Nose Bleed in Horses

Nose Bleed in Horses - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
7 Veterinary Answers

Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Nose Bleed in Horses - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Prepare for unexpected vet bills

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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.

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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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Ask a Vet

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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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0 found helpful

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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

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 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

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Jilly

dog-breed-icon

Nooitgedagt

dog-age-icon

19 Years

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

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 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

1 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

Was this experience helpful?

Nose Bleed Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$2,000

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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