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Treatment For a Puppy with Rectal Prolapse

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Puppy with Rectal Prolapse

If you have a puppy with rectal prolapse, you may be wondering what the treatment for a puppy with rectal prolapse may entail. Unfortunately, there are no treatment options that are safe to perform at home, only temporary measures that you can implement until you are able to see your vet. This is because left untreated, rectal prolapse in puppies can lead to several potential complications. Time is of the essence, so you want to see your vet at your earliest convenience so that correct treatment can be initiated and the underlying cause can be properly addressed.

 Picture of puppy rectal prolapse.

Picture of puppy rectal prolapse.

A Closer Insight 

Rectal prolapse is a pretty common condition found in puppies under 6 months of age that are prone to diarrhea and develop the prolapse secondary to the excessive straining. In order to better understand treatment for a puppy with a rectal prolapse, it's important to first understand exactly what happens when a puppy develops such prolapse. Normally, in ideal conditions, the dog's rectum stays in place so that it can perform its normal bodily functions associated with evacuation (emptying the bowels).

In a puppy suffering from a prolapse, the rectum slips out of place with the end result of it protruding. The protrusion is difficult to ignore, it look like a tubular piece of tissue protruding and puppy owners often describe it as "my puppy has a doughnut-like' mass" or "my puppy has a bubble sticking out" or "my puppy has hemorrhoids."

It's important though to point out that puppies do not get hemorrhoids as it happens in people. Dogs lack the veins that dilate and turn into hemorrhoids as seen in people, explains veterinarian Dr. Rebecca. It is therefore pointless applying Preparation H since the problem is non-related to hemorrhoids and it won't get the prolapsed rectum back inside; however, Preparation H may just help a bit in reducing the swelling.

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There are two types of rectal prolapse in puppies: an incomplete prolapse which only involves the inner layer of rectal tissue which temporarily protrudes after defecating, or a complete prolapse which affects the whole rectum which remains out and requires veterinary attention to be repaired.

On top of diarrhea, puppies may develop a prolapsed rectum from constipation, coughing fits and congenital abnormalities.

Risks of Delays 

Full thickness external rectal prolapse.

Full thickness external rectal prolapse.

If your puppy has a rectal prolapse, as mentioned, you want to see your vet right away. This is because the prolapsed tissue is at risk. The prolapsed rectal tissue is not meant to be slipping outside and exposed to the damaging drying effect of the air.

If the tissue is exposed too long to air, it can become dry, traumatized and the tissue may end up dying. Signs of trouble include the tissue turning dark red, blue, purple or black which is indicative of the tissue dying or starting to die.

On top of that, a puppy with a rectal prolapse is at risk for struggling to defecate. This happens because left untreated, the prolapse may evolve into secondary strictures. Puppies under the age of 6 months are used to defecate even up to 3 to 4 times a day and delays in emptying the bowel can cause illness and even death if left untreated for too long.

At the Vet's Office What You Can Do

dog's heart is beating fast

As mentioned, rectal prolapse in puppies is one of those conditions where you want to see the vet promptly. You do not want to waste time at home trying home remedies or hoping that it will go away on its own. When you take your puppy to the vet, the vet will likely ask you important questions such as how long you have noticed the prolapse and what you have done so far.

Your vet will assess the protruded tissue to determine whether the tissue is still alive. If the tissue is still alive, your vet can push the tissue back in and then apply a stitch or two (purse string suture) to keep it from prolapsing again. This surgical repair will involve brief anesthesia or sedation,

If on the other hand the tissue is damaged or dead, the vet may need to perform surgery to remove the dead tissue and correct the issue. After rectal prolapse surgery, your vet may prescribe stool softeners for a period of time.

Your vet may also need to investigate the underlying cause. If your puppy is prone to developing diarrhea, the root cause for the diarrhea may need to addressed accordingly through dietary changes, dewormers, antibiotics. Causes for prolapsed rectum in puppies include diarrhea derived from bacterial infections, presence of parasites, ingestion of a foreign body etc.

dog e collar

As seen, time is of the essence with puppies suffering from a rectal prolapse, but are there any things though that you can do at home while getting ready for your vet appointment? Yes, there are a few things you can do to prevent further damage.

First of all, you want to prevent your puppy from licking the prolapsed area. You definitively don't want your puppy adding bacteria by licking the area or causing further damage to the delicate tissues. Most puppies will want to lick the area so the best way to prevent licking is by using an Elizabethan collar. Also, you want to keep an eye on your puppy and prevent him from scooting, which can further damage the area.

To prevent the area from drying up, you can apply some KY jelly or some Vaseline to the area, suggests veterinarian Dr. Peter. Do this while every few hours as you wait for your upcoming vet appointment (hopefully just an hour or two away). The Elizabethan collar should prevent your puppy from licking the KY jelly or Vaseline off.

Also, for the time being, you may want to temporary switch to a bland diet if your puppy has diarrhea. Feed your puppy 50 percent boiled rice and choice of either 50 percent boiled, boneless chicken or 50 percent ground beef. Feed this until your puppy's stool is firm. In addition, Dr Peter suggests adding a teaspoon of plain yogurt once a day.

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