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What is Tarry Feces due to Presence of Blood?

Blood in your dog’s stool is an important sign that something may be wrong with his digestive system. While a red stool can be a common occurrence even when nothing is wrong, dark and tarry stools are a sign of something more serious. The dark and tarry look means that the blood has been digested and has made its way into the upper (small) intestine. The black color of melena is caused by iron in the blood becoming oxygenated when it passes through the ileum and colon. One common cause of melena in dogs is cancer, so it is important to get your dog to the veterinarian so you can get it treated early. The earlier you can get it treated, the better your dog’s chances of recovery. However, melena in your dog’s stool does not always mean that your dog has cancer. There are many other reasons for the presence of melena, but they are all cause for concern so a visit to your veterinarian is essential to your dog’s health. Some of the reasons for melena are listed below.

Tarry feces due to the presence of blood (melena) makes your dog’s stools look black and tarry. There is a difference between fresh blood in your dog’s stool (hematochezia) and melena because the latter can be a sign of a serious or fatal disorder that will need medical attention right away. Melena appears black (from the upper intestine because it is digested) and hematochezia will appear bright or dark red (from the lower intestine or anus because it has not been digested).  The blood can be coming from your dog's lungs, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, or upper (small) intestine and this can mean a serious disorder such as a tumor. It is vital that you take your dog to the veterinarian or an emergency animal clinic or hospital as soon as possible.

 

Tarry Feces due to Presence of Blood Average Cost

From 21 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$450

Symptoms of Tarry Feces due to Presence of Blood in Dogs

The main symptom of melena is dark black feces that look similar to tar or coffee grounds. Since there are many different causes for melena, the symptoms will vary according to the underlying illness or disease. Here are some common symptoms:

  • Black feces that looks like tar
  • Diarrhea
  • Throwing up (possibly vomiting blood)
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Bruises on the body
  • Not eating
  • Drinking excessively
  • Frequent urination
  • Loss of weight
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Causes of Tarry Feces due to Presence of Blood in Dogs

There are several reasons for melena in your dog’s feces and it takes a visit to the veterinarian to determine the cause. Some of the possible causes are:

  • Infection
  • Some medications (such as NSAIDS)
  • Cancer
  • Swallowing foreign object
  • Blood ingestion
  • Heavy metal toxicity
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Metabolic disease
  • Hemorrhagic disease
  • Gastrointestinal ischemia (lack of blood supply)
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Diagnosis of Tarry Feces due to Presence of Blood in Dogs

Your veterinarian will need to do a complete and thorough physical examination, which includes your dog’s body temperature to see if there is a fever. Important diagnostic information will include blood pressure and heart rate. You will need to provide the veterinarian with as much of your dog’s medical history as possible, including recent illnesses or injuries. Changes in dietary habits, behavior, and activity levels are also important to determine what is causing the melena. Since there are so many different possible causes, your veterinarian will have to perform some tests, such as:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Biochemical profile
  • Urinalysis
  • Fecal examination
  • Abdominal and chest radiographs (X-rays)
  • Serology for certain infectious diseases
  • Coagulation profile
  • Abdominal ultrasonography
  • Upper gastrointestinal barium series
  • Endoscopy
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Treatment of Tarry Feces due to Presence of Blood in Dogs

The treatment will depend on what is causing the melena in your dog’s stool. If the symptoms are severe or the veterinarian cannot determine the cause, your dog will probably be hospitalized for IV fluid therapy, rest, and 24-hour observation. A blood transfusion will be administered if there is significant blood loss and they will give your dog medication to treat the infection or bacteria that is causing the melena if the veterinarian can determine the cause.

When your veterinarian finds the source of the melena and is able to treat the problem, you will be able to take your dog home right away but you will have to make sure your dog gets the rest needed to heal. If the veterinarian prescribes medication be sure to give it as prescribed and finish all the medicine even if your dog seems fine before it is gone. Sometimes the illness will come back if you stop the medication too soon and it will be more resistant to the medication your dog was originally taking.

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Recovery of Tarry Feces due to Presence of Blood in Dogs

If the veterinarian says it is okay, your dog can go back to eating his regular food, but go back to it gradually so it is easier on the stomach and digestive system. Do not give your dog any kind of people food no matter how healthy you think it is. Just because it is good for humans does not make it healthy for dogs. Be sure to follow up with the veterinarian and continue to visit regularly on a yearly basis.

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Tarry Feces due to Presence of Blood Average Cost

From 21 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$450

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Tarry Feces due to Presence of Blood Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Australian Shepherd

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1yr

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Black Tar Stool, Sleeping A Lot, Drinking Lots Of Water, Vomiting

Vet is closed. Is this emergent? Should I be concerned?

July 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

hello, So sorry to hear about your dog. Yes the black tarry stool can be a sign of GI bleeding and I would be concerned. If he continues to vomit he can become dehydrated even though he is drinking water. YOur vet can start him on medication to help him feel much better

July 26, 2020

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Minature Dachshund

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Twelve Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Tarry Stool

My dog is having dark red bloody jelly like stools and isn't wanting to eat but only drinking water. I just need to know what to do to help her or to make her comfortable if she isn't going to make it?

July 23, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, So sorry to hear that your dog isn't feeling well. Dark bloody jelly stool usually indicated that your dog may have Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis or HGE. This usually requires medication and fluids from your vet. Your vet can help your dog feel better and prescribe him medication. I hope your dog starts to feel better soon.

July 23, 2020

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Lhasa Apso

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Thirteen Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting Diarrhoea

My dogs poop is black and tarry and His puke is white and foamy, he’s also being very lazy, not moving around at all not eating, what can I do?

July 15, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. There are many things that can cause those signs, including systemic disease, intestinal infection, or parasites. He does sound quite ill, and the best thing to do for him would be to have him seen by a veterinarian. They will be able to examine him, see what might be going on, and get treatment for him. I hope that he is okay.

July 15, 2020

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Husky

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Tarry Stool

Doesnt eat much, jelly stool, weak, sleeps all day.

July 10, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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Hello I'm sorry your pup is not feeling. Tarry stools can be indicative of some type of bleeding in the GI tract. It is recommended that you take him to a veterinarian soon for an exam. They will want to do some diagnostic tests to see what is going on. Hope he gets to feeling better soon.

July 10, 2020

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Zeno

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Miniature Pinscher

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2 Months

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Vomiting Blood
Black Poop

My pup has been confined last August 10 because of parvo. I took him home August 13 but he still has his dextrose on. After an hour when we got home, he vomited a watery, dark red colored with brown powder like and little solids in it maybe the sized of red pepper seeds. Ever since we got home, he vomited 6-7 times already as of August 14 in the evening. And just now he pooped black and was shivering but it stopped a few minutes later. Is it related to his parvo? Or is it from another case/disease?

Aug. 15, 2018

Zeno's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

It seems that these signs are most likely related to the Parvo virus, and Zeno may need further treatment. If he is vomiting that frequently, he will get dehydrated quickly. He may also have parasites that are contributing to this problem. He needs to go back to your veterinarian for a follow up and make sure that he is okay.

Aug. 15, 2018

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Coco

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Shih Tzu

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12 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Anemia
Tired
Lack Of Appetite
Black Tar Stool

Coco has been diagnosed with kidney disease, anemia and either a bleeding ulcer or a tumor. That gives him two to three weeks to live. She told me once he stops eating and drinking it's time to let him go. He is not eating for me very well in the last 2 days. How much longer do you think Coco has?

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Coco

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Great Pyrenees

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2 Months

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Frequent Urination
Farts
Black Poo
Slimy Poo

My puppy is only 2 moths old. Since I got her, her poo has been dark and firm, sometimes runny, and sometime a combination of both. I took her to the vet for her first round shots. They also gave her a dewormer and it work. But she kept pooping the same. But now she poos very little and is still dark, runny, slimy, she poo in the house once and I clean it, and it looked kind of red in the paper towel. she also started to urinate prior to her poo. she also sleeps a lot, but when she's awake she's energetic and wants to play, but no so much now. I have been giving her dry food since the beginning, and liked it at first, but know she doesn't want to it, so I got another one and she eats it fine. I took her outside so she could poo, and her poo is kind of dark brown and dark, but is still runny and slimy, she has also fart several times and vomit once

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Nanook

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Samoyed

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8 Months

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Stool

Our puppy was recently treated for foreign body ingestion. We rushed him to the vet and the vet advised us that he was able to produce the object after inducing vomiting. We were very concerned as he had his second intussesception surgery on December 7th and did not want the object to reach his intestinal tract. He swallowed the foreign body on December 24th and today (December 26th) we are noticed black stools. Online it says that this is related to digested blood from the upper GI tract / esophagus. Is it possible that he bled from the vomiting of the object and that is what we are observing in his stool? Will this heal naturally? He had post surgery x-rays done on Saturday, December 22nd and they looked good.

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Thor

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Rottweiler

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7 Weeks

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Black Tarry Stool

I recently got my pup from some very inexperienced breeders he was the only one to survive out of all of his litter mates. They were going to drop him off somewhere at 6 weeks old because he was experiencing bouts of diarrhea. So I took him in instead. He has had constant diarrhea the entire time I have had him, he is not lathargic he has a healthy appetite and drinks plenty of water. He urinates excessively and has had mucus with some blood in his stool at which point I took him to my vet and they gave him some digestive care food, and examined his stools in which they found he tested positive for roundworms for which they gave dewormer as well, his stools because normalized while on the digestive care food but when I attempted to switch to soft canned puppy food his stools would become soft again. And recently his stool has become black and tarry. I know this is due to blood that has been digested but with all the symptoms he is showing and then all the symptoms he isn’t showing, is there possibly a more critical underlaying cause? The entire time I’ve had him his attitude has not changed in any matter he gets lots of rest and plays almost nonstop when he is awake. I have made another vet appointment, but they could not schedule me for a few more days. Should I seek more immediate care?

Tarry Feces due to Presence of Blood Average Cost

From 21 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$450