This article was updated on May 18th, 2023
As a veterinarian, I have occasionally seen dog owners who were concerned because their pooch had blood and mucus in the poop, sometimes with diarrhea. In this article, we’ll discuss the most likely causes of blood and mucus in your dog’s poop and what you can do about it. Then, we’ll explain when you should take your dog to the vet and how he will treat your fur baby.
WARNING: Some images below are not for sensitive viewers – but may help you understand potential causes of your dog’s issues.
What do blood and mucus in dog’s stool look like? (And what it means)
In this article, we will present several images showing blood and mucus in a dog’s poop or diarrhea. Depending on the cause, blood and mucus in your dog’s stool can vary in appearance. Let’s review:
1. Raspberry jam or jelly appearance
When your dog’s poop or part of his stool resembles raspberry jam, it can indicate inflammation in the gut (hemorrhagic gastroenteritis).
2. Bright red (undigested) blood with mucus
You may also notice poop that looks bright red and has mucus. Undigested blood, or hematochezia, points to an issue in the large intestine such as colitis.
3. Blood-tinged diarrhea with mucus
In this close-up of some dog diarrhea, the feces include mucus and streaks or a tinge of blood. You may see this type of stool in dogs with intestinal parasites.
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4. Pure blood and mucus
If you see your dog poop blood and mucus without any feces, he probably has a gastrointestinal infection and there’s no stool left in his digestive system.
What should I do if I find blood and mucus in my dog’s poop?
If you notice blood and mucus in your dog’s stool, you should assess the situation. Observe the poop and check for other symptoms.
Sometimes, you’ll see traces of blood and mucus because a recent diet change or food causes mild gut irritation. If there’s a small amount of blood and mucus in the feces and your dog appears otherwise normal, you can probably observe him for a few days and see if it resolves. In the meantime
- Make sure your pooch has free access to water
- If you don’t already supplement your pal’s diet with probiotics, talk to your veterinarian about giving your dog some probiotics to support normal gut function
- Feed your pooch a bland diet such as boiled rice and lean chicken to rest his gut
However, if there’s copious blood and mucus, or the symptoms persist beyond 1-2 days, you should
- Observe the nature of the feces and note whether there are any worms in the stool
- Collect a stool sample
- Contact your veterinarian and report the signs and any other symptoms you notice. and schedule an exam
What are the most likely causes of blood and mucus in my dog’s stool?
1. Intestinal parasites
Certain intestinal parasites such as giardia, hookworms, and whipworms can cause your dog to have blood and mucus in his poop. Signs of parasite infections include:
- Bloody stool with mucus
- Weight loss
You usually will not notice worms in your dog’s poop, so a fecal exam is the best way to confirm the presence of parasites. Intestinal parasites can usually be effectively treated with the proper anthelmintic drug. Generally, the prognosis following treatment is good.
2. Inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease(IBD) refers to chronic infection and inflammation of any part of the gastrointestinal tract. There are a variety of underlying causes of the syndrome including food sensitivities and genetics. Symptoms of IBD include:
- Bloody mucus in the stool, stool may be black/dark red
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Loss of appetite
There is no cure for IBD, but it can usually be effectively controlled. For treatment, your veterinarian will prescribe anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive medications and will probably recommend a specialized diet that features novel or hydrolyzed proteins. IBD is a lifelong condition, and the prognosis for a quality of life depends on the severity of the clinical symptoms.
3. Viral infection
Viral infections that affect the gastrointestinal system such as parvovirus or coronavirus are infectious diseases that can spread between dogs. Symptoms may include:
- Severe, watery diarrhea with blood and mucus
- Repeated vomiting
- Severe abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
Dogs with intestinal viruses like parvovirus usually receive supportive care to help them fight the disease. Treatment will include hospitalization with:
Disclaimer: This content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your vet for health decisions. Learn more.
- IV fluids
- antinausea/antiemetic drugs
- Pain medications
- Antidiarrheal drugs
- Parenteral nutrition
Early diagnosis and treatment are key to your dog’s recovery and prognosis. When the infections are caught and treated quickly and intensively, the chances for recovery are good.
Colitis is inflammation of the large intestines. It can be acute or chronic and has a variety of possible causes. Signs include:
- Bright red blood and mucus in the stool
- Sudden diarrhea that ranges from soft to watery stool
- Straining to poop
- More frequent and urgent defecation with smaller quantities of stool
- Pain during defecation
The treatment for colitis varies depending on the underlying cause of the condition. Your veterinarian may prescribe:
- Antibiotics such as metronidazole, tylosin, or sulfasalazine
- Prebiotic and probiotic supplements
- Fiber supplements to bulk up the stool
- A bland or prescription diet
- Glucocorticoids as a last resort to manage inflammation
Acute colitis usually responds well to treatment and has a positive prognosis. The prognosis for chronic colitis varies depending on the underlying cause. In some cases, dogs can fully recover. However, other cases require lifelong management.
Acute inflammation of the stomach and intestines is known as gastroenteritis. This disease has many potential underlying causes. In severe cases, your dog may have bloody diarrhea and vomiting(hemorrhagic gastroenteritis). This is a medical emergency. Signs of gastroenteritis include:
- Sudden bloody diarrhea with mucus
- Vomiting with or without blood
Treatment for gastroenteritis depends on the cause and symptoms of the disease and may include:
- IV fluid therapy
- Fasting until there’s no vomiting for 12 hours followed by frequent, small, bland meals
With early diagnosis and aggressive treatment, dogs usually have a good prognosis for recovery.
When should I take my dog to the vet?
When you notice blood and mucus in your dog’s poop, a visit to the vet is recommended. However, you may wait a few days and observe your pup if he has
- Small amounts of blood and mucus in his poop
- Normal appetite and activity level.
- No vomiting
- Diarrhea that resolves within 2 days
If you notice any of these symptoms, an urgent visit to your vet within a day or two is warranted.
- Frequent or copious mucus and blood in the stool or completely liquid diarrhea
- Decrease in appetite
- Frequent defecation
- Straining when defecating
- Occasional vomiting
We recommend an immediate visit to an ER vet if your dog has mucus and blood in the stool in addition to these symptoms:
- Complete lack of energy/weakness
- Black, tarry stools
- Pale gums
- Difficulty or increased effort with breathing
- Severe/repetitive vomiting, unable to keep food or water down
- Pain or bloating in the abdomen
What will happen at the vet?
When you take your dog to the vet, he will start by taking a history. Be prepared to answer questions such as
- When the symptoms first appeared
- Whether there have been any changes in diet or routine
- If your dog recently ate anything unusual such as garbage or a dead animal
- If your dog has been in contact with other animals
Once the doctor has a complete history, he will conduct a physical exam and run diagnostic tests that may include
- Fecal flotation and culture
- Viral antigen tests
- Tissue biopsies
Treatment varies depending on the diagnosis as listed in the section above. The average office visit is $100-150. Additional costs for diagnosing and treating the various conditions range widely depending on the extent of testing. The average expenses based on the condition are listed below.
- Diagnosis and treatment of intestinal parasites average $50-150 but may be higher in severe cases.
- Inflammatory bowel disease treatment costs can range from $500-3,000.
- Treatment for viral infections also averages $500-3,000 but may be higher in the case of severe infections.
- When dogs have colitis, there may be recurrent bouts. The cost per course of treatment generally averages $500 but may reach $1000 or more in severe cases.
- Gastroenteritis in dogs can cost $500-2000 or more for treatment.
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