What is Bleeding from the Mouth?
It can be very upsetting to find your dog bleeding from the mouth. A small amount of blood from a nick should not cause you to be concerned. However, if your dog is continuously bleeding from the mouth or there is a lot of blood, he must be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
A foreign object could cause breathing difficulties and a condition such as an abscess could quickly become painful.
Bleeding from the mouth may be caused by:
- Laceration on the dog’s tongue or mouth
- Oral trauma
- Canine ulcerative paradental stomatitis (CUPS)
- Abscess or fractured tooth
- Foreign object lodged in gums or throat
- Blood clotting disease such as Von Willebrand’s Disease
It is important to find the cause of the bleeding. Excessive bleeding is a serious condition which can cause your dog to go into shock. A bleeding dog with a clotting disorder may need to have an emergency blood transfusion.
Why Bleeding from the Mouth Occurs in Dogs
Laceration on the Dog’s Tongue or Mouth
Your dog may have cut his mouth or tongue by chewing on toys, sticks or even rocks. A laceration can be caused by another animal bite (dog, cat, raccoon, rat or possum). If your dog got into the garbage, he may have cut himself on a can or other sharp object.
Oral bleeding may be caused by a fall, impact with a car or by being physically hit on the mouth. Additionally, tongue trauma can occur during freezing temperatures; a dog licks metal and must then rip his tongue free (tongue gets stuck).
Canine Ulcerative Paradental Stomatitis (CUPS)
Canine ulcerative paradental stomatitis is a disorder that causes painful ulcers on the lining of the dog’s mouth. The ulcers are triggered by plaque on your dog’s teeth. The ulcers can open and bleed. Breeds that are more predisposed to CUPS are the German Shepherd, Dachshund, Labrador Retriever and the Maltese.
Abscess or Fractured Tooth
An abscess or a fractured tooth may be causing your dog to bleed from the mouth. The abscess may cause additional symptoms such as facial swelling, fever, pain and loss of appetite.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums due to bacteria and plaque. Gingivitis is a very common condition in dogs. The infected gums can become very painful, swollen and can also start to bleed.
Dogs can get a piece of toy or stick stuck in between their teeth or in the roof of their mouth. Grass seeds, fishing hooks and porcupine quills can also pierce the tongue, face, under the tongue or the gums. Foreign objects lodged in your dog’s mouth can cause great discomfort and bleeding.
Blood Clotting Disease
Von Willebrand’s disease is the most common inherited, blood clotting disorder in people and in dogs. It is caused by the deficiency of a clotting protein. There are three different types of Von Willebrand’s disease. They are classified by whether the clotting protein is reduced, moderate or completely absent. Without the clotting protein, the platelets are unable to bind together to stop bleeding. Without proper medical treatment, the patient can bleed to death.
What to do if your Dog is Bleeding from the Mouth
If your dog has prolonged or repeated bleeding from the mouth, he should be examined by a veterinarian.
If your dog is heavily bleeding, the veterinarian team will first need to stabilize him. They may administer IV fluids to help keep your dog hydrated. If the patient has lost a lot of blood, he may need a blood or platelet transfusion.
After the patient is stable, the veterinarian may recommend a complete blood count (CBC) and x-rays. If the CBC determined a low platelet count, the veterinarian may recommend a buccal mucosal bleeding time test and a specific blood test for Von Willebrand’s disease, which measures the levels of the clotting protein.
Dogs with dental or gum conditions may be referred to a veterinarian dentist. Deep and large lacerations may need sutures. The mouth will need to be cleaned several times a day with a disinfectant. Your pet will not be able to eat hard kibble. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help prevent a bacterial infection.
If the veterinarian finds a foreign object in the dog’s mouth he will remove it. Your dog will need to be sedated or anaesthetised during the procedure.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Von Willebrand’s disease in dogs but the disease can be managed and controlled. The veterinarian may also recommend soft, wet food instead of dry kibble, which can cause gum bleeding. Hard chew toys and rough housing should be avoided.
Dogs with clotting disorders should generally not be given nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), estrogens, heparin or sulfonamide antibiotics. Additionally, if your dog ever requires surgery, let the surgeon know that your companion has a clotting disorder. The surgical team is then prepared and will have blood transfusions available. It is also a good idea to know your dog’s blood type, in case of a bleeding emergency.
Prevention of Bleeding from the Mouth
Regular visits to a veterinary dentist may help prevent a tooth abscess, plaque and gingivitis. It is a good idea to keep an eye on your dog when he is playing outside. Unsupervised dogs can chew on things they should not be chewing on (sticks, rocks grass seeds). Additionally, they can be attacked by wild animals or exposed to physical abuse.
Von Willebrand’s disease is an inherited genetic condition. The only way to prevent the disease is to not breed carriers of the disease.
Cost of Bleeding from the Mouth
The cost of treatment will depend on the veterinarian’s diagnosis. The treatment of canine ulcerative paradental stomatitis may range from $500 to $4500. The cost of treating gum disease can be $800.
Worried about the cost of treating your pet's symptoms?
Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.