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Painful Defecation in Dogs: Causes and Treatment

What’s Causing Your Dog’s Pain? continued...

No one knows what causes the disorder, but it may be related to a bacterial toxin or a food sensitivity. Some dogs are more inclined to get the condition, including toy poodles, miniature schnauzers, Pekingese, Shetland sheepdogs, Yorkshire terriers, and King Charles spaniels.

Along with bloody diarrhea and vomit, signs of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis in dogs include loss of appetite and depression. Treatment for this disorder -- which is not thought to be contagious -- includes fluids, diet changes, and antibiotics.

Anal Sac Inflammation

Anal sacs contain a fatty, smelly substance that your dog uses to communicate with other canines. Located under the skin on either side of your dog's anus at about the four o'clock and eight o'clock positions, anal sacs can sometimes become blocked, inflamed, or abscessed, making defecation painful.

Symptoms of anal sac problems include your dog dragging his bottom along the ground, as well as licking and chewing at the area. Swelling may be noted on one or both sides of the anus as well. Treatment varies depending on what's causing the problem but may include expressing the sacs, flushing them with an antiseptic or antibiotic while under general anesthesia, or lancing the sac, again under general anesthesia.

Enlarged Prostate

Painful defecation in dogs can also be the result of an enlarged prostate pressing against your dog's rectum. Several things can cause a prostate to become enlarged, including a tumor, infection, or hormones if the dog is not neutered.

Straining to defecate and blood in the urine are all signs of an enlarged prostate; if infection is the cause of the enlargement, your dog may also urinate more or drink more water. Treating an enlarged prostate depends on what's causing it, but may include surgery, neutering, or a course of antibiotics.

Tips for Collecting Stool Samples

Stool samples are a big part of diagnosing the cause of your dog's painful defecation. When collecting a stool sample for your vet:

  • Remember that fresher is better; a stool sample less than 24 hours old is ideal.
  • Collect at least a teaspoon of stool. Don't worry if there's a little debris like grass or leaves attached.
  • Keep the stool refrigerated, but not frozen. If you or your vet suspects your dog has parasites, don't refrigerate the sample.

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