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Abnormal Growths in the Lower Intestines of Dogs

Rectoanal Polyps in Dogs

Rectoanal polyps in dogs involve the development of flap-like protrusions on the walls of the anal and rectal regions. These growths can be directly affixed to the intestinal wall either with a stalk-like connection or directly (sessile). Typically, rectoanal polyps in dogs are benign, representing extensions of the inner tissue lining of the intestinal walls. While single polyps are common, there are instances where dogs may experience multiple growths. This medical condition can also affect cats.

Symptoms and Types

Dogs afflicted with this condition often exhibit signs of straining or discomfort during bowel movements. Stools may be tinged with blood and/or coated with mucus.


The precise cause of rectoanal polyps remains unclear. Nevertheless, dogs in middle age and older are at higher risk of developing this condition.


To diagnose rectoanal polyps in your dog, your veterinarian will conduct a comprehensive physical examination, considering symptoms and potential triggers. Common diagnostic tests like complete blood count and urinalysis typically yield normal results. Imaging techniques such as X-rays and ultrasounds are not effective for this diagnosis.

Conditions mimicking polyp symptoms include abscesses, tumors, intestinal inflammation, infections, and rectal prolapse. Diagnosis primarily relies on manual rectal examination by a veterinarian or direct visualization of the polyp via the anal opening.

Once identified, a colonoscopy using a flexible camera inserted through the anal opening may be performed to detect other polyps. Tissue and fluid samples from the polyp undergo detailed pathological examination.


Surgery is typically recommended for effectively managing polyps. Removal of the polyps can be done through the anal opening, followed by closure of the opening with stitches. Alternatively, endoscopic removal or the use of an electrical needle or probe may be employed for the same purpose. Medications that may be prescribed include non-steroidal pain relievers, antibiotics (especially before surgery to prevent infection), and stool softeners. Potential complications may include polyp recurrence and narrowing of the anal opening due to scarring and/or inflammation.

Living and Management

Your veterinarian will conduct a follow-up examination of the surgical site after 14 days to ensure resolution of the condition and proper tissue healing. Subsequent examinations will occur at three months and again at six months post-surgery. Follow-up appointments will continue semi-annually to monitor for any signs of recurrence. Dogs with single polyps typically have lower chances of relapse, whereas those with multiple or diffuse lesions face a higher risk of recurrence.

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