What Is a Small Intestinal Prolapse in Dogs?

by Lisa McQuerrey
    Puppies are more likely than adults to suffer prolapse.

    Puppies are more likely than adults to suffer prolapse.

    Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

    If part of a dog’s anatomy slips out of place, it’s called a prolapse. In a small intestinal prolapse, the intestines may be also inflamed, which is known as intussusception, or folded over, called invagination. Recent abdominal surgery, parasites or ingestion of foreign objects can trigger the prolapse. Left untreated, this ailment can lead to a variety of gastrointestinal problems for your pup.

    If it appears a tube of flesh is protruding from your dog’s anus, it’s a sign of either a rectal, intestinal or anal prolapse. The flesh may be inflamed or bloody, and may appear to grow or shrink when your dog has a bowel movement. Advanced stages of intestinal prolapse may present as a blue or purplish flesh tube, indicating that blood flow loss and tissue damage may be occurring. Dogs under 1 year of age are more likely to experience a small intestinal prolapse than older dogs. Pups with weak immune systems are also more susceptible.

    A pup with a prolapse high in the small intestine may be unable to swallow food, or may throw up any food he manages to get down. He may also have bloody vomit, a bloated abdomen, signs of pain and difficulty breathing. A prolapse that occurs lower in the tract can result in decreased appetite and weight loss, straining with bowel movements, and bloody diarrhea. If symptoms of prolapse present themselves, take your dog to a veterinary professional as soon as possible, and bring a stool sample for examination.

    A small intestinal prolapse can create partial or complete blockage of the GI tract. This can lead to dehydration, the absorption of toxins into the digestive tract, and even tissue death if not treated. A vet will conduct a physical exam, perform a stool analysis, access a dog’s health history, and determine if your pup is dehydrated. He may also use x-ray or ultrasound imaging to assess the situation. The condition is frequently treated through surgery to remove the obstruction (if necessary) and repair the prolapse.

    Your vet may prescribe a course of antibiotics to combat infection, as well as recommend a specialized diet. This typically includes several small meals daily rather than one or two large meals. If your dog has recurring instances of small intestinal prolapse, additional surgery may be required to prevent future occurrences.

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    About the Author

    Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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