Do Not Ignore Blood in Your Small Dog’s Stool

Most pet owners would be alarmed to find blood in your dog’s stool. Finding blood in your dog’s stool is a symptom that something is wrong.

There can be many reasons why a dog’s stool would have blood or mucus. It can indicate:

  1. An upset stomach from eating bad food. Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, or HGE. is identified by blood in the vomit and/or stool, often due to a food borne illness. Because it is a serious disorder than can be potentially fatal, immediate veterinary care is required.
  1. Inflammation of the colon (colitis). Colitis is an inflammation of the large intestine and commonly causes diarrhea in dogs. Dogs with colitis often have fresh, red blood in their stools.
  1. Internal parasites. Intestinal parasites are rarely seen because they live inside your dog’s intestinal tract. However, they do pass microscopic eggs or spores in your dog’s stool. Parasites that can cause blood in your dog’s stool include hookworms, whipworms or giardia. They are quite small but can cause heavy infections and can prove fatal if not treated.
  1. A viral infection (like parvovirus). Canine parvovirus is a bad, highly contagious illness, spread for dog to dog by contact with feces. CPV can affect all dog breed, but for some reason some small dog breeds are more prone to CPV than others, such as toy pinschers and French bull dogs. Symptoms include: extreme vomiting, severe diarrhea, anorexia, lethargy, high ever, sever abdominal pain. If your dog exhibits these symptoms, do not bother with a fecal sample, seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
  1. A bacterial infection (like Salmonella or E. coli). coli, Salmonella and Corynebacterium are the most significant intestinal pathogens because they can be passed from animal to human or vice versa. Salmonella infections are also important due to association with reproductive disorders.
  1. An intestinal foreign body. Dogs have a tendency to eat thing s that they shouldn’t . Some items that can be ingested by your dog are poisonous to your dog. The Top canine toxins are chocolate, mouse or rat poisons, insect bait stations, prescription medications for people. If you think your pet may have ingested something harmful, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  1. Cancer. Anytime your dog presents dark, blackish stools, have your dog seen. You want to rule out the possibility of bleeding tumors such as polyps or cancer, which can be quite common in elderly dogs. 
  1. Allergies. Eosinophilic gastroenteritis, a chronic form of illness, has been associated with allergens in dog foods. It can result in bloody stools, diarrhea and vomiting.
  1. Autoimmune disorders (such as inflammatory bowel disease). IBD is a condition that results when your dog’s immune system turns against the lining of his gastrointestinal tract and results in your dog not being able tot digest food properly. It can affect the stomach and the small intestines causing chronic vomiting or diarrhea. Other symptoms can include: black, tarry stool, weight loss, weakness and lethargy and painful abdomen.

To determine the exact cause, you should take your dog to the veterinarian. Your vet will want a stool sample to complete the lab work with. 

How to Collect a Stool Sample from Your Dog 

  1. Choose a small container like a clean pill bottle or plastic dog poop bag.
  2. Most vets only need a small amount of poop, about the size of a ½ teaspoon, to run a fecal exam. Fresh samples provide better results. Samples should be still soft and moist and taken within the last 12 hours. If you have to take the sample earlier in the day than your appointment, put the sample in the refrigerator until it is time for your appointment.

Be prepared to disclose information about your dogs recent habits

Your vet will want to know about:

  1. Any recent food or diet changes. Do you feed your dog table scraps- what were they recently? Did you switch your dog to a different brand of dog food or from dry to canned? 
  2. non-food items the dog may have eaten- plants, items on the floor 
  3. recent changes in the home or yard your dog has been exposed to – had the house painted, recent lawn chemical treatments etc. 
  4. What changes in your dog’s behavior that you have noticed-vomiting, diarrhea, pain when defacating, lethargy etc.

These can all give your vet a clue as to what might be the cause of the blood in your dog’s stool.

Many conditions that can cause blood in your dog’s stool are reasonably easy to treat. Even more severe conditions can be managed with early detection. Be alert to symptoms and contact your vet right away.

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