo. Both days. Looked like they'd hurt for me to have passed. I'm scared for my little buddy though and being a holiday weekend, the regular vet isn't open again til Tuesday. It's Sunday night at 9pm here so it would be basically 36 hours until I could take her to normal vet. There is emergency 24 hour vet around, but they're extremely expensive and I'm already 600 dollars into this. No price is too high for my doggy, but am I just being an overly concerned hypochondriac? Is the fact that she's still passing large stools proof that she's not suffering intestinal damage? Can I afford to wait that extra day? I don't want to be extra worrisome about this and drive the doctors nuts. But at the same time I don't want to wait an extra day if time is of the essence. My normal vet said it could take a couple days. But I'm just worried as she's lying around a lot. Just doesn't seem happy with the whole situation, and not too thrilled about eating much of anything most of the time. I was just hoping someone with some expertise could let me know if the continuing to poop is a sign that no blood flow is being interrupted. Main thing is wanting to avoid permanent intestinal damage

Sept. 3, 2018

K's Owner

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Ophelia

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Pit bull

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1 Year

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Rectal Prolapse With Soft Stool

We rescued a 1 year old female pitbull named Ophelia 2 months ago. She was severely emaciated at 27 lbs and is now a healthier 37 lbs. Her coat has improved as well as her energy. She could only make it around the block without fatiguing but now can easily go 3 miles. We have been doing chiropractic care to adjust her hips and back as she was out of whack and very weak in the back legs and tail when we got her. Ophelia's problem is she has had a rectal prolapse since she came into the pound as a stray. We had it surgically fixed when they spayed her but two weeks later, she was prolapsing again. She also has not had a firm stool since she was rescued. We have tried a low residue diet, dewormed with 3 fecals that have been negative, and she is negative for EPI and histoplasmosis. We now are trying a limited ingredient, fish based raw diet with limited success. She is on a probiotic. She has been on prednisone to reduce inflammation with no luck. Her stools are slightly firmer but she still has a large volume of stool daily (about 10-12 stools a day) We are able to lubricate and push the prolapse back in but it is coming out about 2 inches. Our vet is at a loss as to why she still is having soft/loose stools which is probably causing the prolapse. Any ideas??? HELP!!!

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Persie

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cockapoo

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8 Years

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Fair severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Prolapse

Hi my 8 my 8year old cockapoo had a perineal hernia to which surgery was performed - this was 6 months ago now. Recently after he has been going to the toilet there has been a small red lump sticking out of the anus. Usually takes up to an hour to return to normal, dog shows no sign of discomfort or pain. This is happening every couple of weeks. Any advice will be helpful. We are going to add lactose into diet with also fibre for stool softener. And monitor this carefully. Any advice will help

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Bella

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German Shepherd

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6 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Anal Prolapse
Sore Red Mass

My dog is 6 yrs old and she experiencing anal prolaples and I really need help.She has been the vets about 4 times first time surgury, second time was to get it looked at. The third time I was concerened because i had taken her for a walk and it looked like it came out again she had her sutras in at that time. She has all her stitches out now. I took her to the vet just a few days ago because she was pooping in the backyard I stopped her because i felt she was pushing to hard and when i checked her bum, it looked like she had prolapsed again. Waited about 15mins for it to go back in, it had been over 2 hrs and it still did not go back in took her to the vets right away, they used sugar and water base lubricant to help it ease itself back in. I really need help because this is becoming a really big stressor for me. Is there any possible way were that this could be stopped hoping it wont happen again. Funds are getting very tight after multiple vet visits

Rectal Prolapse Average Cost

From 247 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,000

Average Cost

$850

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