Sometimes, pet parents, you're going to see some things that you'd rather not see, like the inside of your doggo's body. Allow me to introduce you to rectal prolapse, which is, quite literally, a case of the inside of your dog's body coming out. It's more common than you'd think, and the sooner you get it diagnosed and treated, the happier your four-legged friend will be.

Let's take a necessary but simple dive into rectal prolapse in dogs.

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  1. What is Rectal Prolapse
  2. Symptoms of Rectal Prolapse in Dogs
  3. Causes of Rectal Prolapse in Dogs
  4. Treatment of Rectal Prolapse in Dogs
  5. FAQs
  6. Conclusion

What is Rectal Prolapse

Prolapse is a word that refers to a part of the body, such as an organ, that becomes displaced from its regular position. Oftentimes, this will result in a part of the body that should be inside poking outside and even sometimes protruding or hanging out.

Incomplete/Partial Prolapse

Prolapse that is inside the body for the majority of the time is known as incomplete or partial dog prolapse. This is where only part of the rectal lining has protruded.

Complete Prolapse

Complete prolapse involves the entire circumference of the rectal wall extending through the anus and staying outside the body for the majority of the time.

Prolapse can happen any time of the day or night, but it is more common when your pup strains to urinate or defecate. It is also more common in younger dogs than their older counterparts, according to CABI Digital Library research. Constant monitoring of your pet, using modern technology like Petcube’s range of interactive, two-way audio, and even treat-dispensing pet cameras, helps you spot any unusual signs related to the disease as early as possible. It also keeps the chances of very costly vet bills at bay.

Symptoms of Rectal Prolapse in Dogs

There are often signs or symptoms, of sorts, of rectal prolapse before the actual prolapse happens. If you notice any of the following symptoms, your dog is at a higher risk of experiencing a prolapse:

  • Hunched-over poop position, but no poop;
  • Taking longer to wee or poop;
  • Changes to poop appearance (drier, moister, shape changes, etc.);
  • Physical worms in the poop;
  • Blood in urine or poop;
  • Visibly or straining to poop.

When or if the prolapse occurs, it will sometimes be pretty noticeable, but not always. With partial prolapse, the inside tissue might only breach and be visible outside the body while your pooch is straining hard. Once your dog stops straining, the prolapsed material can retreat into the body pretty quickly.

Things are a little more obvious with complete prolapse, which is every bit as 'complete' as it sounds and can occur when a partial prolapse is not appropriately treated. In complete cases, tissue and other internal body material breach and then remain outside the body either temporarily or permanently.

Symptoms of actual prolapse include:

  • Red material suddenly visible from inside or around the rectum;
  • The material is fluid-filled and appears swollen;
  • The anal area requires cleaning-down following bathroom stops (suddenly or more);
  • A sausage-like overall appearance;
  • Suspected hemorrhoids (that dogs can't or don't get);
  • Pain-based behavior: snapping, whining, and excessive licking of the area.

To start with, the prolapsed matter will appear pink. It will grow darker over time, to a red, then to purple, brown, and eventually black. This is indicative of necrosis, where the cells are dying, and is a medical emergency.

Causes of Rectal Prolapse in Dogs

There are several potential causes of rectal prolapse in dogs, with chronic diarrhea or constipation being the most common. Both diarrhea and constipation can have several underlying causes, too, such as inflammation, parasites, and blockages caused by foreign objects.

As a pet parent myself, I know that you need to have eyes in the back of your head to catch and stop them from eating things they shouldn't. Petcube Cam 360 gets you as close as possible to having those back-head eyes, with 360-degree vision to catch them eating all the things they shouldn't. It even catches them on the playbackable camera, so they can't deny it with those cute eyes!

Female dogs have a higher risk of rectal prolapses during pregnancy and birth, and even more so when experiencing a difficult birth, known as dystocia. Puppies are also at a higher risk.

Prolapses in dogs, particularly rectal prolapses, are sometimes a symptom of other, underlying medical causes. German Shepherds are predisposed to suffering from perianal fistulas and, in turn, prolapses. Welsh Corgis, Dachshunds, and Boxers are just a few breeds that are at a higher risk of developing perianal hernias, which can cause rectal prolapses. Prolapses themselves are not tied to or associated with any one breed.

Alongside perianal fistulas and hernias, several other medical conditions have rectal prolapse as a symptom or accompanying complication:

  • Urinary disease and infections;
  • Urethral blockage or obstruction;
  • Prostate disease;
  • Cancerous and/or benign tumors;
  • Obesity;
  • Weakness of pelvic floor muscles;
  • Poor diet;
  • Anal sac disease;
  • Anorectal and/or rectal narrowing;
  • Enteritis;
  • Bladder stones;
  • And more.

Treatment of Rectal Prolapse in Dogs

Before treatment must come a diagnosis, and your vet will perform several tests to pinpoint exactly what has caused your dog's prolapsed rectum. A physical examination, particularly of the anus, will accompany blood, urine, stool, and mucus tests. Colonoscopies, ultrasounds, and X-rays are also occasionally used.

Underlying medical conditions will be treated appropriately, and the treatment for the prolapse will weigh heavily on the size, state, stage, and health of the external body matter. Black, brown, purple, or dark-colored prolapses require surgical removal. The cells will continue to die, causing a significant risk of infection and, worryingly, sepsis.

Treatment Choices

If the rectum and matter are healthy, the treatment could be as simple as popping them back in. (Medically, of course.) In some cases, particularly with repeated prolapses, your dog will be offered what is known as a "purse string." This is essentially a strengthening suture that is designed to keep everything where it is meant to be.

Slightly less healthy cases often cause a more invasive type of surgical procedure known as colpopexy. This surgery involves keeping the abdomen in place by using a series of tacks.

If you are in any doubt about the health of your pet, feel free to reach out to Petcube's vets, all of whom are fully licensed, trained, and qualified, and they're available around the clock, any time of the day or night! And that's not all you'll get your hands on with Petcube’s Emergency Fund.

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To say thank you for stopping by and reading the blog today, I'd like to offer you an exclusive 27% discount using this link. (Thank you!)


Can a rectal prolapse in dogs treat itself?

It is quite rare for rectal prolapse in dogs to be treated or heal itself. More often than not, the condition requires veterinary treatment. Not only that, but you’re risking your dog’s health by not visiting the vet as soon as you notice this or any other medical issue.

How much does it cost to fix rectal prolapse in dogs?

The cost of treatment depends very much on the type of treatment used. If your vet can manually replace the prolapse, the resolution is usually quick and simple and requires no extensive aftercare. Treatment costs could, therefore, cost as little as one vet bill plus a few diagnostic tests to rule out parasites and other diseases. On the other hand, surgical repair or removal of the necrotic rectal lining could cost more than $3,000. The cost of treatment increases massively when the condition is ignored.


Rectal prolapse is a serious condition that requires veterinary attention to address both the immediate issue and any underlying causes. Regular deworming and parasite prevention measures are crucial, and providing a well-balanced and easily digestible diet can help prevent diarrhea and reduce the risk of straining during bowel movements.

If in doubt, give one of Petcube’s vets a shout!

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