Why Is My Dog Bleeding From The Rectum?

Seeing your dog bleeding from the rectum can be alarming as any injury or condition which involves the sight of blood can be serious. There are a variety of factors and reasons that can cause rectal bleeding in your dog, and all of them need to be addressed urgently by contacting your dog’s vet.
The most common cause of rectal bleeding in medium or a smaller sized variety of pet dogs is Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE). The stool passed by a dog suffering from HGE would be loose and look like red raspberry jam due to the bleeding. HGE is usually accompanied by diarrhea and vomiting. Your pet dog may even have symptoms like fever, pain, and lethargy as he or she may get severely dehydrated.

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What Is Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE)?

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE), also called Acute Hemorrhagic Diarrhea Syndrome (AHDS), is a disorder in dogs that shows up with sudden symptoms of vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Vomiting, which can contain visible blood, is almost always a symptom, and it usually shows up prior to diarrhea. Diarrhea, which follows, contains red blood, and it is watery. HGE or AHDS is a deadly condition that can become life-threatening; hence, immediate medical intervention is advised. Symptoms of Acute Hemorrhagic Diarrhea Syndrome can be challenging to comprehend for dog owners as they show up suddenly in your dog, which seemed perfectly healthy a little while ago.

What To Do If Your Dog Is Bleeding From The Rectum?

Seek immediate medical help if you suspect Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis as it is always severe, and dogs diagnosed with it will need medical assistance from their vet along with hospitalization. Severe diarrhea mixed with blood can cause a large amount of fluid loss, blood loss, and also a resulting drop in your dog’s blood sugar level. Hence, it is highly recommended to see your vet immediately if you notice that your dog is bleeding from the rectum, as it can be fatal without treatment. There can be other reasons for rectal bleeding, but you should always consult with your dog’s vet immediately and follow their instructions.

How Long Does It Take For HGE To Get Better?

Complete recovery from HGE may take a little longer since your pet has lost a lot of fluids as a result of severe diarrhea and vomiting. You should expect a significant improvement in your dog’s health 24 hours after the treatment has been started by your vet. Most dogs show improvement speedily after administering treatment and be ready to return home after spending a day at the hospital. Your dog will probably stop having vomiting and diarrhea after 1 or 2 days of treatment.

How Is Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis Diagnosed?

Usually, your vet will diagnose your dog with Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis based on what symptoms your dog is showing. The vet may order additional tests like blood, urine, and stool sample examination if required, but such testing can be costly. In certain cases, your vet might want to do some x-rays or even an ultrasound if other issues are suspected. Such testing may be warranted if you think your dog has ingested foreign bodies, poison, or if a viral infection is suspected.
Parvovirus infection shows symptoms that are remarkably similar to HGE, and hence your vet might order a fecal test to rule out the possibility of parvovirus. Loss of bodily fluids due to the bleeding and diarrhea causes hemoconcentration, which is a higher than normal concentration of red blood cells. Hence, hemoconcentration can be a determining factor in the diagnosis of Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis.

How Is Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis Or Acute Hemorrhagic Diarrhea Syndrome Treated?

Your dog’s vet will administer the treatment, which will mainly consist of intravenous fluids and other medications as needed. Other medications are given on an as-needed basis. Signs of infection may warrant an antibiotic prescription. Otherwise, the administration of intravenous fluids is alone sufficient to treat Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis or Acute Hemorrhagic Diarrhea Syndrome.

How To Prevent Rectal Bleeding Due To Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis Or Acute Hemorrhagic Diarrhea Syndrome?

Since the cause of Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis is not known, it is not possible to prevent it. However, there are speculations that it can be caused by bacterial infections, viral infections, ingesting foreign bodies, intestinal wall sensitivity, or food sensitivity. Regular deworming may also reduce the possibility of Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis. Watching what your dog eats, regularly cleaning the living area, and keeping a healthy and safe environment can’t go wrong in keeping your dog in overall good health as a healthy dog can cope better with sicknesses.

Other Reasons For Rectal Bleeding Besides Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE)

Anal Gland Rupture

A rupture in your dog’s anal glands can appear as rectal bleeding. This is distinct from HGE, as your dog will show different symptoms. Anal glands are present on either side of your dog’s anus. These glands played an important part in dogs’ lives before they were domesticated. Their function was to mark a dog’s territory by spraying the scent from the anal glands. Most dogs nowadays have lost their ability to empty their anal glands voluntarily. However, they occasionally empty their glands when they get excited. You may notice this if your dog smells like fish or a similar strong odor, which is likely due to emptying of the anal gland.
Anal glands can get infected or swollen when there is an infection or a blockage between the glands and the anus. Blockage happens mainly due to having diarrhea and passing loose stool. Hence, the anal glands get full since they cannot be emptied due to the blockage. Prior to a rupture in the anal glands, your dog will be particularly focused on his or her anal glands. He or she may be dragging their butt around the house or the carpet, chew on their anal glands, or lick them constantly. Dogs exhibit such behavior because their anal glands are full, and they are unable to empty them voluntarily. When these glands are full, they rupture, and dog owners may mistake this as rectal bleeding; however, it is just the ruptured anal glands leaking out blood mixed with fluid. Though not an emergency, you must visit your vet as soon as possible. The vet will carefully drain and clean your dog’s anal glands and may give some pain killers to help your dog feel better. Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed if the vet feels that it is necessary.

Ingestion Of Sharp Objects

Dogs often ingest foreign bodies; however, in rare circumstances, sharp foreign bodies can cause a puncture in your dog’s internal organs, which can cause blood with diarrhea or rectal bleeding. This is a severe condition requiring an emergency surgical procedure and can quickly become fatal. If you suspect that your dog ate something sharp, immediately take your dog to the emergency room. Dogs can also have rupture or perforation of internal organs if they happen to eat bones that break and form splinters. Hence it is imperative to make sure that your dog never gets a chance to eat bones.


Stress can even cause bleeding in dogs though it is rare. Stressful events can affect your dog’s health and cause colitis, which in turn causes bleeding from the rectum. It is best to introduce changes slowly in your dog’s lifestyle and prevent any sudden or drastic changes. If you are planning to introduce a new dog to the family, slowly introduce your dog to the newcomer instead of putting both of them together in the same place.

Diet Changes

Introducing new foods to your dog can cause colon irritation resulting in bloody diarrhea. This is possible if the dog has never eaten similar food before, and his or her system cannot handle it. Try to introduce new foods slowly and assess their effects on your dog’s health.

Food Intolerance Or Food Allergies

Just like humans, even dogs can suffer from food intolerance and food allergies. If giving a particular food gives your dog diarrhea or bloody stools, refrain from giving it and discuss it with your dog’s vet at your next visit.

Parvovirus Infection

As discussed earlier, a parvovirus infection is similar to an HGE infection, and hence it is necessary to perform a fecal test to diagnose parvovirus infection. The symptoms are diarrhea accompanied by blood, vomiting, and tiredness because of loss of bodily fluids. This is a serious infection, and your dog’s vet will treat it promptly after the diagnosis.


If your dog is older and has bloody stools, there is a possibility that it can be a sign of cancer. Other symptoms may be lethargy, diarrhea, dark stools, or insomnia. The vet can make a diagnosis based on blood and urine tests.

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