A rectal prolapse in dogs occurs when part of the rectum gets pushed out of the anus. The condition is treatable and commonly occurs in puppies younger than 6 months old.
Prolonged and forceful straining due to constipation, diarrhoea, parasites or an obstruction can lead to a rectal prolapse. This condition usually develops in older dogs as a result of rectal tumours or injuries.
A rectal prolapse appears as a red or pink mass of tissue several inches long that protrudes from the anus. Dogs with this condition often lick the area excessively.
A physical exam, fecal exam and abdominal X-rays can be used to diagnose a rectal prolapse. Insertion of a blunt probe can also help determine whether the tissue is from the rectum or small intestine. A small intestine prolapse is a more serious condition.
A rectal prolapse containing live and mildly damaged tissue can be pushed back into place by a veterinarian. A suture prevents the tissue from coming out again. Dried up, severely damaged or dead tissue requires surgical removal.
Waiting to have this condition treated increases your dog's chances of needing surgery, which carries the risk of severe infection or fecal incontinence. If immediate help isn't available, the area should be kept moist and protected from trauma until medical treatment can be given.