Canine Proctitis

A parasitic infection with tapeworms can lead to proctitis.
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If your pooch is straining to pass a bowel movement or suffering from diarrhea, he may have more than just an upset tummy. Proctitis is inflammation of the rectum and anus and, while it often develops in dogs suffering from colitis, it can have numerous causes. If your dog’s straining or diarrhea persists, a visit to the veterinarian can rule out any of these underlying conditions and reduce the inflammation.


Colitis is a bowel condition that causes inflammation in the large intestine, or colon, and is often referred to as large bowel diarrhea. The causes of colitis vary but, regardless of the cause, the inflammation in the colon restricts water absorption and reduces the ability to store waste. When the colon becomes inflamed, the inflammation often spreads down to the rectum and anus, resulting in proctitis.


Proctitis and colitis have various different causes. Examples include parasites, such as whipworms or tapeworms, and bacterial infections from salmonella, clostridium and E. coli. Dogs suffering from inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome are at risk for both colitis and proctitis. Other common causes include stress, trauma and food allergies. If your dog has recently taken antibiotics, colitis and proctitis often follow as the antibiotics kill off the beneficial bacteria in the intestines, resulting in inflammation. Tumors in the colon can also lead to colitis and proctitis.


Symptoms of proctitis and colitis include constipation, diarrhea, bloody stools, regular licking of the anal area and pain. You may notice that your pooch has difficulty trying to pass a stool, only to produce a small amount of liquid or mucus-filled stool. Near the end of the bowel movement, you may notice a small amount of bright red blood. Bowel movements may be frequent as not much is passing at one time.


Treatments for proctitis and colitis depend on the underlying condition. Parasites require antiparasitic drugs to kill the worms. Bacterial infections require antibiotics. Anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive drugs treat autoimmune causes. If a tumor is responsible, surgery may be necessary to remove the tumor. In cases of food allergy inflammation, your veterinarian may recommend an elimination diet to determine the exact allergies. If diarrhea causes dehydration, intravenous fluids may be necessary. Diets high in fiber and protein help to bulk up the stool and improve muscle contractions in the colon.