Imagine this, waking up one morning and letting your dog in the garden to do their business, when suddenly you notice a big pile of black poo! Is this serious? What has caused this? What should I do?
As gross as it may seem, checking your dogs (and cats!) faeces on a regular basis is extremely important and I hope that after reading this article I can convince you to start. The following will explain what black poo could mean and how it can be investigated by your Vet.
Overview of Melena (Bloody Stools) in Dogs
Melena, in dogs, is the presence of digested blood in the feces and makes the stools appear black and tarry. Melena is different from fresh blood in the stool (hematochezia). Melena may represent a severe, life-threatening illness, and should not be ignored. It must especially be addressed if it persists or worsens.
Melena develops when bleeding occurs into the stomach or small intestines. The bleeding must be high in the intestinal tract in order for the blood to be digested and become discolored. Bleeding into the colon or rectum (hematochezia) appears as fresh blood in the stool.
A thorough history and physical examination are often helpful in determining if melena is present and in suggesting an underlying cause. To determine the exact cause of melena in dogs, additional tests are usually necessary and include the following:
There are several things your veterinarian might prescribe to treat your dog symptomatically while results of diagnostic tests are pending:
Administer any prescribed medications and follow all dietary recommendations as directed by your veterinarian. Observe your dog’s general activity and appetite, and watch closely for the recurrence of melena, and/or presence of blood in any vomitus. Additionally, report any other signs to your veterinarian.
What is Tarry Feces due to Presence of Blood?
Blood in your dog’s stool is an important sign that something may be wrong with his digestive system. While a red stool can occur occasionally, dark and tarry stools are a sign of something possibly more serious. The dark and tarry look means that the blood has been digested and has made its way into the upper (small) intestine. The black color of melena is caused by iron in the blood becoming oxygenated when it passes through the ileum and colon. There are many reasons for the presence of melena, but they are all cause for concern so a visit to your veterinarian is essential to your dog’s health. Some of the reasons for melena are listed below.
Tarry feces due to the presence of blood (melena) makes your dog’s stools look black and tarry. There is a difference between fresh blood in your dog’s stool (hematochezia) and melena because the latter can be a sign of a serious or fatal disorder that will need medical attention right away. Melena appears black (from the upper intestine because it is digested) and hematochezia will appear bright or dark red (from the lower intestine or anus because it has not been digested). The blood can be coming from your dogs lungs, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, or upper (small) intestine and this can mean a serious disorder. It is vital that you take your dog to the veterinarian or an emergency animal clinic or hospital as soon as possible. Youtube Play
Tarry Feces due to Presence of Blood Average Cost
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This condition produces large amounts of blood in a dogs stool, along with other symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Often the cause is unknown, but your dog may need intravenous fluids and medications before the issue subsides.
How long does dog melena last?
Individuals with melena may be treated as outpatients if there are minimal systemic signs, especially if there is a known cause that can be removed immediately. Dietary recommendations vary depending on the cause; however, a bland diet that is easy to digest may be recommended.
What do you do if your dog has melena?
How does a dog get melena?