All You Need To Know About Rectal Prolapse In Dogs

Dogs experience rectal prolapse when the internal layers of the rectum stretch out and project from the anus. It typically occurs when dogs try to urinate, defecate, or deliver.

Any sex, age, or breed of dog can have rectal prolapse due to conditions caused by urinary and digestive issues. The rectum’s functionality may deteriorate over time, making the rectal tissue more vulnerable to injury.

This situation calls for immediate veterinarian attention and should be handled as an emergency. Visit your dog’s veterinarian if you notice any rectal prolapse symptoms so they can start treatment immediately.

Here’s all the information about the causes, signs, and remedies for rectal prolapse.

What Is Rectal Prolapse In Dogs?

Rectal prolapse comes in two different forms:

Partial Prolapse

The rectal or/and anal tissue protrudes through the anus, but only a tiny part is noticeable. When your dog stretches, this little part could become visible before it returns naturally to its usual location inside the rectum.

Complete Prolapse

Even though your dog is not straining, the anal tissue and rectal muscle may protrude through the anus. This tissue cannot retrogress to its usual position on its own.

When tissue prolapses, it frequently has a brilliant red hue and may resemble a bloated tube because the tissue is packed with fluid. If the partial prolapse is left untreated, it may eventually become a complete prolapse. The tissue may deteriorate and turn a dark shade of blue or black over time. It indicates that the tissue’s blood flow is limited, and the surrounding muscle may be degenerating.

Rectal Prolapse Symptoms In Dogs

The signs of rectal prolapse are straightforward. Upon careful inspection, a mass that resembles a “doughnut or sausage” and is reddish will protrude from the anus.

The dog could experience discomfort in the area under the skin around the anus. Your pet can struggle to urinate, have a bowel movement, or even have a challenging birth. The protruding tissue triggers the tendency of the dog to keep straining.

Causes Of Rectal Prolapse In Dogs

Inner parasitic conditions and diarrhea are dogs’ most frequent causes of rectal prolapse. Though it can affect dogs of any age, the illness primarily affects pups below six months.

Rectal prolapse may also occur as a result of the following conditions:

  • A urethral obstruction (the urethra is a pipe that conducts urine) or an inflamed prostrate gland that makes it difficult to urinate
  • Bowel blockage from eating strange foods or items.
  • Straining in pregnant dogs with dystocia (stressful birth)
  • Anatomical birth challenges
  • Rectal polyps (cells clumps)
  • Anus or rectum tumors
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Struggling to urinate
  • Intestinal swelling or irritability
  • Viral or bacterial infection
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Anal or rectal tumors
  • Bleeding in the bladder
  • Perineal hernia
  • Urinary system stones
  • Rectus deviation
  • Anal or rectal constriction (induced by scar tissue from inflammation or injury)

Treating Rectal Prolapse In Dogs

The vet will conduct a comprehensive physical examination by cautiously feeling the rectum. In case of complete prolapse, you will see an elongated tube of tissue visibly hanging. Depending on the exposure duration, these organs may be inflamed or discolored.

In addition, both abdominal ultrasounds and X-rays are crucial diagnostic techniques. It is also necessary to perform a fecal examination to look for parasites.

Bloodwork can detect a rise in white blood cell count in dogs, indicating inflammation or extensive infection.

How To Treat Severe Rectal Prolapse?

The vet will surgically remove the dead or dying rectal tissue in case of severe prolapse. Based on the needs of the dog, there are three alternatives:

Put The Rectum Back Into Place

This technique entails securing the tissue with a “purse string” stitch around the anus. Replacement of the prolapsed tissue often necessitates general anesthesia.

The vet will use a 50% dextrose topical application or lubricating gels to massage the exposed tissue carefully. It will assist in reducing the swelling of the prolapsed tissue and restoring it to the anus’s usual anatomic location.

The doctor will then apply a purse-string suture around the anal opening for 5-7 days after minimizing the prolapse. The suture helps protect the anal orifice and decreases the chance of the prolapse reoccurring.

The procedure is rapid, relatively simple, not highly invasive, and has little complication risks. However, this operation has the highest failure rate, which can be very disheartening. If the rectal prolapse recurs, you can try another purse string or switch to a more invasive procedure.


This surgical procedure is necessary if the rectum is still functioning. The vet will first open the abdomen, then staple the colon to the abdomen’s inner wall to keep the rectum from moving out of place.

Deep Surgery

If the rectum has been severely wounded, the portion that fell out must be removed. Of the three surgeries, this one is arguably the most technically challenging. While some family veterinarians might feel confident doing these procedures, others may recommend you to a board-certified surgeon.

Treating Underlying Causes

The vet will treat these underlying problems concurrently with the prolapse:

1. Urethral Obstruction

To stop your dog’s straining and avoid injury or rupture to the urinary bladder and urethra, treat urethral abnormalities while your dog is under anesthesia.

2. Dystocia (Complicated Birth)

Dogs unable to push the baby out will also need surgical assistance (cesarean section) to remove the pup successfully. Long-term straining during a difficult birth might cause exhaustion to the mother, rectal prolapse, a ruptured uterus, or the puppy possibly dying.

3. Bowel Obstruction

A foreign body blockage in the bowel could cause a prolapse. Hence, treat it to prevent tissue injury to the intestines.

4. Enlarged Prostate

Male dogs (intact, not neutered) with rectal prolapse must undergo treatment since it can induce straining by partially obstructing urine flow via the urethra.

Sometimes the treatment could be as easy as taking an anti-parasite medication.

If need be, the dislocated rectum must be placed back in position through surgery.

How To Ensure A Quick Rectal Prolapse Recovery In Dogs?

Most rectum illnesses have a positive diagnosis. However, prolonged monitoring and dietary adjustments are required.

Look out for diarrhea, pee or feces strains, and pain when walking or sitting. Keep track of any abnormalities in bowel or urine patterns since clogs in any of these organs can develop into an emergency rapidly.

After treatment, your vet will undoubtedly want to check on your pet regularly to ensure the prolapse hasn’t returned. And if it has, the doctor can treat it quickly to prevent irreversible harm to your dog.

Take away

Rectal prolapse is a relatively common condition in dogs and can occur for various reasons. In most cases, it is caused by a weakness in the muscles and connective tissues that support the anus, allowing the organ to slip out of place.

This illness can result from an underlying medical condition, such as chronic diarrhea, or it may simply be from straining during bowel movements.

While rectal prolapse is not necessarily a life-threatening condition, it can be uncomfortable for your dog and lead to further health problems if left untreated.

If you suspect your dog is suffering from rectal prolapse, seek veterinary care immediately. The practitioner will restore the projecting rectal and anal material to its correct position.

With prompt treatment and checkups, most dogs fully recover and return to normal activities within a few days.

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