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Does my Dog Have a Hemorrhoid?

2011 January 30
black and tan American Pitt Bull Terrier mix

Look at that gigantic smile!

Harley, the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) Mix, Can’t Stop Bleeding from the Butt

“Doc, I think my dog has a hemorrhoid,” said Harley’s mom.

Okay, every veterinarian has heard those words at one point or another in their career. Thing is, dogs don’t sit around on their bums all day. Hence, no hemorrhoids. So, as soon as a pet parent leads with those choice words, the veterinarian starts thinking:

  • Is it a blocked, ruptured anal sac?

    lump under dog's tail treated as abscess

    Ruptured anal sac in a Bichon Frise

  • Is it bloody diarrhea?
  • Is it a scraped lump or skin bump?
  • (Older dog) Is it cancer?

Harley was only 2 years old.  The odds of cancer were none to almost none.  Eating well, looking happy as can be (see picture above!)  The guy just did not look sick.

Then the APBT stood up.  A splash of blood decorated the stainless steel under his tuckus.

Whoa,” thought Doc Truli, “that does look like a mean problem.”

“Let’s have a look,” said Doc Truli.

No cuts or scrapes, no bulges or swelling of impacted anal sacs .  No diarrhea or loose stool.  A trickle of fresh blood, like a tiny crooked little stream extended from the edge of his anus down the short tan fur on his behind.  Doc Truli gloved up for the rectal examination.


Look what popped out of the rectal lining:

bright red 6mm multi-lobulated polyp sticks out from 1 cm into the dog's rectal lining

Red rectal polyp sticks out from the mucosal lining of this dog's rectum

close up of the red rectal polyp

Close up of the red rectal polyp

Harley wasn’t too bothered by the polyp. He thought the humans were being a little melodramatic. His smiled and panted and watched us talk. Doc Truli is convinced he was hoping we were talking about the weather.

“We’ll schedule surgery for tomorrow morning,” said Doc Truli.

“How will he heal?” asked Harley’s mom.

Surgery and Post-Op Recovery After Rectal Polyp Surgery

“The good news is: most dogs do not even feel any different.  The rectal polyp is removed, some stitches are placed.  There is a slight chance of infection, but a much, much lower chance than you would guess considering the anatomical location of the stitches,” said Doc Truli.

Post Operative Instructions for Canine Rectal Polyp Surgery

  • Do not obsess.
  • Do not lift your dog’s tail to check every ten seconds.
  • Do not change the diet.
  • Do give whatever antibiotics and painkillers your veterinarian prescribes.
  • Your dog would probably be fine without the meds.
  • Give them anyway just to be safe.
  • Enjoy your solved problem.

Harley’s Big Surgery Day

The next morning, a miserable dog walked into the animal hospital.  His back arched and he dragged his hind end while copious amounts of blood dripped on the floor.  He probably felt like he had “ants in his pants.”

“Thank you, Doc Truli, for booking the surgery so quickly.  He seemed basically fine until last night.  But now he’s chewing on the polyp and making it bleed all over the house,” said Harley’s mom.

Surgery and Recovery

Surgery went smoothly.  The polyp, luckily, had a narrow stalk base to it.  The small base meant a small incision.  A few stitches.  Then the bleeding stopped.  Just to be absolutely sure, we sent the polyp for histopathological analysis at the laboratory.

The results showed a benign rectal polyp, completely removed.  Episode over!  Harley made a full recovery.  He never even bled after the surgery.  What a wonderful problem to have!

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