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What is Nose Bleed?

Epistaxis is the medical term for this condition. Although frightening, a sudden nose bleed is not always serious. Though much will depend on the extent of the blood flow, a nose bleed in a horse is not an uncommon occurrence. A nosebleed may result from your horse scratching a fly bite or after banging his head on the fence in his paddock. Some horses may experience the occasional nose bleed after exertion.

If blood is pouring from two nostrils and is very heavy, this should be checked by a veterinarian to determine the cause. There may be a growth inside the nostril that has burst. Other nose bleeds stop within a short time and may be the cause of a foreign body lodged in the nasal area. An injury to the nasal passage can cause a flow of blood. If your equine companion is experiencing recurring nose bleeds or the flow of blood is heavy and continuous, call the veterinarian.

The sudden appearance of blood pouring from your horse’s nostrils can be disturbing for an owner. The nose bleed may vary from a trickle to a severe outpour; an evaluation by an equine veterinarian is essential in many cases.

Nose Bleed Average Cost

From 377 quotes ranging from $650 - $8,000

Average Cost

$2,000

Symptoms of Nose Bleed in Horses

If the bleeding is heavy and continues to pour out call your veterinarian immediately as heaving bleeding from both nostrils can indicate internal bleeding from the lungs

  • Blood from one or both of the nostrils
  • Blood in a trickle
  • Blood of a heavier flow

Types 

  • Guttural pouch mycosis can cause repeated nose bleeds; it produces heavy, constant bleeding and requires surgery to control this condition 
  • Exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage comes from your horse’s lungs; it is a deep red in color and very profuse 
  • Moderate on off nose bleeds are often caused by a foreign object injuring the nasal passages
  • Trauma induced nose bleeds occur after a heavy knock to your horse’s head
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Causes of Nose Bleed in Horses

  • Sometimes when a veterinarian passes a tube through the nostrils your horse may move suddenly causing the tube to damage the delicate lining of the nostrils
  • A foreign object may be trapped in the nasal area and may be accompanied by coughing
  • It may be caused by a bleeding polyp which is a soft growth in the nostril
  • Occasional tumors located in the respiratory tract can be a cause
  • A hard knock to the head may cause a heavy nose bleed 
  • Your horse rubbing his nose to stop an itch
  • A fungal infection of the carotid artery
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Diagnosis of Nose Bleed in Horses

A trickle of blood may not mean much, but any volume of blood pouring from the nostrils should be given immediate attention by your veterinarian. Your horse is a large animal with a large volume of blood coursing through their system. Therefore, a nose bleed can display frightening amounts of blood. Keep your horse calm and apply an ice pack or wet cold towel to the area just below your horse’s eyes. This will cool the area where the blood may be coming from and slow the flow. If the bleeding doesn’t stop within ten minutes, then it is advisable to call the veterinary specialist. 

A skull radiography can show where the problem is originating from and blood tests will help diagnose the condition. Never pack your horse’s nostrils to stop the flow of blood, your horse may panic as they breathe through their noses and it can suffocate your horse.

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Treatment of Nose Bleed in Horses

If the bleeding is a one-off event and the blood flow is light, calming your horse and using a cold compress to stem the flow may help. For heavy nose bleeds lasting for more than ten minutes, it would be best to call in an expert to check the health of your horse. Your veterinarian will be able to tell assess the damage and advise of further treatment. If it is coming from the guttural pouch your horse will require surgery to control the bleeding. This condition is rare but can be deadly.

The method used by your veterinary care giver will involve passing a fiber-optic endoscope up the nose and into the pouches. This will enable them to see where the blood is coming from and they will be able to initiate treatment from there. Other reasons for epistaxis, such as in the case of an exercise induced event or a polyp in the nasal cavity, will be assessed and treated accordingly through medical management or surgery.

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Recovery of Nose Bleed in Horses

Usually a nose bleed will stop after a short time, especially if it was caused by your horse rubbing its nose or if a foreign object like a piece of tough grass has pierced the tissue within the nasal passage. Wiping the blood off so that it doesn’t attract flies will help your horse to heal. Cool compresses on your horse’s face may assist the bleeding to stop.

Management is really all about keeping your horse under observation to see if any other symptoms are present, and to see if the bleeding starts again. Allowing your horse to relax and cutting back on any heavy exercise will assist your horse to heal. For surgery after-care, your veterinarian may prescribe medication to calm your horse and to prevent any infection. Rest and confinement to the stable may be required until healing has occurred. Usually, recovery is good with little down time although it may take time before your horse is up to heavy racing or activity.

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Nose Bleed Average Cost

From 377 quotes ranging from $650 - $8,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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Nose Bleed Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Jilly

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Nooitgedagt

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20 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

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Nose Bleed

Hi so with in 2 weeks my mare has bled from her right nostril 5 times. I’m quite worried as it’s actually very cold at the moment and although the first nose bleed was after a short easy ride I haven’t ridden her since so it can’t be due to heavy exercise. Her right nostril is also very snotty. She still seems to be in her usual happy mood and doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort. I have had advice from another riding friend that it could be flu/sinus and to treat her for that. But I’ve never heard of nose bleeds from sinus? I did consult the local vet but he want to sure what it could be and referred me to a more experienced horse vet. The only problem is, I live in a small town and the closest vet with a scope and equipment needed to examine her nose is a 5hour drive away. Anyway long story short I was just wondering if she could just have flu? Or should I be more worried? 🐴🌸

Aug. 10, 2018

Jilly's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

It is possible that a flu could be causing the nose bleed if her nasal passages are very irritated, and since it is such a long drive to see a specialist, it might make sense to treat her for that. If things don't improve, then it seems you will need to take her to have endoscopy to see what is causing the nose bleed.

Aug. 10, 2018

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Jilly

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Nooitgedagt

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19 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Nose Bleed

Hi so with in 2 weeks my mare has bled from her right nostril 5 times. I’m quite worried as it’s actually very cold at the moment and although the first nose bleed was after a short easy ride I haven’t ridden her since so it can’t be due to heavy exercise. Her right nostril is also very snotty. She still seems to be in her usual happy mood and doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort. I have had advice from another riding friend that it could be flu/sinus and to treat her for that. But I’ve never heard of nose bleeds from sinus? I did consult the local vet but he want to sure what it could be and referred me to a more experienced horse vet. The only problem is, I live in a small town and the closest vet with a scope and equipment needed to examine her nose is a 5hour drive away. Anyway long story short I was just wondering if she could just have flu? Or should I be more worried? 🐴🌸

Aug. 10, 2018

Jilly's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

It is possible that a flu could be causing the nose bleed if her nasal passages are very irritated, and since it is such a long drive to see a specialist, it might make sense to treat her for that. If things don't improve, then it seems you will need to take her to have endoscopy to see what is causing the nose bleed.

Aug. 10, 2018

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Mol

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Throughbred

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19 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Nose Bleed

My mare has nosebleeds frequently. She has been to the vets many time and had pretty much every test you can think of, however nothing has ever been found. I've been recording the days / dates when i actually see this happen and the pattern appears to be approx every 20 days. Could these nose bleeds be linked to her seasons some how? Nose bleed is usually just one nostril, not always the same nostril.

July 3, 2018

Mol's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

The time interval does seem to coincide with estrus, but I don’t know of any relationship between the two and I couldn’t find anything with a quick check of literature. There are many possible causes for nosebleeds in horses, but the interval and bleeding occurring on different sides just helps to confuse things further; I cannot think of anything which would help you at this time. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 3, 2018

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Logan

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Thoroughbred

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21 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding Nose

Advice please... My TB gelding got ran into at high speed by one of my other horses. His nostrils started pouring with blood...I applied cold cloth below eyes and cleaned up nose best I could which slowed the bleed down loads. However before I left tonight he still had a trickle of blood out both nostrils... what’s the chances of this stopping over night? He’s eating haylage and drinking fine. Although just after it happened he spat up some chewed haylage when he coughed. Did seem quite a large amount of blood however it would do due to his size I’m guessing. I felt all over his body,checked sides /rib area and he seemed fine with me touching it. Thanks for your time!

Jan. 12, 2018

Logan's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, without examining Logan, I have a hard time commenting on what might be wrong with him. It would be best to have your veterinarian look at hiim, make sure that he is okay, and give him any treatment that he might need. I hope that he is okay!

Jan. 13, 2018

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cind

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sport horse

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9 Days

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Light Trickle Nose Bleed

my horse has had 2 nose bleeds in the past 4 months. its bright red bloodonly from one nostril. theres not a lot of blood its more like a trickle. once its ran a little bit it stops.

Nov. 15, 2017

cind's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Nosebleeds can be simple or they can be a nightmare, if there is a nosebleed after exercise it may be a medical emergency; generally nosebleeds may be caused by infections, tumours, trauma, guttural pouch disorders among other causes. It would be best to have your Veterinarian out to do a general check and possibly rhinoscopy to check for any bleeds, polyps etc… Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nov. 15, 2017

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Maverick

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Grade

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24 Years

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Mild severity

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Blood From Left Nostril

My 24 year old grade pony has had three nose bleeds over the last six months with blood only coming from the right nostril. When he gets these he rubs his nose on the inside of his front leg and his hay net to wipe off the blood, and blows his nose a bit. He dosent seem uncomfortable and is eating and drinking as usual. With no other signs of trauma as far as can be seen on his head and up is noses with limited visual up his nose because of the shape of there nasial cavities.

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Drippy

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Welsh mountain pony

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28 Years

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Mild severity

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Nose Bleed

My 30 year old pony had a little bit of blood trickling out of this nose. Which has never happened to him before. When I realized it had stopped bleeding, so it wasn’t bleeding for long. He could of been chase or maybe even kicked in the head by my other horse in the paddock but I couldn’t see anything else wrong. He was happy and eating and didn’t show any signs that he was in pain. Also it was quite a warm day which maybe could of course it too. I’m not sure ? Do I need the vet ? Is it normal?

Nose Bleed Average Cost

From 377 quotes ranging from $650 - $8,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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