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Blood in Dog's Stool: Is It an Emergency?

Blood in Dog's Stool: Is It an Emergency?

If you see blood in your beloved companion's stool then you will most likely become incredibly worried. Today our emergency vets at Olympia Pet Emergency in Lacey share some of the causes, symptoms and treatment for bloody stool in dogs.

What Are Some Reasons For Blood in Your Dog's Stool?

Noticing any type of blood in your dog's stool or diarrhea merits a call to your emergency vet in Lacey. Being able to describe and identify the type of blood in your dog's stool can help your emergency vet to determine the source of the blood, and will ultimately play a role in diagnosing your dog's condition.

It May Not Be Blood After All!

  • First, it's important to determine whether what you see is actually blood, since ingesting red foods, Pepto-Bismol or red items such as lipstick or crayon can cause your dog's stool to appear as if it is blood-streaked. Take a really analytical look at your dog's stool, and be prepared to provide your emergency vet in Lacey with a detailed description.

Hematochezia in Dog's Stool

  • If the blood in your pet's stool is bright red, then it's Hematochezia. Typically, hematochezia stems from bleeding in the lower digestive tract, rectum or colon. Bleeding in this area will point your vet to investigate a particular set of conditions such as parvovirus, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, cancer, viral and bacterial infections, parasites, digestion of something inappropriate, sudden change in the pet's diet, rectal injury, or colitis.

Dog's Stool Containing Melena 

  • If the blood in your dog's stool is darker, sticky and tar-like then it's Melena. Melena is blood that has either been swallowed or digested which points to issues in your pet's upper digestive tract, esophagus, stomach, or upper small intestine such as parasites, liver cancer. Other common causes of melena in stool include ulcers caused by medications, blood clotting disorders, post-surgery complications, tumors, polyps, or ingestion of blood (licking a bleeding wound, a mouth injury or a bloody nose).

What Are Some Other Causes of Blood in Stool?

  • Some other causes of blood in your dog's stool include intestinal blockages, trauma, bacterial infections, or fissures. Regardless of the potential cause, you should seek out your nearest animal emergency hospital to have your pet seen right away.

What Steps Should I Take If There is Blood in My Dog's Stool?

Regardless of the type of blood you see in your dog's stool it is important to contact your vet, or your nearest emergency vet right away. Bloody diarrhea can be a veterinary emergency requiring immediate care. Some causes of blood in stool are potentially fatal if left untreated, so it's always wise to err on the side of caution.

At Olympia Pet Emergency, our vets are equipped to offer advanced diagnostics and care for pets with internal health conditions. Our emergency veterinary team treats animals in circumstances requiring urgent medical care, including life-threatening emergencies.

How Will The Vet Diagnose My Dog?

Diagnosing the underlying cause of bloody stool can be challenging. If routine diagnostic procedures are unsuccessful, more invasive procedures may be needed to diagnose the issue. The diagnostic procedure at our emergency vet clinic may include the following:

Your Vet Will Review Your Dog's Detailed Medical History

The more detailed information you can provide to your Lacey emergency vet, the better.  Some of the valuable information in your dog’s medical history may include:

  • Whether your dog has experienced intestinal blockages, physical obstructions, ulcers or tumors in the past
  • Your pet's vaccination record (to rule out parvovirus)
  • How severe diarrhea has been.
  • Has it become worse since diarrhea first began?

There Will Be a Physical Exam of Your Dog and Stool Samples Will Be Needed

  • Examination of the stool sample to see if blood is present
  • Palpitation of the abdomen to check for abdominal obstruction or pain
  • Heart function to look for symptoms of blood loss or dehydration
  • Skin test to find out if your dog is dehydrated

Your Vet Will Perform Blood Tests on Your Dog

  • Biochemical tests to check for liver function and blood sugar
  • Packed cell volume (hematocrit) to confirm whether hemorrhagic gastroenteritis could be the cause

Endoscopy or Xrays May Show The Underlying Health Concern

  • To look for intestinal blockages, ulcers, tumors, or physical obstructions

Fecal Exams Can Uncover Parasitic Infections

  • Fecal exams help to detect parasites or microbiological organisms

How Can My Dog Be Treated if They Experience Bloody Stool?

The treatment for your dog's symptoms will depend on the underlying cause and your pet's overall health. With the right treatment, most dogs respond very well and recover quickly. Treatment from your emergency vet in Lacey may include:

  • Medications to soothe intestines
  • Electrolyte and fluid therapies in the case of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
  • Antibiotic therapy if an infection is at the root of the problem
  • Surgical remedies for tumors, ulcers or physical obstructions
  • Corticosteroid therapy in cases of severe blood loss causing hypovolemic shock
  • Anthelmintics (anti-parasitic drugs) to expel parasitic worms and other internal parasites

What Are Some Ways I Can Help My Dog Feel Better?

Once your dog’s underlying issue is being treated, the main priority is allowing your pet's inflamed intestines the time they need to recover. Our emergency vets will be sure to provide you with detailed instructions on how to care for your dog as they recover which may include,

  • No food or water for 24 hours to allow your pet's intestines to rest
  • Following the rest period, feed a prescription or bland diet for a week or so before gradually returning your dog to their normal diet
  • Monitoring your dog for other symptoms or recurring symptoms. If the problem quickly returns a prescription hypoallergenic medical diet may be recommended for your pet
  • Restoring intestinal microflora by introducing food supplements (such as probiotics and probiotics) to help prevent the issue from recurring

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.

If you have noted blood in your dog's stool then you should contact our Lacey vets at Olympia Pet Emergency as soon as possible to have your dog examined.

Walk-in Patients Welcome

At Olympia Pet Emergency, you can always access our full complement of emergency services without an appointment. We treat both walk-in patients and referrals for urgent veterinary care.

Contact Us

Contact (360) 455-5155