Dog Blood in Stool and Frequent Stretching

by Rachel


I'm a very stressed out owner to a 5 year old long hair Chihuahua. She has been sick for 3 weeks today. She initially had bloody diarrhea & bloody emesis for which she was hospitalized for 3 days & given fluids & antibiotics. She completed her course of antibiotics yesterday & today had another minor episode with blood streaks in stool.

In the course of the 3 weeks we've been in & out of vets office with constipation problems & decreased appetite, which they treated with enemas & lactulose. It's seemed as if we finally had normal formed soft stool & return of appetite prior to this last incident. Another observation has been frequent stretching of abdomen. I know dogs stretch, but this seems more like she feels something in there & wants to stretch it out. Maybe I'm just crazy, but I'm well aware of my dog’s normal behaviors.

I feel this is significant & the three vets I have told seem to just nod when I tell them. She is a well vaccinated dog, but behind on heart worm prevention d/t recent illness. Her stool showed no parasites & no overgrowth of bacteria. Lab work has checked out.

Next step may need to be colonoscopy which I don't want to put her through.

Any thoughts????

Vet Suggestion Dog with Chronic Diarrhea and Frequent Stretching

Hi Rachel,

I don’t think your observation of frequent stretching is crazy at all. This certainly could be a sign of abdominal discomfort. Has your dog had abdominal x-rays and an ultrasound? If your dog were my patient, I would certainly recommend these diagnostic tests before endoscopy/colonoscopy. X-rays and ultrasound are often better in combination since some problems are visible on one test but not the other.

I usually start with the x-rays (they’re cheaper and easier to perform) and if the answer isn’t evident, move on the ultrasound. Your veterinarian may have to refer you to a specialist for an ultrasound.

If the answer to your dog’s chronic diarrhea is not evident after blood work (including some specific tests for pancreatic function and other conditions that are difficult to diagnose on a general panel), several fecal exams, a urinalysis, x-rays, and an ultrasound, I would consider endoscopy or exploratory surgery. Some GI problems cannot be diagnosed without biopsies so this is not an unusual position to find yourself in.

If at any point you feel that your dog would be better served by seeing a specialist, do not hesitate to ask for a referral.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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