What is Bleeding?
Should your dog be bleeding, it will likely be easy to notice. Bleeding can occur in all different places (eyes, ears, mouth, paw, anus and vulva for example) and there are various reasons as to why your dog would be bleeding to include:
- Trauma or injury
- Abnormal growth
- Nutritional deficiency
- Anal sac abscess
- In Heat
- Uterine infection
How serious your dog’s bleeding is will depend on the reason it is happening. Should your dog be bleeding due to a significant injury, it can point to his needing immediate medical attention. Bleeding that occurs as the result of disease may or may not be serious; however, it will alert you to the possibility that your dog is experiencing an underlying condition that requires treatment.
Why Bleeding Occurs in Dogs
The reason for your dog bleeding will depend upon its cause. For example:
An injury can be experienced anywhere:
- Should your dog experience an injury to his eye, blood will usually originate from the skin and tissues that surround the eye and less often from the eye itself
- If your dog is bleeding from his ear, it is usually due to trauma, whether from his scratching or shaking or as a result of a fight with another animal
- When bleeding from the mouth, it may be the result of an injury to his mouth, perhaps because of a bone or a stick; an object may be stuck somewhere in your dog’s mouth or cutting his cheek
- Should your dog be bleeding from his paw, it is typically the result of an injury like a cut
- If you notice bleeding from your dog’s anus it can be the result of puncture wounds to his behind
There are a variety of diseases that can result in bleeding. For instance, conjunctivitis is an eye disease that can cause bleeding in the eye. A torn or damaged third eyelid may also result in bleeding. Swollen, red and bleeding gums will point toward gum disease, such as gingivitis, in your dog.
- Growths on the ears (polyps, warts and sebaceous adenomas) may develop on the ear flap or inside your dog’s ear and can cause bleeding
- Growths may also occur in the mouth of your dog; some growths are a soft mass which can be a cyst or benign tumor
- Cancerous growths like melanomas or sarcomas can also occur
- Tumors can develop around the anus of your dog and his scratching or rubbing them can cause them to bleed
Parasites include ear mites, ticks and fleas. Their presence can cause significant itching to your dog which will cause him to scratch the area incessantly. This can lead to bleeding.
A nutritional deficiency can lead to lesions on the tips of your dog’s ears, hair loss and cracking, which can result in bleeding.
Anal Sac Abscess
Should your dog’s anal sac become inflamed and infected, an abscess can form. This can then rupture through the skin, causing an open wound that will drain.
If your dog is an unsprayed female, bleeding from the vulva may be due to her being in heat. Typically, her vulva will be swollen as well. The cycle in dogs will vary based on their breed and size. Some will have a cycle of every four months, while others have a 12-month cycle. Usually older dogs will cycle less often than in their younger years.
This condition mainly impacts middle-aged, unspayed female dogs. You will see vaginal discharge that is filled with pus or bloody. Other symptoms include an increase in water intake, urinating more often, vomiting, fever and weakness.
What to do if your Dog is Bleeding
If your dog is bleeding, you will want to examine him closely to determine where the blood is coming from and how severe it is. If he is bleeding from his eye, should your dog have an injury to his eye ball or if the bleeding is significant, you will want to take him to the veterinarian right away. If the bleeding is from the tissue that surrounds the eye and is relatively minimal, you can stop the bleeding and clean the wound. As with bleeding from the eye, should you notice bleeding in your dog’s ear, you will want to look closely at his ear to determine if there are any cuts. Punctures should be cleaned thoroughly with water and then a mixture of half hydrogen peroxide and half water. If you notice any lacerations, they should be cleaned and the ear bandaged. In the case of a severe laceration, you will want to seek veterinary attention.
Should bleeding occur in your dog’s ears as a result of atypical growths in or on the ear, it is a good idea to try and stop the bleeding and then schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to have the growths examined. Bleeding from your dog’s ears can also result from mites, ticks and fleas. Once you stop the bleeding, you will want to eliminate the parasites.
Upon observing bleeding from your dog’s mouth, try and determine if it is the result of an injury and if so, which part of the mouth is injured. You will want to look closely at his muzzle, gums, teeth, palate, tongue, lips and cheeks. If you notice that there is something stuck in your dog’s teeth or parts of his mouth and it is not in deeply, you can remove it. If it is in deep, it is best to have your veterinarian remove it. Should the bleeding be the result of a dental issue, your veterinarian will be able to guide you on how to best help your dog with his dental hygiene.
Any growths or swelling around your dog’s anus should be examined by your veterinarian. If your dog experiences an anal sac abscess, you can clean the wound with saline solution and take him to the veterinarian for further attention. Should there be puncture wounds to his behind that are causing him to bleed, you will want to determine where the injury is and its severity. For a minor wound, you can clean it with a solution of half water and half hydrogen peroxide. If you cannot stop the bleeding, seek medical assistance right away.
When noticing blood coming from your dog’s paw, you will want to determine how severe the bleeding is and what has led to it. Should you find that your dog is only bleeding a small amount and the injury is superficial, you can clean his paw with a half water and half hydrogen peroxide mixture and then place a dressing and bandage (non adherent) on his paw. If you find that the bleeding is moderate or severe or if an object is embedded in the wound, you will want to seek immediate veterinary attention. A broken or cracked toenail can cause bleeding; if there is a small amount of bleeding, it is best to clean, disinfect and bandage the area as noted. If there is a significant amount of blood, do your best to control the bleeding and take your dog to the veterinarian right away.
If you suspect a uterine infection, the best thing to do is to bring your dog to the veterinarian right away so that he can determine whether there is an infection and begin treatment. Should your veterinarian find that any bleeding your dog is experiencing is the result of a nutritional deficiency, he will work with you on ensuring that your dog receives the nutrients necessary for her health.
Prevention of Bleeding
Keeping your dog within your sight and on a leash will help avoid bleeding due to trauma and injury. While on a leash he will be unable to dart in front of a car and risk being hit and you can help him avoid getting in a fight with another dog. Preventative dental care is important in order to avoid bleeding due to gum disease. Maintaining your dog’s physical health is important and you will want to take your dog for regular check-ups to catch any issues before they become more significant. Making sure your dog gets plenty of exercise is also important for his overall health.
Cost of Bleeding
The cost of treatment for your dog’s bleeding will depend on why it is occurring. Should your dog be bleeding as a result of conjunctivitis, for example, treatment will average around $500. If your dog has a uterine infection, depending on its severity, treatment costs may be as high as $2,800. The cost of treatment for all conditions will vary based on the cost of living in your area.
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Bleeding Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
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