Digestive System: Bloody Canine Diarrhea

Causes of Bloody Diarrhea:

Signs and Symptoms:

There are two forms of bloody diarrhea in dogs, as defined by the cause, in the large or small intestine. Any deformity in the large intestine may cause diarrhea. The diarrhea will appear to have a significant amount of of fluid and the blood will appear bright red from fresh blood. An affected dog defecates frequently with low volume of fluid. Such a condition may also be called hematochezia.

Dog bloody diarrhea, due to any problem in the small intestine is represented by tarry, black stools. When a dog with a small intestine problem defecates, there will be a large volume of fluid. Another name for this type of canine diarrhea is melena.

Anemia (low red blood cell count) and dehydration are the two main symptoms correlated with canine bloody diarrhea. Dehydration, hypovolemic shock (sudden drop in blood pressure) and death in puppies are usually caused by the anemia and dehydration.


Determining the cause of the condition and whether the problem is in the small or large intestine is very important, as it may describe the involvement of different causative factors. Examination of the stool in the lab may help in isolating any bacteria or virus as the cause. Total Blood Count (TBC) may help in describing the degree of the anemia.

Dog bloody diarrhea due to canine parvovirus may be confirmed by different tests such as ELISA and the haemagglutination tests.


Three different approaches should be followed to treat dog bloody diarrhea, treating the cause, supportive therapy and management.

Elimination of the underlying cause is important. If it is a Virus, such as canine parvovirus, can never be specifically treated, but supportive fluid therapy and the use of broad spectrum antibiotics will help in controlling further complications.

Similarly, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis should be diagnosed for its possible cause. First the dog will be checked for anemia and hydration prior to the use of anti-biotics to avoid a severe reaction to the medications. If the problem is due to E. coli or the clostridium species, and is severe, the medications Ampicillin (20 mg/Kg B.W, IV) and Gentamicin (2.2 mg/Kg B.W, SC) are used.

Fluid therapy by Lactate Ringer’s 5 – 7% solution or oral ringer’s solution are considered to be effective. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in a canine parvovirus infection is common; therefore glucose 5% should be added to the infusion. A blood transfusion is only needed if the anemia turns to “Low – Degree”, degrees of anemia are usually based upon hematological (blood) studies.

An added boost could be provided from a homeopathic remedy such as RunniPoo Relief.  As always consult with a veterinarian to determine if this approach would be helpful for dog's specific condition.  Herbal and homeopathic ingredients have a history of helping dogs have firmer stools and with overall bowel function.