“I’m really worried about Rocky. I adopted him a week ago. He was doing pretty good but now my dog has bloody diarrhea after neutering at the clinic yesterday. He didn’t eat much today. Should I be worried?”
Poor Rocky! He’s been through a lot in the past few weeks. First, a new home and family then major surgery. It’s enough to cause a bad tummy ache in even the happiest pup.
Is It Normal For a Dog to Have Diarrhea After Neuter?
It’s not unusual for a dog to have loose stool after anesthesia and surgery like neutering. I wouldn’t call it normal or expected, though. Veterinarians go out of their way to ensure a smooth recovery after neuter surgery.
But surgery and anesthesia are physically stressful. And the time spent in the vet clinic is emotionally stressful. Add to that the pain your pup may be feeling from the procedure. These three factors together are enough to cause stress colitis.
Mucus Diarrhea After Neutering
Mucus in the dog’s diarrhea indicates that the large intestine (colon) is not happy. The colon always produces a certain amount of mucus to lubricate stool so it is easier to pass.
When the colon is irritated, it produces more mucus. You might see it on the surface of a formed stool kind of like jelly. It can also be mixed into an unformed or liquid stool.
Bloody Diarrhea After Neutering
It’s not super unusual for a dog’s stool to have a little bright red blood in it when their large intestine is irritated. If you see a few red streaks on partially or fully formed poop, don’t panic but do monitor for worsening symptoms.
If your dog is passing stool that looks like strawberry jelly, i.e. lots of blood and mucus, that’s an emergency. Get to a vet clinic right away. The condition is usually treatable but your dog can get very sick if you don’t get him treated pronto!
Vomiting and Diarrhea After Neutering
The same things that cause diarrhea can also cause a dog to vomit after surgery. Sometimes the entire intestinal tract seems upset by such a stressful experience.
Vomiting dogs present more of a concern than those who only have diarrhea. Not only are they losing important fluids and electrolytes through loose stools but they also aren’t able to replenish them by eating and drinking.
If your adult dog or puppy has vomiting and diarrhea after neutering, it’s critical to call and/or visit the vet clinic for help right away. They can check for more serious problems than stress-related intestinal tract upset. The vet may also give your dog fluids subcutaneously or intravenously as well as administer anti-nausea medication.
How Long Will My Dog Have Diarrhea After Surgery?
Veterinarians aim for no loose stool after surgery, but it still happens to a few puppies and dogs. Stress-induced diarrhea usually resolves after 24-48 hours. I find that a simple course of probiotics can often help resolve stress diarrhea.
If there are other factors causing your dog’s diarrhea, it could last longer than that.
Dog Has Diarrhea a Week After Spaying/Neutering
Stress colitis usually resolves within a couple of days. So if your dog has diarrhea a week or longer after spaying or neutering, it’s time to consider other causes.
Common causes of diarrhea in dogs and puppies include:
- Intestinal parasites (worms, coccidia, giardia)
- Viral and bacterial diseases (including parvo)
- Food intolerance
- Dietary indiscretion (a.k.a. Garbage gut from eating the inedible)
- Medication (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, etc.)
- Vaccine reaction
Warning Signs to Watch for After a Dog’s Neuter Surgery
It might take a few days for your dog to feel back to his normal, happy self after being neutered. But what’s normal and what’s a warning sign that he needs help?
- Lower energy level
- Sleeping more
- Less active
- Mild tenderness around the surgical site
- Mild changes in appetite
- Trying to lick incision
- Soft stool for 24 hours
- Occasional mild cough from tracheal tube
- Constant whining or crying out in pain
- Severe lethargy
- Won’t go out to potty
- Won’t eat
- Frequent passing of watery loose feces
- Very bloody diarrhea
- Bright red, hot incision area
- Pus from incision area
- Swollen incision area
- Rectal temperature above 102.8 degrees F.
- Persistent or harsh cough
When to See a Veterinarian
If your pup has one or more of the “concerning symptoms,” you should definitely call your vet for advice at a minimum. If it’s after hours, try calling a local 24-hour emergency vet clinic to see if they recommend bringing your pup in for an exam.
But remember, it’s never wrong to take your dog in for a quick vet check if you are at all concerned about his recovery. It’s better to do too much checking than too little!
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