Dog Hematochezia (Blood in Stool) Treatment With Flagyl

Dog hematochezia is indicated by the presence of dog blood in stool samples. The blood is fresh and bright red. This condition should not be confused with melena, which also includes blood in the stools but produces dark, tarry excrement.

What Causes Bloody Stools in Dogs?

Hematochezia is caused by bleeding in the lower intestine. Although the presence of fresh blood in your dog's stools could be a minor problem, it could also be a symptom of a more serious underlying health issue. One occurrence of bloody stools may not be a cause for concern. However, if it happens more than once then it is best to ask your vet to examine your dog. Possible causes are:

  • Parasites in younger animals
  • Cancer in older dogs
  • An allergy or food intolerance
  • Polyps (benign masses) in the lower intestine
  • Injury to the bowel or rectum
  • A disease affecting the lower intestine, bowel or rectum
  • A kind of inflammatory bowel disease, for instance, colitis
  • Problems with blood clotting

There may be no other signs of illness if your dog has bloody stools. However, it may also be affected by vomiting and diarrhea, weight loss, lack of appetite and excessive drinking and urination.

How Flagyl Can Help

Although there are many potential causes for hematochezia, the most common in younger dogs is parasites. Flagyl is an effective treatment against parasites that live in the intestines or bowels, especially Giardia.

Flagyl is the brand name for Metronidazole, an antibiotic. It is used to treat a type of bacteria called protozoa. The antibiotic works by altering the DNA of the bacterial and protozoa cells. This prevents them from reproducing and slows the infection down.

Possible Flagyl Side Effects

When prescribed by a vet, medication is usually safe. However, side effects from Flagyl are possible.

Vomiting is a common side effect and can make the experience of taking Flagyl very unpleasant for your dog. A much rarer, but potentially very dangerous, side effect is liver damage. The drug is metabolized in the liver and can occasionally cause or worsen liver damage. Once the liver is damaged, the drug can't be metabolized and can build up in the blood stream, something which can be toxic to your dog. The following are symptoms of Flagyl toxicity:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Uneven or staggering walk
  • Involuntary eye movements occurring constantly (also called nystagmus)
  • Seizures

Although the effects of Flagyl toxicity can be severe, they can all usually be cured by stopping the medication and allowing your dog to recover.

Unless your dog is exhibiting symptoms of a bad reaction to Flagyl, you should always finish the course of medication prescribed by your vet. Even if the problem seems to have cleared up, stopping the medication before the course is finished could allow the infection to return and make it harder to treat in the future.