How to treat a puppy with a rectal prolapse

Updated February 21, 2017

A puppy with a rectal prolapse presents a potentially life-threatening situation. Puppies are already very vulnerable to disease and infection, so you should deal with your puppy's rectal prolapse and determine its cause as soon as possible. A rectal prolapse is usually caused by an internal parasite. The rectum protrudes from the anus and can becomes extremely painful for your dog. If your puppy is not able to defecate properly, it could die in a matter of days. Therefore it's imperative that you contact your vet right away if you notice the symptoms of rectal prolapse.

Examine and observe your puppy for signs of rectal prolapse. A dog with an anal prolapse may strain significantly when defecating. The actual prolapse will appear as a sausage-like hunk of tissue at least two inches long protruding from the dog's anus. You may also notice the puppy excessively licking the genital and anal area.

Take your puppy to the vet right away if you suspect anal prolapse. It's possible that the prolapse is the small intestine and not the rectum, presenting an even more serious problem. The vet will likely ask for a stool sample to test for internal parasites, the most common cause of rectal prolapse. The vet may also take some anal X-rays to determine the cause.

Follow the vet's recommendations for treatment. The vet will likely push the prolapse back into place manually or perform surgery, depending on the severity of the prolapse. Often a suture is placed in the anus to keep the tissue in place while allowing the animal to defecate. Sometimes the tissue will need to be amputated, though this can present a series of other complications.

Care for your puppy at home and monitor recovery carefully. You may need to change the dog's diet if something is causing constipation and irritation of the bowels. Your vet might prescribe antibiotics if an intestinal parasite is found. Make sure the anus stays moist and clean to prevent infection. Discourage your dog from licking or scratching the anal and genital area.

Take your puppy outside to do his business as much as possible. Many dogs recovering from rectal prolapse will have accidents and exhibit loss of bladder or bowel control.


Take your dog in for deworming and fecal examination on a regular basis to avoid parasites that can lead to rectal prolapse.


Do not give your puppy painkillers or any other medications unless they are approved by your vet.

Things You'll Need

  • Antibiotics
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About the Author

Charlie Higgins is journalist, editor and translator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has written for a variety of lifestyle and niche market websites, including International Food Trader, The Olive Oil Times, microDINERO, Sounds and Colours, Connecting Worlds and The Buenos Aires Reader.