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our 10 year old pit bull mix has had problems with clotting…

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our 10 year old pit...
our 10 year old pit bull mix has had problems with clotting disorders for over 7 years and three hospitalizations for aiha. as a result, she has been on varying doses of prednisone for over 7 years. she is about 35 pounds and has been on 5 mg of prednisone since she had a serious bout last summer.
she tolerates the medication well. However,earlier this week we noticed some blood in her stool twice. since then we have not seen her take a bowel movement. although she does sometimes go outside in a fenced in area and we dont watch her there. in the past, she alsmot always "pooped" during her walks. she has no other synptoms, has a good appetite
and is fairly peppy( for an older dog) is this constipation/ a reaction to the drug or something seriuos?
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
6/17/2010
Dog Veterinarian: petdrz, Veterinarian replied 8 years ago
petdrz
petdrz, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7,703
Experience: Over 30 years of experience caring for dogs and cats
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Hello,

 

May I ask you if the blood that you saw was a bright red blood or a dark tarry blood?

 

Were the stools formed? Was there mucus in the stool?

 

Thanks and I will respond after you reply.

 

 

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
the blood was briight red and the stools were loose but formed.
Customer reply replied 8 years ago
and there was no muucus
Dog Veterinarian: petdrz, Veterinarian replied 8 years ago

 

What it sounds like you are describing is colitis or inflammation of the large bowel. The signs can be very intermittent and would explain why you haven't seen it consistently. The signs with this condition can also vary in severity, from normal stools to mushy to very soft, all even within one day at times. Seeing mucus or blood is not unusual as well. There is a sense of urgency to move their bowels and many of the pets will strain when having a BM, which to the owner can almost look like they are constipated. Many pets with colitis have GI discomfort and some will even vomit. Usually there is an increased frequency of BM when this is occurring, so it is not clear why you are not seeing at least daily stools, but with the history of soft stool and blood, I would bet on colitis versus constipation.

 

Colitis can have many causes including intestinal parasites, dietary indiscretion, food allergies or intolerances, metabolic disturbances from internal organ malfunctions, viruses, toxins, cancer, reaction to drugs or even stress. It could be secondary to the prednisone, but I would be surprised since she has been on it for so long. If you are not seeing a normal stool in the next day or so or if the blood continues, you will want to have your veterinarian perform a physical exam to help rule out the causes mentioned. They may perhaps suggest a change in diet or medications. Make sure they also perform a rectal exam to evaluate her anal glands. A stool sample analysis is a very important part of getting to the bottom of this as intestinal parasites are one of the most common causes.

 

While you are monitoring her, I would fast your dog to give her GI system a rest. If she is an adult dog, a 12-24 hr fast will not hurt her and will let her gut calm down. Continue to offer small amounts of water at a time. When you do begin feeding her again, you will want to offer frequent, small meals of something very digestible for her. These would include items like boiled hamburger or chicken and rice or pasta. No sauces or gravies, but a little non greasy broth would be OK.

 

When they have been going on chronically, these GI disturbances can be frustrating to diagnose and treat and sometimes we don't even find the cause, but concentrate on controlling the symptoms so our pets are comfortable. In her case, since it appears to be an acute flare up, there is no reason to think that it won't resolve completely. Make sure to get in touch with your vet if she is not improving so they can get her treated appropriately and verify that there is nothing else going on to be causing these signs. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

 

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
thank you for the information- just a quick clarification- i had read online that as a general rule bllod in the stool for a younger dog meant a parasite and for an older dog meant cancer- is this an area of concern and were they refering to a black tarry stool
Dog Veterinarian: petdrz, Veterinarian replied 8 years ago

The distinction between the color of the blood in the stool simply refers to where the blood is generating from. When it comes from higher in the GI tract, like stomach or small intestine, it is more likely the dark tarry kind by the time it ends up in the stool. If it is bright red, it more than likely came from the colon. Whatever causes colitis, leads to inflammation which leads to blood. This holds true for cancer or parasite.

 

As a general rule, we tend to worry less about cancer in young dogs, but that is not to say that it can't occur. On the same note, we do see parasite problems more frequently in younger dogs, but there is no reason why an older dog cannot develop them. It is also possible that after long term steroids such as she has had, she may have developed a degree of bacterial overgrowth related to her being immunosuppressed. There are specific stool tests that can be done to look for bacteria as well as blood tests that can indicate if there is bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. A trial of antibiotics may help to rule it out as well. Sometimes changes can be seen on an ultrasound of the abdomen, but ultimately if the problem is not resolving, the only definitive diagnosis is with an intestinal biopsy.

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