is worried about Copper, her 4-year-old German shepherd.
It seems he is bleeding from somewhere, though she is at
a loss as to precisely where the blood is coming from.
It is not a lot of blood mind you, but almost every
morning when Copper gets up from his bed, Dana finds a
small spot of blood.
her diligent investigative work, Dana has narrowed down
the source of the blood to two possible locations. The
first is Copper’s mouth and the second is his rectal
area. Dana did look at and into Copper’s mouth and
found nothing and her most recent discovery of blood in
and on one of Copper’s bowel movements strongly
suggests the source is the rectal area.
coming from the rectal area can be coming from farther
inside the digestive tract, possibly the colon. This
occurs as a result of bleeding from the colon wall due
to inflammation. This inflammation is called colitis.
the colon becomes inflamed, regardless of the cause, it
can bleed from the lining and show up as blood from the
rectum and also blood on a bowel movement. With colitis,
there also can be mucus on the bowel movement that
appears like a whitish gelatinous material. This was not
described in Copper’s case.
is also a distinct possibility that the blood Dana is
seeing from Copper’s rear end is not from inside the
rectal area, but instead may be emanating from the area
around the anus.
possibilities come to mind: The first is a ruptured anal
gland. Anal glands are paired glands located below and
to the right and left of the anus. They produce a very
pungent semi-liquid material that is expressed from the
glands at various times. This expression can occur as a
fear response or sometimes simply when defecating. If
for any reason, one or both glands becomes plugged, the
material within can continue to build up to the point of
rupture of the involved gland. Bleeding along with
infection can result. Treatment for anal gland rupture
involves antibiotic therapy and likely eventual surgical
removal of the anal glands as a permanent cure.
second possibility that might produce bleeding from the
perianal area is a disease process called perianal
fistulas. The hallmark of this disease is the
development of wound tracts or fistulas from the rectum
to the outside of the body in the perianal area.
lesions become secondarily infected and very often
bleed. The disease is progressive and very uncomfortable
as one might imagine. The underlying cause for this
disease is not completely understood but the most likely
scenario is that perianal fistulas result from an
is borne out by the fact that successful treatment
usually involves some type of medical manipulation of
the immune system. Incidentally, German shepherds are a
high incidence breed for development of perianal
course there are other possibilities for Copper’s
rectal/perianal bleeding and ultimately, I cannot
definitively diagnose the cause here. Dana needs to have
Copper thoroughly evaluated by his veterinarian, obtain
the definitive cause and hopefully affect a successful
treatment as a result.