Dog Has Bloody Diarrhea After Neutering: When to Call the Vet

Neutering and spaying are common surgical procedures performed on dogs to prevent them from reproducing and also to reduce the risk of certain health conditions. 

While this procedure is generally considered safe and routine, any surgical procedure has the potential to cause unpleasant side effects including bloody diarrhea. This condition can be alarming for pet owners, as it’s hard to tell if it signals a surgical complication or a passing reaction to the stress of the procedure. 

In this article, we will explore the possible causes of bloody diarrhea in dogs after neutering surgery, the symptoms to look out for, when to see a vet and how to help your pup recover.


What is bloody diarrhea in dogs?

Diarrhea occurs when a dog’s feces contain too much water causing the stool consistency to range from a bit soft to totally liquid. Changes in intestinal contractions due to stress, medications and infections can cause diarrhea in dogs right after they’ve been neutered. 

Bloody diarrhea is a more severe form of the problem and happens when the large intestine bleeds. You may see streaks of red blood or even stool that is so red it looks like raspberry jelly

Bloody feces are a scary sight for dog owners. As I tell my clients, it’s much more common in dogs than people. You should take the situation seriously, but don’t panic if you see a few streaks of blood on your dog’s poop if that’s their only symptom.

What is the difference between parvo and bloody diarrhea?

You may have heard that canine parvovirus causes bloody diarrhea. So your first thought when you see blood in your pup’s stool after neutering is, “Oh, no. Is this parvo?”

It is possible for a dog to coincidentally come down with parvo after neutering. The risk of this is higher if they have not had all the recommended puppy vaccines and have been exposed to infected dogs. 

In addition to bloody diarrhea, parvo usually causes significant lethargy, poor appetite and vomiting. Your vet can do a quick test to distinguish between parvo and other types of bloody diarrhea.

Which dogs does bloody diarrhea affect after neutering?

Any dog can get bloody diarrhea after a surgical procedure. It’s impossible to predict which dogs will be affected and which won’t. 

How common is bloody diarrhea after neutering?

Gastrointestinal symptoms after major surgery are common. These may include decreased appetite, vomiting, increased gassiness and diarrhea.

Bloody diarrhea is less common than diarrhea without blood. But it’s not rare and it’s not necessarily a sign of major complications.

How does bloody diarrhea affect my dog’s body?

Bloody diarrhea can lead to dehydration due to the loss of too many fluids in the feces. Severe or chronic bloody diarrhea can cause anemia and weakness due to blood loss. 


Why do dogs get bloody diarrhea?

Bloody diarrhea occurs when food passes through the intestines too fast without having water absorbed from it. Then inflamed tissue in the large intestine bleeds into the abnormal fecal matter. 

There are many causes of bloody diarrhea in dogs including 

  • Physical or psychological stress including pain
  • Diseases (IBD, Addison’s disease, liver disease, clotting abnormalities)
  • Antibiotic administration 
  • Adverse drug reaction (especially pain meds like Rimadyl® or other NSAIDs)
  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Parasites (worms, Giardia, etc.)
  • Eating different or spoiled food
  • Eating non-food items
  • Toxins

What are the symptoms of bloody diarrhea?

Bloody diarrhea appears as soft to liquid poop with blood on the surface or mixed in. It’s not uncommon to see mucus in the stool as well. 

Other symptoms shown by dogs with diarrhea:

  • Straining to pass feces
  • Passing small amounts of diarrhea
  • Scooting on the ground due to anal irritation
  • Gurgling sounds from the abdomen
  • Passing gas
  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy

Dogs with severe bloody diarrhea often have extreme lethargy. They might hide or refuse to get up from their bed.

Is bloody diarrhea contagious?

Some causes of bloody diarrhea are contagious, specifically parvovirus. This can only be diagnosed by a veterinarian using a parvo test. 

Bloody diarrhea caused by stress or medication after neutering surgery is not contagious. It’s still a good idea to keep a pup with bloody diarrhea separate from your other dogs. Be sure to wash your hands after handling the dog or cleaning up their stool. 


How is bloody diarrhea diagnosed?

Identifying the cause of bloody diarrhea requires ruling out infectious diseases and other primary causes. Your vet will perform a physical examination and order the appropriate tests. 

What tests will be done to diagnose bloody diarrhea?

Basic testing includes 

  • CBC and blood chemistry tests
  • Urinalysis
  • Fecal test
  • Parvo test
  • Abdominal x-ray imaging

Depending on the situation, other tests may be needed.

sad Doodle puppy (my dog has bloody diarrhea after neutering)
After neutering, soft stool in dogs is not unusual, but bloody diarrhea is not normal!


How is bloody diarrhea after neutering treated?

Treatment depends on the cause and severity of symptoms. For dogs who have stress-induced diarrhea with no other symptoms, a bland diet and anti-diarrheal medication are often all that is needed. 

Hospitalization may be recommended for dogs with severe symptoms including dehydration and vomiting. Treatments with IV fluids and anti-nausea meds help these dogs recover more quickly.

Will a special diet help with bloody diarrhea?

Veterinarians recommend a bland diet for dogs with bloody diarrhea. If your dog also has vomiting, it’s best to withhold food for a short time until they can see a vet. 

Bland homemade diets of cooked boneless/skinless chicken breast and mushy rice will do in a pinch. You can also ask your vet to prescribe a special dog food like Royal Canin Gastrointestinal diet. Homemade food should not be fed long-term as it doesn’t contain all the nutrients your pup needs.

What medications can help with bloody diarrhea?

Avoid giving your dog human anti-diarrhea medication. These can slow down intestinal contractions too much in the case of infectious diseases. And some dogs have extremely adverse reactions to the active ingredient in Imodium. 

Your vet may prescribe anti-inflammatories, antibiotics or anti-parasitics depending on the situation. Since treatment is so variable, don’t be tempted to use medication prescribed for a different problem or to a different pet. Please consult your veterinarian and follow their instructions for the best outcome. 


How can I reduce my dog’s risk?

Make sure your pup is fully vaccinated against parvo and distemper at least a week before their neuter surgery. You should also avoid taking them to high-risk places where infected dogs might have been. 

Don’t make dietary changes within a week or so before the surgery. Make sure your pup is not chewing up their toys or getting into spoiled food prior to surgery. 

Try to stay calm because dogs reflect the emotions of their owners. A dog is already stressed after surgery and will become more so if they see you in a panic!


What can I expect if my dog has bloody diarrhea after neutering?

Diarrhea caused by physical or psychological stress typically resolves with or without treatment within 24 to 48 hours so the prognosis for recovery is good. Bloody diarrhea indicates a more extreme condition but most dogs recover quickly with good supportive care.

Other causes of bloody diarrhea have variable courses. Parvovirus diarrhea is a more serious disease but most dogs can recover with aggressive veterinary treatment. 

Can bloody diarrhea be cured?

Simple bloody diarrhea caused by the stress of neutering can be cured with supportive care and time. Severe symptoms may require a brief period of hospitalization but this is uncommon.


When should my dog see their veterinarian?

You should call or visit your veterinarian if your dog has diarrhea with or without blood after their surgery. If you see a lot of blood in your pup’s stool or if they have other symptoms like poor appetite, vomiting or lethargy consider it an emergency. 

You should also monitor the surgical incision area several times a day. If you notice significant redness, swelling, pain, bleeding or oozing contact your veterinarian. Mild surgical site infections are not uncommon but they can turn into a serious problem if not promptly treated.

If your dog still has diarrhea more than a few days after neutering, you definitely need to seek veterinary care. It is not normal for stress-induced diarrhea to last that long. Your dog might have another problem such as GI parasites or an adverse reaction to a drug.

What questions should I ask the veterinarian?

  • Is my dog’s bloody diarrhea the result of stress from the surgery?
  • Could the post-surgical medications be causing diarrhea?
  • Is my dog in pain and do they need more pain medication?
  • Does my dog need a parvo test?
  • Does my dog need a fecal test for parasites?
  • What should I feed my dog?
  • Should I worry about my other pets getting sick?
  • When should I expect an improvement in symptoms?
  • Should I schedule a recheck appointment?


  • While most dogs recover uneventfully after spaying or neutering surgery, some develop worrisome symptoms such as bloody diarrhea.
  • Bloody diarrhea can be caused by stress, medication, infections, parasites, and other factors after neutering surgery.
  • Parvovirus is a possible cause of bloody diarrhea, but it usually causes significant lethargy, poor appetite, and vomiting in addition to bloody diarrhea.
  • Treatment for bloody diarrhea depends on the cause and severity of symptoms and may include a bland diet, anti-diarrheal medication, intravenous fluids, and anti-nausea medication. 
  • You should contact your veterinarian right away if your dog has bloody diarrhea after neutering surgery.

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  1. Torrente, C., Vigueras, I., Manzanilla, E. G., Villaverde, C., Fresno, L., Carvajal, B., … & Costa‐Farré, C. (2017). Prevalence of and risk factors for intraoperative gastroesophageal reflux and postanesthetic vomiting and diarrhea in dogs undergoing general anesthesiaJournal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care27(4), 397-408.