Blood in the Dog’s Stool – Causes and Tips for Action

Whether in humans or animals – blood in the stool makes alarm bells ring quickly – although the causes are not always dramatic. Nevertheless, it is worth taking a closer look at the appearance of blood in dog feces, because after all, a serious illness can also be the cause.

The Most Important Things Summarized

  • Blood in the stool can be either light or dark red. The color of the blood gives an indication of whether the cause is to be found in the upper or lower digestive tract.
  • The causes can be of many kinds. However, since you cannot see them from the outside, it makes sense to visit a veterinarian who can examine the dog closely and take appropriate measures.
  • Especially in the case of serious illnesses, bloody stool is often accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. A change in the behavior of the animal also indicates a disease.

Possible Causes of Blood in the Stool

Blood in the stool can come from either the dog’s upper or lower digestive tract. There are two medical terms for this: hematochezia and melena. Distinguishing them is important because different causes can be the case.

  • Parvoviruses, worms, and parasites in the gut can cause bloody stools.
  • Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract or other diseases can be a cause.
  • Sometimes, however, diet is simply “to blame”: Eating bones can cause small injuries to the intestinal wall. The blood from the wound is then found in the feces.
  • More serious causes are tumors and ulcers in the stomach and intestines or internal bleeding from poisoning.
  • Anal sac infections, perianal fistulas, or polyps in the anal area can also cause bleeding.

Hematochezia – Blood from the lower digestive tract

If the blood comes from the lower digestive tract, such as the colon or rectum, the blood will be bright red. The feces are then dark brown or reddish-brown, and the blood appears as single drops or mixed in the stool. The bright red blood is often caused by parasites in the intestines such as hookworms, whipworms, and roundworms. And protozoa such as coccidia can also cause bloody stools.

In addition to small injuries caused by bones in the intestinal tract, polyps can also be a cause of bright red blood in the stool. This usually shows up on the surface, as the feces take on this as it flows past a bleeding polyp. These can sometimes be felt from the outside or even protrude from the anus, but they are always worth a visit to the vet, as some polyps can also be malignant.

A very simple cause of blood in the stool can also be constipation. If the droppings are very thick and solid, the animal has to make more effort than usual to pass the droppings. The result can be ruptured veins, which briefly lead to blood in the stool.

Melana – black stool caused by bleeding in the upper digestive tract

When the blood enters the upper digestive tract and is digested, the dog’s stool is tarry and black as asphalt. This form of blood in the stool is more of a concern than the occasional hematochezia. However, since the droppings are often quite dark even without blood, this form is not always easy to recognize. However, the black stool is often accompanied by bloody vomiting and indicates problems in the stomach or small intestine.

Poisoning with acid or other irritating substances can also turn black the feces. Other possible causes include inflammation of the pancreas, kidney failure or hypofunction of the adrenal glands, as well as inflammation of the gastric mucosa or diseases of the esophagus.

Other Symptoms of Blood in the Stool

The bloody poop doesn’t always appear alone. Especially when diseases are the cause, the symptom is often accompanied by others.

Diarrhea and vomiting

Some dogs are more sensitive to stress than others. The temporary absence from the family, a move, or the acquisition of a second dog in the household are often enough for the dog to react nervously to the new situation. The result is often bloody diarrhea with mucus. Especially in puppies of brown-black breeds are susceptible to the parvovirus. This can end with the death of the animal, so a visit to a veterinarian should be made quickly. The blood in the stool is often accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or loss of appetite.

Finding the cause of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is difficult. Diarrhea and vomiting often accompany illness, so intravenous fluids and medication may be needed to correct the condition. Changes in diet should always be made slowly over several days, as changing the diet too suddenly can cause inflammation in the intestines, which is accompanied by diarrhea and/or stool. Food intolerances or allergies may also be a cause.

The stool is slimy

Occasional mucus discharge is perfectly normal. The substance helps food to pass through the intestines more easily. Only if the mucus occurs over several days or in large quantities, it may make sense to go to the vet. Caution is also advised if the mucus is yellow or bloody. In both cases, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Recognizing changed behaviors

If your animal behaves differently than usual, it is worth taking a closer look. For example, the blood in the stool can be accompanied by:

  • Constipation and lack of defecation
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • weakness
  • pale mucous membranes
  • slide on the bottom (sledding)
  • Swelling or sores around the anus

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