What causes dog melena?

Answered by Edward Huber

Dog melena can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from minor issues to more serious underlying conditions. It is important to identify the cause of melena in order to properly treat your dog and prevent any further complications. Here are some potential causes of dog melena:

1. Gastrointestinal bleeding: Melena is often a result of bleeding in the upper digestive tract, such as the esophagus, stomach, or upper small intestine. This bleeding can occur due to ulcers, tumors, or inflammation in these areas. It is important to determine the source of the bleeding in order to provide appropriate treatment.

2. Ingestion of blood: Melena can also occur if your dog ingests blood, either from a wound or from vomiting blood. This blood is then digested and appears in the stool as dark, sticky, and tar-like. Ingested blood can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as liver disease or cancer, so it is important to consult with your veterinarian for further evaluation.

3. Parasitic infections: Certain parasites, such as hookworms or whipworms, can cause gastrointestinal bleeding and lead to melena in dogs. These parasites attach to the lining of the digestive tract and feed on blood, causing damage and bleeding. Regular deworming and preventive measures can help reduce the risk of parasitic infections in dogs.

4. Medications: Some medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can irritate the gastrointestinal tract and lead to bleeding. If your dog is on any medications, it is important to discuss their potential side effects with your veterinarian and monitor your dog closely for any signs of melena.

5. Cancer: In some cases, melena can be a symptom of underlying cancers, such as stomach or intestinal tumors. These tumors can cause bleeding and result in the appearance of dark, tarry stools. It is crucial to consult with your veterinarian if you suspect cancer as an underlying cause of melena.

6. Inflammatory conditions: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other inflammatory conditions can cause damage to the lining of the digestive tract, leading to bleeding and melena. These conditions often require long-term management and dietary changes to control symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.

It is important to note that melena should always be taken seriously and addressed promptly by a veterinarian. They will perform a thorough examination, possibly including blood tests, imaging, or endoscopy, to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan for your dog. Early detection and intervention can greatly improve the outcome for your furry friend.