What is Bleeding From the Nose?
When blood comes out of your dog’s nostril, nasopharynx, or nasal cavity, it is considered a nose bleed (also called epistaxis). Blood may come in slow drips or as a significant flow from the nose of your dog. You may observe him pawing at his nose, notice swelling or hear an increase in whining or crying from his usual demeanor. Your dog’s nose can bleed for a number of reasons to include:
- Trauma to his nose
- Ingesting poison
- A foreign object in your dog’s nose
- Fungal or bacterial infection
- Dental disease
- Nose tumor
- Coagulation problem
- Tick-borne disease
- Blood protein issue
As an underlying condition can be causing the nose bleed in your dog, visiting your veterinarian is important to determine if there is an issue that requires treatment. Once your veterinarian determines the cause of your dog’s nose bleeding, treatment will be recommended to resolve the issue.
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Why Bleeding From the Nose Occurs in Dogs
Your dog’s nose may be bleeding for the following reasons:
Trauma to your Dog’s Nose
Your dog can bang his nose into a hard object or another dog when playing; this is particularly common in younger dogs as they learn to play and are still gaining balance. If hard enough, this can cause a fracture or break in your dog’s nose and result in bleeding.
Some poison, for example anticoagulant rodenticides, will stop the production of Vitamin-K dependent blood clotting factors, leading to bleeding.
A Foreign Object in your Dog’s Nose
While your dog is discovering a small item he may inhale so strongly that the object winds up in his nose. A foreign object in your dog’s nose will be hard to get out, leading to ongoing sneezing which will irritate your dog’s nose and can lead to bleeding. If the object has sharp edges they can cut into the inside of your dog’s nose and cause it to bleed.
Fungal or Bacterial Infection in your Dog’s Nose
These infections can cause runny noses; the ongoing mucus running from your dog’s nose will erode his mucous membranes which can result in a bloody discharge from his nose.
In the case of a tooth abscess, blood can be produced at the root of the tooth. The blood will be released through your dog’s nasal passage.
Nasal adenocarcinoma (nose tumors) may result in excessive bleeding either through one of both nostrils. Additionally, breathing may be impeded.
Coagulation is the clotting of blood. Certain conditions like Von Willebrand disease and hemophilia will lead to blood not forming platelets and clotting, resulting in significant bleeding.
Tick Borne Disease
One tick-borne disease is ehrlichiosis. In this condition, there is a decrease in the number of platelets (which help with blood clotting) in your dog’s blood.
Blood Protein Issue
If your dog has high amounts of blood proteins as a result of certain diseases (multiple myeloma, lymphoma and ehrlichiosis for example) it can lead to poor performance of the platelets and coagulation will not occur as usual.
What to do if your Dog is Bleeding From the Nose
Do not panic if you notice that your dog is experiencing a nose bleed. You will want to do your best to keep your dog calm and relaxed so that the bleeding does not become more severe. It may be helpful to put an ice pack on the bridge of his nose in order to slow or stop the amount of blood that is flowing.
You will want to contact your veterinarian for an appointment as bleeding from the nose may be the result of an underlying condition that requires treatment. Upon conducting a complete physical examination, your veterinarian will ask you for information about your pet’s medical history, medications that he is taking and whether he has experienced other bleeding episodes. Should your dog have experienced recent trauma to his nose, let your veterinarian know. You will also want to let your veterinarian know if your dog may have been exposed to rodents or pesticides.
During the physical examination, your veterinarian will look to see if there is any pain or facial swelling present as well as look at his eyes to see if there is any redness or anything else that is unusual. A complete blood count (CBC) may be ordered to see if your dog is experiencing anemia and other possible problems like damage to his organs. Depending on what is seen during the physical exam, other tests that may be conducted include:
- X-ray to look for internal bleeding
- Swab of your dog’s nasal passages to determine if there is an infection
- Bone marrow analysis
Prevention of Bleeding From the Nose
It is always important to feed your dog a well-balanced diet to ensure that he gets the nutrients that he needs for his health. Regular exercise is also important for your dog’s overall well-being.
You can minimize the opportunity for your dog to experience trauma to his nose by keeping him on his leash when outdoors. This will keep him from getting into rough fights with other dogs as well as from getting into the street where he could be hit by a car.
Regular dental examinations will allow for potential issues to be found and treated before becoming more problematic for your dog.
It is a good idea to regularly check the area or areas where your dog spends time alone to make sure that there are not any items he could ingest or inhale that could cause him problems. In addition, pesticides should not be used in areas where your dog spends time.
Cost of Bleeding From the Nose
The cost of your dog bleeding from his nose will depend upon what is causing the bleeding to occur. The average cost of nose bleeds in dogs is $1500. In a serious condition such as nose cancer, the cost can vary significantly based on the location of where treatment is occurring as well as the extent of your dog’s condition, with the average cost being $12,000.