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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14828
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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What is the cause of my dog bleeding from the rectum

Customer Question

What is the cause of my dog bleeding from the rectum
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am very sorry to hear about your pup Sasha's bloody rectal discharge.

Of course anyone would be concerned about blood in the stool. The fresher the blood appears the closer the source is to her rectum.

The important factor in all of this is how your girl feels. If she feels great then that is a good sign.

There is a condition in dogs called hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. These dogs have profuse dark, jelly-clot like, bloody diarrhea. They are very sick dogs and get dehydrated quickly so they need immediate care. Thus if she seems lethargic and/or begins vomiting an emergency veterinary visit is best.

But colitis or inflammation of the large intestine, can be due to stress, a change in diet, parasites, a viral or bacterial infection, inflammatory bowel disease or even a food allergy. Rarely a mass in the colon can be the cause, or exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides. Another possibility is an anal gland infection. These are scent glands that are located just inside the rectum and an infection can cause a bloody discharge, though should not cause loose stools. So if her stools are loose anal glands are less likely to be the cause of bleeding.

A raw, irritated colon can take a few days to heal. Do you know if she got into anything that may have started all of this?

The bleeding should clear completely with treatment over the next 2 to 3 days with my recommendations. If not she should be checked by a veterinarian and her anal glands should be checked. Well worth checking at least a couple fresh stool samples too as parasites can cause blood in the stools and their eggs/cysts are shed intermittently and they may be picked up on the second sample or third test even if the first is negative.

If she still feels well now though we can try some things at home.

If her appetite is off and her stomach is gurgling she may have some stomach upset and reflux that can go along with bloody stools.

To try and settle her stomach today you can try either:

1) Pepcid-ac (famotidine) at a dose of one 10mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 12 hours.

OR

2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at a dose of one 10mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 24 hours.

These will reduce stomach acid and should help if this is related to simple nausea and gastrointestinal irritation.

I would not feed her any food for 24 hours after the acid reducers are started. This should help stop gut spasms and restore normal gut motility. Small amounts of water or ice cubes given frequently are fine as she needs fluids after all that he has lost with bloody stools. You can give her pedialyte to replace electrolytes too but Gatorade is much too high in sugar which can make the irritation worse.

Today even with the fast you can start Kao-pectate at 1ml per pound or 1 tablespoon per 15 pounds of body weight every 6 to 8 hours. This is quite safe and will coat her irritated gastrointestinal tract as well as absorbing bacterial toxins. You can use it for several days until her stools look normal. You can find kao-pectate at the drug store. I like the kao-pectate formulation with kaolin and pectin better then Pepto Bismol as Pepto has salicylates which are in the same family as aspirin, and can further irritate the intestines.

If she has a tense painful abdomen, continues to have diarrhea with no improvement after being on kao pectate for 24 hours, becomes very lethargic, begins vomiting or runs a fever greater than 103.5F then she really must be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Make sure to take a fresh stool sample with you when you go.

After her food fast start a bland diet of 1/3 boiled, lean hamburger (or boiled, white skinless chicken), all fats and juices drained off, mixed with 2/3 boiled, plain white rice. Feed several small meals a day. You might wish to add 1-2 tablespoon of canned pumpkin to each meal as fiber helps soothe an irritated colon. I recommend adding probiotics like Fortiflora, Proviable or Benebac to her diet daily to re-establish normal gut bacteria levels too.

Once she feels better (no bloody diarrhea for 48 hours) start mixing in her regular dog food very slowly. Less bland more regular with each day. It should take a week or so to convert her back.

If your pup is vomiting and feeling poorly though it would be best that she see a veterinarian now as anything you give orally will just come back up worsening dehydration.

Best of luck with your pup, please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My Sasha needs to have needs a Rabies shot, Heartworm Accult, Bordetella and DHPP. Would you suggest that I wait on all of this until she is completely clear of the bleeding from the rectum?
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry I missed your reply yesterday, I was traveling.

Ideally we don't want to further stress a sick dog's body by adding to the work of the immune system. That means I would encourage you NOT to vaccinate her when she has any sort of illness and isn't feeling her best.

I would NOT recommend giving her Rabies vaccine, Bordetella vaccine or her DHPP (distemper, parvo, parainfluenza and adenovirus vaccine) until her rectal bleeding is cleared up. Testing for heartworm is via a blood draw and does not affect her immune system, thus that would be fine to have done even now if you wish.