What does it mean?
There are many reasons why a dog’s stool would have blood or mucus. It can indicate that your dog has an upset stomach from eating bad food, inflammation of the colon (colitis), internal parasites (such as round worms), a viral infection (like parvovirus), a bacterial infection, an intestinal foreign body, cancer, allergies, or autoimmune disorders (such as inflammatory bowel disease). Unfortunately, seeing blood and mucus in your dog’s stool is only a symptom of something wrong. It doesn’t identify the actual cause of the problem.
What should you do?
With so many possible causes ranging from the benign to the deadly, the best thing to do is to take your pet to the veterinarian. After performing a complete examination, your veterinarian will probably want a stool sample. Be sure to bring a fresh stool sample from your pet. Of course, if your dog is not eating or drinking or appears lethargic, it is imperative that you bring them to the veterinarian immediately rather than waiting to collect a stool sample.
Your veterinarian will do a thorough examination to check your pet’s overall health and look for signs of illness. In addition, they will likely check your pet’s stool for intestinal parasites by performing a fecal flotation. Intestinal parasites are rarely seen because they live inside your pet’s intestinal tract. However, they pass microscopic eggs or spores in your pet’s stool. A fecal flotation, also called a fecal, enables your veterinarian to determine if your pet has intestinal parasites. Parasites that can cause blood or mucus in your dog’s stool include hookworms, whipworms and giardia. Depending on your dog’s other symptoms and examination findings, your veterinarian may also want to test for viral diseases, such as parvovirus, or do screening blood work to look for other illnesses. If your veterinarian suspects a foreign body obstruction, they will likely suggest a radiograph (x-ray) or other type of imaging, like an ultrasound.
Treatment of course depends on the cause. If the blood and mucus are merely a result of a night of eating garbage, your veterinarian may recommend a special diet for a few days and medication. If parasites are the cause, your veterinarian will prescribe medications to deworm your dog and discuss how to safely clean up the environment to prevent reinfection. Viral infections like parvovirus can be life threatening and often require hospitalization, intravenous fluids, antibiotics (for secondary infections), and additional medications to control pain and vomiting. Foreign body obstructions are also deadly and emergent surgery is usually indicated. Ultimately your veterinarian will determine the best treatment based on your dog’s diagnosis and overall condition.
If you notice that your dog has blood or mucus in their stool, remember to see your veterinarian and be sure to bring a fresh stool sample too.