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What is Bleeding Under the Skin?

Bleeding under the skin is typically the result of injury; however, they may be exacerbated by certain bleeding disorders. Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, an autoimmune disorder in which the dog’s body attacks its own platelets, is more likely to occur in female dogs and in the German Shepherd, Greyhound, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Old English Sheepdog breeds. Canine thrombopathia is a congenital defect in platelet functioning and has only been found in the Basset Hound breed. Lymphoma is the established cancer of the immune system and is more commonly found in the Boxer, Golden Retriever, Saint Bernard, Basset Hound, Airedale Terrier, Bulldog and Scottish Terrier breeds. Von Willebrand’s disease is a deficiency in the clotting protein known as von Willebrand’s factor and most commonly occurs in the Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Standard Manchester Terrier, Standard Poodle, Scottish Terrier, Basset Hound and Shetland Sheepdog breeds.

Hemorrhaging under the skin occurs as the result of burst blood vessels and may manifest in three ways: as bruising, which appears discoloration of the skin; as petechiae, which appear as small red of purple spots on the skin; and as ecchymoses, which appears as purplish patch(es) on the dog’s mucous membranes or under the skin.

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Bleeding Under the Skin Average Cost

From 293 quotes ranging from $250 - $10,000

Average Cost

$400

Symptoms of Bleeding Under the Skin in Dogs

The only symptoms of bleeding under the skin are bruising, petechial, and ecchymosis. Other than the fact that ecchymosis may appear on mucous membranes, it can be difficult to distinguish from bleeding. If your dog’s bleeding under the skin is caused by the presence of an underlying disorder, she may exhibit additional symptoms, discussed at length below in the Causes section.

Types

The two types of bleeding under the skin are bleeding as a result of injury, and bleeding under the skin that is facilitated by an underlying disorder.

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Causes of Bleeding Under the Skin in Dogs

The most common cause for bleeding under the skin of dogs is simply bodily injury or trauma. However, over-sensitive, excessive or chronic bleeding under the skin may be caused or exacerbated by one of the following disorders:

  • Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia

    , an autoimmune disorder that causes a dog’s platelets to be destroyed by an overactive immune reaction. Additional symptoms that your dog may exhibit include lethargy, loss of appetite, weakness, nosebleeds, pale mucous membranes, bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, blood in the urine, vomiting blood, coughing, and ocular hemorrhages.

  • Infectious thrombocytopenia

    , an immune reaction that causes a dog’s immune system to destroy its own platelets may be caused by ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, leptospirosis, leishmaniasis, heartworm, cytauxzoonosis, parvovirus, herpesvirus or blood poisoning. Additional symptoms your dog may exhibit include nosebleeds, bloody urine or feces, and retinal bleeding.

  • Canine thrombopathia

    is a platelet-functioning disorder that negatively affects the ability of the dog’s blood to clot. Additional symptoms that your dog may exhibit include nosebleed and bleeding gums.

  • Lymphoma

    is a cancer of the lymphocyte cells, which is a subset of white blood cell integral to your dog’s immune system. Additional symptoms your dog may exhibit are anorexia or lack of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, and weakness.

  • Acquired Clotting Protein Disorders

    inhibit the body’s ability to clot blood due to liver disease or liver toxicity, most commonly from rodenticide-caused Vitamin K poisoning.

  • Estrogen Toxicity

    may cause bone marrow suppression leading to low red or white blood cell or platelet count.

  • Chemotherapy

    may cause bone marrow suppression leading to low red or white blood cell or platelet count.

  • Von Willebrand’s Disease

    is a clotting disorder caused by a deficiency in the clotting protein known as von Willebrand’s factor. Additional symptoms include spontaneous hemorrhaging from the nose, vagina, urinary tract or oral mucous membranes.

  • Drug reactions

    that affect platelet functioning: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin.

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Diagnosis of Bleeding Under the Skin in Dogs

Diagnosis depends upon thorough reporting of the extent and onset of your dog’s symptoms and any injury or other possible causes. Description of the physical trauma your dog may have suffered will help the veterinarian to determine if the bleeding under your dog’s skin is appropriate or if it may be exacerbated by an underlying disorder. Reporting of medical history and possible ingestion of toxic substances will also be integral to diagnosis. The veterinarian will immediately start the visit by performing a thorough physical examination to search for additional instances of bruising, petechiae, ecchymoses and/or lesions.

The veterinarian will sample your dog’s blood and perform a complete blood count, measuring red and white blood cell and platelet counts, which may indicate that your dog has lymphoma (if white blood cells are abnormally low) or thrombocytopenia (if platelets are abnormally low). Additionally, a clotting test will be performed, which could reveal thrombopathia, von Willebrand’s disease, or acquired protein clotting disorder. This test will also determine if your dog needs to be treated for anemia due to blood loss. A bone marrow sample may be taken if estrogen toxicity is suspected. Bone marrow testing can also indicate if the cause of bleeding under the skin is chemotherapy; however, this is only possible if your dog is undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

A chemical blood profile will be examined and may indicate underlying liver or kidney disease, or vitamin K toxicity due to an elevated level of vitamin K. A urinalysis will be examined for elevated proteins in the urine and blood in the urine, which would point to immune-mediated thrombocytopenia or lymphoma.

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Treatment of Bleeding Under the Skin in Dogs

For primary bleeding under the skin, no treatment is necessary, as bleeding will stop on its own and your dog’s skin will return to normal. However, for bleeding under the skin as a symptom of an underlying disorder, treatment of the underlying disorder will be necessary. Specific treatments will depend upon the specific cause. In some cases, your dog may need to be hospitalized and stabilized through IV fluids for hydration and proper electrolyte balance and possible whole blood or packed red blood cell transfusion in the case of anemia or platelet transfusion in the case of a severe platelet deficiency.

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Recovery of Bleeding Under the Skin in Dogs

It is important to follow the veterinarian’s instructions for follow-up appointments and at-home care. Minimize your dog’s activity during recovery in order to prevent further injury.

In many cases, it's been historically proven that treatment of the underlying cause will lead to a full recovery; however, if your dog has a congenital bleeding disorder, treatment will be management. For dogs with congenital bleeding disorders, excessive bleeding will need to be managed for the rest of their lives. During a bleeding episode, restrict movement in order to minimize bleeding. Dogs with congenital bleeding disorders who exhibit bleeding gums as a symptom should be fed only soft food and not given hard chew toys or bones.

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Cost of Bleeding Under the Skin in Dogs

The veterinarian will most likely need to hospitalize your dog and provide him with intravenous fluids ($67 to $85). However, your dog may require overnight observation ($40 to $120 per night). The veterinarian may diagnosis the bleeding under your dog’s skin as a symptom of anemia. Anemia is a condition of the blood where there is a red blood cell deficiency, resulting in thinner blood and poor health. The veterinarian may treat this by providing your dog with a whole blood transfusion ($500 per unit). Another possibility is that the bleeding is a symptom of a platelet deficiency. Platelets clump together to stop bleeding. If there aren’t enough platelets in the blood then clots cannot be formed. In this case, a platelet transfusion ($150 to $450 per unit) can help resolve the issue.

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Bleeding Under the Skin Average Cost

From 293 quotes ranging from $250 - $10,000

Average Cost

$400

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Bleeding Under the Skin Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Four Months

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2 found helpful

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Head Purple

On top of her head a while back we put a bow and when I took it off it left her skin swollen as if the rubber band picked up her skin as says have passed I notice a purple like ring in that same area. Is this dangerous?

Oct. 15, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. There is a word for that condition, actually - traction alopecia. It is not common for the circulation to be compromised to those areas. If you notice that it is not improving over the next few days, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian, and obviously no bows for a while.

Oct. 15, 2020

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Unknown

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Ten Years

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Discoloring Of Skin

After giving my dog her routine shave.... I notice a very large bruise discoloring in her back. She is an indoor, pad trained pet with no history of trauma.

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. That area is concerning, I agree. It would be a good idea to have her seen by your veterinarian, as they can examine the area closely and see if it is normal pigment, if the skin is irritated, or if she has a problem with bruising. It is difficult to tell from the picture what might be causing this problem, unfortunately. I hope that all goes well for her.

Sept. 30, 2020

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Pit Bull

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Fourteen Years

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Unknown severity

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Painful Urination

He was in a fight, and we noticed it four days after that. What could this be?

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I am sorry for the delay, this platform is not set up for urgent emails. Bite wounds can get infected, and that may be happening - it is difficult to see from your picture what might be going on, but that is possible. If the problem is still occurring, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine him and see what might be going on and what treatment might be needed.

Oct. 10, 2020

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Japanese Spitz

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10 months

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Unknown severity

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Petechiae

My dog had a massive nosebleeding yesterday and all that I could do was to apply icepack on his muzzle. It didnt stop for like 5 hours and later on he developed petechiae around his limbs. There is no veterinary in our city and i couldnt bring him to somewhere else as it is ECQ now. My dog has lost a lot of blood but he still eats well. Is there some other way that i can relieve the petechiae and icrease my dog's blood without going to the vet?

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in answering, these emails are not set up for urgent messages. There is not a way to treat that at home, unfortunately. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment if needed.

Oct. 14, 2020

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Mixed

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One Year

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Redness

Hi, we took our dog to the vet today and he believes she may have ate rat poison. We are waiting the results of a blood test. Our vet told us she would bruise easily so we’ve been tying to be as gentle with her as possible. We noticed this mark and we’re not sure if it’s just a bruise or maybe internal bleeding? I tried to gently wipe it away with a wet cloth but nothing. Is this normal or should we fine a 24hr vet? She is acting completely normal, and ate all of her dinner and is drinking water. Thanks

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in answering, this venue is not set up to handle urgent emails. That does look like a bruise, and I hope that she is okay, and recovered. If you are still concerned about her health, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 14, 2020

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ENU

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cross brred

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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None

My daughters female dog cross breed (we believe a cross between a Boston and Fox terrier, or maybe a whippet.. Is a 2 to 2 1/2 year rescue that she has had for about 9 months.. In the last week or 2 she has started bleeding under the skin in two places, low on her neck, and a little on her skull. There are no other signs of injury. She is not scratching there, and there is no to the touch feeling of a scab or bruise. She is with at least on or more of our dogs about 50% of the time, but she is the aggressor and there are no battles going on.

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Dakota

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Alaskan Malamute

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5 Years

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

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Lethargic Not Eating Red Skin

Dakota was a 5 year 8 month old full breed Alaskan Malamute. He was an awesome furbaby. Just last week we lost him. He was fine Wednesday evening, acting normal and having no symptoms. On Thursday morning he was lethargic and didn't want to eat. We noticed that his belly was red when it is usually pink. By Thursday evening, he was still lethargic so we took him to the vet hospital. They ran some blood work and it all came back within normal range. Liver and kidney function had a slight elevation but nothing to worry about. We thought he might be having an allergic reaction to something so the vet treated him as if that were the case. The vet noticed that the red skin was throughout his body, in his ears and eyes as well. Sadly, Dakota had a cardiac event and passed away just 7 hours after starting treatment for allergic reaction. We have no idea what was going on. The vet didn't know either. Any input would be appreciated as to what might have happened to our furbaby.

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Zeus

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Pit bull

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4 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Bruising, Bites, Dog Fight

So I was out of town and so was my fiancée.. we have two dogs Zeus, a 4 yr old pitt and Aries a 1 yr old rott/ black lab mix. They are usually very good with each other and very playful, both never showed any signs of aggression towards one another. Well they got into it pretty bad last night and I got a phone call from my parents that were checking in on them throughout the day. I came home to find both pretty badly injured. One has a bite on his ear and left leg and the other has a few bites on his chin and scratches on his face. Now my pit bull seems worse off, he has purple bruises on his chest and some loose skin with it too.. I don’t know what to do... I am taking them to the vet first thing in the morning when my fiancé comes home. They seem to be ok with each other but I’m keeping a close eye on both... just to make sure no other issues arise. I should also mention that we did have a third dog staying with us for the past week so I don’t know if that was why the fight started in the first place or something else entirely.

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Wally

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Basset Artesien Normand

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12 Months

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Heavy Breathing, Swollen Throat

My 1 year old basset got attacked by our 7 month old great dane puppy. She held on to him shaking him for about 10 seconds. All seemed fine but now 2 hours later his neck and throat is terribly swollen and sensitive. I am really scared yhat he got hurt internally and that there might be bleeding. He is eating and drinking but breathing is heavier than normal. What can I do to help him till I get him to the vet in the morning.

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Sugar

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maltipom

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing
Enlarged Liver
Collapsing Trachea
Bleeding Under Skin
Bruise,

Please help? Two years ago my dog Sugar was diagnosed with collapsing trachea. It wasn't very serious at the time and we did not do surgery. Two years later Sugar needed dental care. She was put under to do her dental. A couple teeth were removed and there was a small pocket of infection under the teeth. She seemed fine though on the way home I had to suddenly stop the car and she did hit into the dashboard a bit, though it was not hard, and she seemed okay. A few days later I noticed a dark bruise about two fingers wide along her throat and chest. Over the weekend it grew to cover her whole chest and was very dark. I took her to the vet. The thought it was from the blood draw in her neck and dismissed any concerns. A day later Sugar began coughing constantly, a honking, choking sound, that was almost constant. I took her to the vet first thing in the morning. An xray showed that her collapsing trachea was much worse and that her heart and liver were enlarged. She was up on an doxycycline and hydrocodne, the hydrocodone to help open her airway. The next several days were awful. Her abdomen became very distended from the enlarged liver and I took her in for an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed and enlarged artery and that the blood was not draining quickly enough from her liver, which was causing it to enlarge. The vet thought something was putting pressure on her left ventricle of her heart which was causing the liver enlargement. He was stumped about what it could be. More blood work was done and he was going to consult with a cardiologist about what this could be. A couple more days Sugar's cough was under control. A couple more days and her abdominal swelling was gone. I no longer have to even give her the hydrocodone for her coughing as she barely does it now. However... just when I think we are all done with the nightmare and Sugar is well and completely better, I noticed the dark large bruising forming on her chest again this morning. It's Sunday so I cannot call my vet. I am so terrified that this whole chain of events is about to unfold again. The bruising is very obviously not due to the blood draw since it randomly came back again. I need to know what's happening with my dog. I feel like something regarding the dental, or her bumping the dashboard when I stopped my car, may have triggered all of this as she was just fine before. I am very afraid and don't want the coughing to start all over again, and the liver swelling. I am taking her in again first thing Sunday morning but I wish it hadn't happened on a Sunday because I'm so upset and stressed just waiting (I wish the bruise had not come back at all). Does anyone have any clue as to what can be happening?

Bleeding Under the Skin Average Cost

From 293 quotes ranging from $250 - $10,000

Average Cost

$400

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