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Painful Defecation in Dogs: Causes and Treatment

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

Foreign Object

Some dogs have a habit of eating inedible objects like pebbles, bones, or used food wrappers, for example. If your dog does this, it could be the source of your canine companion's painful defecation.

Treatment will depend on the object ingested, the dog’s symptoms, and a physical exam, so always consult your vet if your dog has swallowed something inedible. 

Consider it an emergency if your dog has swallowed string or something with string attached. If the item lodges in one spot, the string can act like a saw, perforating the intestine and leading to life-threatening peritonitis.

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is distinguished by a sudden onset of bloody vomit and diarrhea in a previously healthy dog. The feces can often look like strawberry jam. Take your dog to the vet immediately if he shows these symptoms as untreated hemorrhagic gastroenteritis can be fatal.

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 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.

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