Why is There Mucus in Dog Stool?
Mucus in dog stool is quite a normal occurrence; indeed the mucus is there for a purpose. In a healthy puppy or dog, the intestines produce mucus so the lining of the colon is kept nicely lubricated and moist. However, everything in moderation.
While you might not need to worry for a small amount of mucus, you may want to consult with your vet if you notice excessive amounts, especially if accompanied by other symptoms.
The Role of Mucus in Dog's Stool
What does mucus in a dog's stool look like? In most cases, the mucus looks like a slimy discharge with a jelly-like consistency, but sometimes it can be found completely enveloping the stools almost like a sausage casing. Some describe it as having a shiny, egg-white consistency that is often noticed at the end of the bowel movement but the mucus can also be seen around stool. This mucus is produced by special glands found in the dog's intestinal tract, in particular on mucosal surfaces in the colon, the dog's large, lower section of the intestine. As mentioned, the purpose of mucus is to keep the area moist and allow the stools to easily slide through.
When you notice excessive mucus in your dog's stool, that's often indicative of an inflammation of the colon. The colon gets red and irritated, and when it's inflamed, it produces an extra layer of mucus as a protective role. The medical term for an inflamed colon is "colitis." What causes colitis in dogs? There are many potential causes. Read the article on dog colitis, to go more in detail on what happens when a dog has colitis, its symptoms and treatment.
Causes of Mucus in Dog Stool
[adinserter block="4"]Whether your dog has mucus with diarrhea, mucus with diarrhea and blood, or mucus around dog's stool, you may be wondering what is causing it in the first place. As mentioned, an overproduction of mucus is often indicative of an inflamed colon. The mucus has a protective role, so it's important to determine its cause with the help of your vet so to see what the colon is trying to protect itself from. Let's now take a look at some possible causes of mucus in your dog's stool. Here are a few.
- A Case of Colitis
If your dog dogs has mucus and diarrhea in the stool, this is often indicative of colitis. Generally, the stool starts as soft, or pudding-like and then turns gelatinous, shiny and mucoid at the end. It's not unusual to also notice a drop or two of blood in the dog's stool. Colitis can be caused by various reasons, and many of them are mentioned below.
- Stressful Situations
Stress can cause the colon to get inflamed. When a dog is stressed, the stool's transit times increase causing the release of diarrhea and mucus. Often, the stool in stressed dogs starts as soft and then ends mushy with some blobs of mucus and perhaps even some droplets of blood. This bloods is seen because a small erosion may form on the colon when inflamed. Stressful situations may include boarding, a recent move, travel and any potential frightening experiences.
- Dietary indiscretion
Dogs tend to get into the most unusual items. If your dograided the trash can or stole food from your dish, his stomach may be upset. Your dog may have eaten too much or dietary changes may have overwhelmed your dog's digestive system. Regardless of the cause, your dog may end up with an inflamed colon, and therefore, he may get mucus in his stool. If you suspect your dog ingested something toxic or swallowed a foreign item or bones, please see the emergency vet immediately.
- Food intolerance
Sometimes, dogs have trouble digesting certain foods. We are not talking about food allergies here. Food allergies are known for causing those annoying bouts of itching and scratching. Instead, food intolerance in dogs have nothing to do with the immune system. So forget about histamine, or IgE and IgG antibodies. Instead, in the case of food intolerance, we're talking about there the release of IgA and IgM antibodies in the dog's bowel's mucosal secretions causing symptoms of upset stomach, flatulence, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Recent diet changes
As the saying goes: "slow and steady wins the race". Anytime you must change your dog's diet, you need to do it very gradually. This is even written on bags of dog food in the fine print. Too bad not many people read this little warning which can save their dogs from an inflamed colon with the accompanying mucus and possible blood.
Dogs and puppies are vulnerable to a variety of pesky parasites who can't wait to establish in the dog's gut. Once established, they wreck quite some havoc on the dog's digestive system and the dog's overall well-being when infestations are quite severe. Whipworms and other protozoans such as coccidia and giardia are know to irritate the dog's colon, which can lead to digestive problems and mucus in the dog's stool.
- Overgrowth of bacteria
[adinserter block="5"]All dogs have bacteria in their digestive system to aid them in the digestion process and in the absorption of nutrients. However, the wrong type of bacteria can cause trouble. A symptom seen in dogs with Clostridial enterotoxicosis, a bacteria found in decaying vegetation, improperly cooked meats or among dogs in boarding kennels, includes diarrhea with shiny mucus on its surface along with flatulence and the occasional vomiting.
As seen, there are several causes for pathological quantities of mucus in the dog's stool, but there are many more. Other causes may include irritable bowel syndrome, cancer and sometimes blockages.
While some causes of mucus in the dog's stool are minor, several can be quite serious, so it's best to play it safe and see a vet, especially if the dog has other accompanying symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, bloody stools, abdominal pain, fever or lethargy. In some cases though, the presence of mucus is short lived, generally lasting for a couple of days, as seen in the case of mild digestive upset due to abrupt dietary changes. In such as case, fasting and following the instructions inthis article for dog upset stomach home remedies may be helpful.
Did you know?
According to veterinarianW. Jean Dodds, food intolerance is quite common, ranking as "the third most common sensitivity condition in dogs and cats."