If your dog has ever had blood coming from his hind area, chances are you were immediately worried. Bleeding from the rectum is a serious condition in most any species, dogs included, but the source of the bleeding isn’t always the intestinal tract.
One of the more common causes of bleeding from the rectum is an anal gland problem. In the dog, there are two scent glands located just inside the anus at the 4 and 7 o’clock position. Normally, these scent glands excrete a small amount of material on fecal material when it passes, leaving a distinct odor that lets other dogs know who’s poo is whose. A dog can also express his anal glands in response to fright or anger – anyone who has ever been around anal gland liquid can tell you it is a distinct stink.
Sometimes, the anal glands become infected, and can abscess and rupture, leading to bloody discharge that seems like it is coming from the rectum. This condition is usually preceeded by excessive licking and scooting – if you see either, get your dog to the veterinarian ASAP.
Dogs don’t get hemmorhoids like humans, but they can develop hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, which is a serious life-threatening condition of bleeding into the intestines. These dogs present with bloody diarrhea and vomiting, and act very sick because they are. Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, or HGE for short, is treated with antibiotics, an anti-emetic, a bland diet, and fluid therapy: these dogs are usually hospitalized for a day or two. Often, the cause of HGE goes undetermined, but getting into the garbage, eating something they shouldn’t, or exposure to infectious disease such as parvo virus, giardia, and leptospirosis can be prime causes. You can lower your dog’s risk of developing HGE by keeping him away from the garbage, minimizing fatty table scraps, keeping your dog from drinking out of contaminated ponds, lakes or rivers, and getting your dog vaccinted against parvovirus and leptospirosis.
Pooping blood can also be a sign of other serious conditions, such as rat poisoning, foreign body ingestion, other infectious diseases, or clotting disorders. The bottom line is if you are noticing blood in your dog’s stool, collect a sample for your veterinarian to test and then get your dog checked by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will get a history from you and perform a physical exam, and based on those will order tests and treatments.