Any dog owner knows that we spend a lot of time picking up their poop, which means that we get a good look at one of the easiest ways to tell if something isn't right with our furry friends. Our East Setauket emergency vets talk about what to do if you see blood in your dog's stool and what that blood could mean.
Help, there's blood in my dog's poop!
Noticing blood in your dog's stool is bound to be worrying, and could be a sign of a serious health problem.
Whenever you see blood in your pet's stool it's a good idea to call your regular vet. The bigger question is whether blood in your dog's stool is a pet emergency requiring a trip to the closest animal emergency clinic.
If you have a young puppy with blood in their stool, visit your vet immediately! Parvovirus is common in unvaccinated pups and can be fatal if not treated quickly.
Call your regular vet within normal office hours, visit Setauket Animal Hospital during daytime hours or visit your nearest emergency vet clinic for after-hours care.
Assess Your Dog's Overall Health
If your dog has blood in their stool but otherwise seems happy, is eating well and behaving normally, it's a good idea to call your regular vet to let them know and ask for advice. Your regular vet will be able to assess the urgency of the situation and let you know whether it's a good idea to bring your pet into the office for an examination.
If you've noticed blood in your dog's stool and your dog also vomiting, refusing to eat, and looking unwell, it's time for an immediate trip to the vet. During normal business hours contact your regular vet and book an emergency appointment, after hours you should call your emergency vet in East Setauket.
Assess Your Dog's Stool
Take a moment to examine your dog's stool before heading to your primary vet or the nearest emergency veterinarian in East Setauket.
The vet will be able to diagnose your dog's condition more quickly if you are able to provide an accurate description of your dog's stool. When it comes to blood in your dog's stool, there are two distinct types:
Hematochezia is bright red blood or fresh-looking blood in dog stool that stems from the lower digestive tract or colon. Hematochezia may appear on a firm-formed stool or in diarrhea. The distinctive bright red color of hematochezia indicates that the blood comes from the lower part of the digestive tract and has only traveled a short distance through the dog's body.
Common causes of hematochezia include viral diarrhea, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer.
This blood has been digested or swallowed, typically indicating a problem in the upper digestive tract. Melena results in a black inky stool that can be jelly-like in consistency. Diarrhea is not common with melena, the stool is usually formed.
Common causes of melena include stomach inflammation, stomach ulcers, and cancer.
Possible Causes of Blood in Stool
It's important to note that a red stool may not indicate blood at all. If your dog has eaten a red nonfood item such as a crayon or lipstick, they could pass a red stool. Red icing and cakes may also have this effect on your dog's stool,
Streaks of bright red blood in your dog's stool could be caused by an infection or injury to your dog's sensitive rectal area, such as a ruptured anal sac.
Other causes of blood in stool include:
- Viral and bacterial infections
- Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HG)
- Colitis (inflammation of the colon)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Severe food intolerance
- Parasites, such as hookworms
- Anal sac infections or impactions
Questions to Ask Yourself if You Spot Blood in Your Dog's Stool
Here are some questions that you should ask yourself before you see the vet in order to help them diagnose your dog quickly:
- Is the blood fresh or has it been digested?
- How frequently does your dog pass a stool?
- How long have you been seeing blood in your dog's poop?
- Has your dog's diet recently changed?
- Have there been any sudden changes in their home environment?
Treatment Options for Blood in Your Dog's Poop
If your dog has blood in their stool, your veterinarian will provide treatment based on the underlying cause.
Some of the common types of treatment for bloody stool include:
- Diet change
- Fluids to treat dehydration
- Diarrhea treatment
- Anti-parasite treatment
If you notice any blood in your dog's stool you should reach out to your vet immediately. If they are showing concerning symptoms along with bloody stool, please contact your nearest emergency vet clinic right away.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.