As a dog owner, the sight of dark bloody mucus in your dog's stool can be quite alarming. When there is digested blood in a dog's faeces the stool will appear black and tarry, this is called melena. The presence of dark red blood may indicate bleeding in the dog's gastrointestinal tract.
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There are many possible causes of melena. A very common cause is an ulcer. Signs that a dog may have a stomach ulcer will not only include dark red blood in the stool but also vomiting, loss of appetite and weakness.
Other causes of melena are; cancer, the presence of a foreign body in the stomach or intestinal tract, some bleeding disorders, or a haemorrhage within the intestinal tract.
Signs to Watch For
If you notice dark red blood in your dog's stool, look for these other signs which indicate that there could be a serious problem:
- If the stools are so dark they appear almost black
- Drinking excessively, which could lead to more frequent urination
- Loss of appetite or a decrease in appetite, which will lead to weight loss
What to Do Next
Calling a veterinarian and scheduling an immediate appointment is definitely the next step, should your dog exhibit the above signs and symptoms of a problem.
What to Consider
To figure out what contributed to the presence of melena in a dog's stool, give in depth consideration to what the dog may have done in the days prior to exhibiting signs that there is a problem.
- Was the dog playing with any small children's toys that they could have swallowed?
- Was the dog chewing apart one of it's own toys in which they may have swallowed a piece of the toy?
- Has the dog been on any medication that could have caused it to get an ulcer? Some anti-inflammatory medications can cause ulcers in dogs.
- Does the dog have a history of tumours?
All of the above need to be considered and talked over with the veterinarian so they may be able to begin ruling out causes.
Of course, only a veterinarian should give out an itinerary of treatment. However, here are some common ways melena is treated:
- Feeding a bland diet
- Avoiding certain medications that may irritate the gastrointestinal tract
- In some cases, medications that block the production of stomach acid and actually coat the stomach itself may be prescribed
- Depending on the reason for the presence of melena, surgery and/or hospitalisation may be required.
If you suspect your dog may have eaten something that is blocking their digestive tract, it is imperative that you have them seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
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