Having a pet dog is a big responsibility on the part of the owner. Besides feeding and taking your pet out to walk, you also need to secure their health. Vaccinations and constant visit to the veterinarian will help you in making sure that your pet is doing well. Seeing unusual things like blood in the stool of your dog is a frightful event, something that you should immediately check with the doctor.
There are various causes of bloody stool among dogs, but you have to remember that not all of them are cancer-related. They could be caused by parasites, or by foods that your dog had eaten. As a responsible pet owner, it is your job to have this condition verified on a medical basis.
Hematochezia or melena is the clinical term for blood in stool. The difference between these two is in the appearance of the stool. For example, if the blood still looks fresh and red, it could possibly mean that the bleeding either started in the lower intestines or in the rectum. On the other hand, tarry and black stool is referred to as melena. Once your dog’s stool looks like this, it goes to show that the blood came from the upper intestine.
Possible causes of hematochezia in dogs
As mentioned, blood in your dog’s stool can mean anything, and it can be either of the following:
- Parasites – Parasites are the most usual causes of blood in the stool. They live inside your pet and can cause inflammation or infection that lead to bloody stool. Some of the parasites that cause bloody stool include roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms. Sometimes, certain protozoans like coccidian can lead to bloody stools as well.
- HGE – Otherwise known as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, this involves blood stool with diarrhea. The dog may also vomit from time to time. The cause of HGE is unknown.
- Parvo – This is a contagious virus that usually affects puppies and certain dog breeds such as Dobermans, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds. Dogs will exhibit excessive vomiting, blood in stools, diarrhea, lethargy, and loss of appetite. This disease can be very serious and deadly at the same time.
- Over eating – Feeding dogs too much or sudden introduction to new foods can irritate their intestine which in turn will lead to bloody stools. Spoiled foods and allergies can also affect their intestines.
- Rectal injuries – Injuries or wounds that can scrape off the skin in the lining of their rectum also causes bloody stools
Diagnosing and addressing bloody stool among dogs
The first step should always be a visit to the veterinarian. Never self-medicate or treat your dog on your own. Even though you have been a pet owner for a long time and you have addressed health issues of your past pets, you need to remember that every dog is unique. There are some dog breeds that are allergic to some medicines or they will not be able to tolerate it as much as the other pets. Going to the veterinarian will give you the peace of mind and assurance.
The first thing that the vet will do is a series of tests, particularly stool test. You can bring your pet along to the vet together with a sample of his stool with blood. Physical examination, blood tests, and x-rays will also be requested by the doctor to make the proper diagnosis of the disease.
Treatment options vary depending on the cause of the bloody stool. If it is because of parasites, your dog will have to be dewormed and given proper hydrates to keep the body fluid up. Unfortunately, parvo does not have any cure yet and you will have to face the fact that your pet might or might not survive. If your dog tested negative for parvo, you should have him vaccinated.