By John Koch, DVM
Question: I have an old beagle that I think has hemorrhoids. He has a hard, red bump about the size of a nickel on his rectum. I have been treating him with Preparation-H, but it hasn't helped much. Are there any other ointments that might work?
Answer: You can use just about any hemorrhoid medication you want to. They won't hurt anything. However, because dogs don't develop hemorrhoids, they are unlikely to help. What you are seeing is probably a perianal adenoma. Perianal adenomas are by far the most common type of growth seen in the anal area. Although these tumors are benign, they can cause problems and should be removed.
Surgical removal along with castration is nearly always curative. Castration is recommended because these growths are hormone-dependent. There are other types of tumors that appear in this region. Squamous-cell carcinoma, melanoma, lymphoma, and mast-cell neoplasia are not common to this region; however, they are malignant. Any tumor removed from this region should be submitted to a pathology lab for determination of malignancy.
There are two thoughts worthy of sharing that pertain to removal of tumors. First, removal of tumors can be bloody surgery. The use of a laser greatly reduces the amount of blood lost and, if available, should be considered as an option. Second, at the first sign of an abnormal growth, have it examined by a veterinarian. It is an all-too-common frustration for veterinarians to first see these things when they are softball-sized and hang from the dog like an extra appendage. Helping the patient at such an advanced stage is always much more difficult.
Dr. Koch is a Cape Girardeau-area veterinarian.