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What is Bleeding From the Vagina?

Your unspayed female dog will go through two to three heat cycles on average per year.  Being in heat is the most common reason for vaginal bleeding, but there are other medical conditions that may cause your dog to bleed from her vagina.  However, you should try to determine if the bleeding originates from the vulva or is in your dog’s urine.  Additionally, your dog may eliminate bloody diarrhea, which may appear to come from her vagina.  

  • Estrus cycles (heat cycle)
  • Pyometra
  • Miscarriage
  • Vaginal inflammation
  • Tumors of the vagina

Why Bleeding From the Vagina Occurs in Dogs

There are a few reasons why your dog may be bleeding from her vagina (vulva).  Blood in the urine may indicate a urinary tract infection but differs from blood that passes from the vulva.

Estrus Cycles

Unspayed females will go through two to three estrus cycles annually, also known as going into heat.  A heat cycle lasts two to three weeks and begins as spot bleeding from the vulva.  Your dog’s vulva will also become swollen, and she may urinate more often than normal.  Her excessive urination is meant to attract male dogs.  Estrus cycles are not a medical condition but a natural reproductive cycle in dogs.

Pyometra

Pyometra is a medical condition that may arise during an estrus cycle and is an infection in the uterus.  Pyometra is a serious, life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical treatment.  As your dog’s hormones change during her heat cycles white blood cells, which prevent infection, are not permitted into the uterus.  The uterine lining will grow in anticipation of pregnancy.  However, if pregnancy does not occur within several consecutive heat cycles, cysts can start to grow within the thickened tissue and create an ideal environment for bacterial growth. Without the white blood cells present to combat the bacterial growth, your dog can develop a uterine infection.

Miscarriage

Your dog may become pregnant during her estrus cycle, and after a few weeks, her body may abort the pregnancy due to a number of reasons.  Miscarriages will often result in excessive bleeding from the vagina where your dog may pass the placenta and other tissues.

Vaginal Inflammation

If your spayed female is experiencing vaginal discharge that contains blood, she may be suffering from vaginal inflammation or vaginitis. Additional symptoms of vaginitis include frequent urination or difficulty urinating.  Your dog may also lick her vulvar area more frequently and scoot her bottom across the floor.  Vaginitis is usually caused by an infection or foreign body and can affect any female at any age although prepubescent and older dogs appear more predisposed. 

Vaginal Tumors

Unspayed females are more likely to develop vaginal tumors as they age. Most vaginal tumors are benign, or non-cancerous and can cause vulvar bleeding as well as blood in the urine, vaginal odor, and difficulty giving birth. 

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What to do if your Dog is Bleeding From the Vagina

You should take you dog to the veterinarian if she is bleeding from her vulva and you believe she is not in heat.  Your vet will perform a complete physical examination and ask you when you first noticed her symptoms.  The vet will also ask you about the quantity and quality of her bleeding; for example, if your dog is spotting or hemorrhaging and if the blood is thick, thin, or accompanied by other discharge.  The answers to these questions will help your veterinarian make a diagnosis, but additional testing may also be conducted to rule out other conditions.  

Your veterinarian may take a vaginal swab to test for bacterial infections associated with urinary tract infections of vaginitis.  Tissue samples collected from your dog’s vulva may also be examined to determine if any tumors may be present.  If your vet finds tumor growth, a CT scan or X-ray will be ordered to determine location, size, and possible metastases.  Typically, surgery is conducted to remove the uterus and ovaries as well as the tumor growth.  Radiation and chemotherapy may be utilized to destroy any hidden cancer cells and prevent a reoccurrence of tumor growth.  Dogs are far more tolerant of chemotherapy than humans are and experience less illness and hair loss.  However, some breeds of dog are more susceptible to hair loss, including English Sheepdogs, Lhasa Apsos, Maltese, Schnauzers, Shih Tzus, and Poodles.

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Prevention of Bleeding From the Vagina

Many of the medical conditions associated with bleeding from the vagina can be prevented by spaying your dog.  Spaying your dog will also end future estrus cycles and prevents contribution to the dog overpopulation.  Pyometra results from hormone changes associated with consecutive estrus cycles not resulting in pregnancy.  The treatment for pyometra calls for an ovariohysterectomy (spay), but this can be a complicated surgical procedure when your dog is fighting a bacterial infection.

Bacteria can also grow in the urinary tract and infect your dog.  Giving her access to clean water and the opportunity to eliminate her waste frequently will help prevent bacterial infections that might lead to vaginal inflammation.  

Unfortunately, you may not be able to prevent tumors from growing in your dog’s vagina, but early spaying can significantly reduce the risk of developing tumor growths and cancer later in life. 

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Cost of Bleeding From the Vagina

The cost of treatment for your dog’s bleeding from her vagina depends on the underlying medical condition.  For example, treatment for vaginitis can cost around $750 whereas pyometra can cost around $1,200.  Still greater, treatment for tumor growth can cost around $7,500.

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Bleeding From the Vagina Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Anatolian Shepherd

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Two Years

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Bleeding

I rescued here in February 2020 from the streets of PR with a golden retriever. He is a male. I took them both to spay within the week of rescue. He clearly was intact. When I got there, apparently She was already spayed the vet told me. Now, Twice this has happened since. Including now. This gut wrenching Awful smell from her vagina. And it discharges all over bed and sheets. Profuse Licking. Bleeding through sheets.

Aug. 7, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I think that you are concerned about the discharge from your female dog, who you were told was already spayed. If they thought they saw a spay scar but didn't actually go in to see if she was spayed, they may have been mistaken. She may also have an infection that needs attention, given your description of the odor. It would probably be best either way to have her seen by a veterinarian, as they can help you get to the bottom of this. I hope that all goes well.

Aug. 8, 2020

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Pit Bull

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Six Years

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Bleeding It Seems To Just Be Flowing Out

Vet today said she was just on her menstrual cycle but it's just leaking out and alot

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. That is quite a bit of blood, and does not seem like a normal heat cycle. She likely has a problem with her uterus or ovaries, and it would probably be a good idea to have her spayed as soon as possible. In the meantime, a recheck with your veterinarian would be best to make sure that she is not becoming anemic and see if any treatment can help for now. I hope that she is okay.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Catahoula mix

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Nine Years

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Bleeding

Unspayed geratric female, indoor dog. Began acting as in heat a few days ago. Today I noticed drops of blood on the floor. She's also panting, which is unusual because she's been in the AC for the past few hours. Her body doesn't feel warm. She also will stand with head low for several minutes at a time before gently lying down.

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Older dogs who are not spayed are very prone to uterine infections, and these infections can become life-threatening fairly quickly. It would probably be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. They can look at her, runs and lab work if needed, and see if she has something that needs to be taken care of right away or if medications will be more appropriate. I hope that she is okay.

Aug. 4, 2020

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Six Years

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Bleeding

My dogs has been having their cycle normally,but I have one of them who keeps on bleeding. Every week she'll blees for at least 3-4 days and it will stop then after sever days she'll start bleeding again. I don't know what to do or what's wrong.

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. You may have a dog that has a uterine or ovarian problem, and that dog may be best to be spayed. Without seeing her, I cannot comment on what might be going on, as I don't know how old she is, or anything else about her, but it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. They will be able to examine her, see what might be going on, and advise you as to the best options for her. I hope that all goes well for your dog.

Aug. 1, 2020

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Pit lab mix

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Eleven Years

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Bleeding From Vulva

My 11 yr old not spayed lab pit mix started leaking brown fluid which I thought was her anal gland as it smelled like it but last night she started bleeding a lot it just drips out at times and then other times nothing. I'm not sure what to do. She has been drinking more water since this started monday night.

July 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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Hello, So sorry to hear about your dog. This does sound like a pyometra and needs vet attention right away. Many times your vet will have to spay your dog to remove the infected uterus. This can be a life-threatening issue that should be seen ASAP. I hope you can get into your vet soon so your dog can get the care she really needs.

July 30, 2020

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Mona

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Dutch Shepherd

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1 Year

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Bloody Vulva

Heat in March and it ended that same month, now we are in May (2nd to be exact 2020) and the blood started, we are not sure if the male dogs we have, got her pregnant, but her nipples have been swollen this past month, we believe that she is having a miscarriage, but so many websites say something completly different.

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midnight

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Labrador Retriever

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12 Years

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Blood

i have a 12 year old female lab, she is bleeding from her vagina and does not want to eat and her stool is very runny, she hasnt been eating much for aboout two weeks now but the bleeding just started yesterday.

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Kia

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Akita

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10 Years

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Blood In Urine, Blood Clots

My 10 year old female unspayed akita, has a mammary gland tumor, a tumor On her womb and a problem with her kidneys she has blood & blood clots coming from her vulva, she has been seen by a vet but the can not do anything for her because of her kidneys, she is on pain medication but keeps whining and wanting to be close to me all the time she is eating and drinking OK, just don't know what to do

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Nina

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American Staffordshire Terrier

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5 Years

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Moderate severity

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Exessive Bleeding

my dog started her heat and everything was normal now towards then end of her heat she is bleading very excessive and she has never had this happen before while in heat. is this normal for her to bleed so much at the end of the heat cycle?

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daimond

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Pitbul

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13 Months

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Blood From Her Vigina

after her eoustrus period ,i relized that blood from her vigina never stop even afer she had her 1st litter....now it pups are 2 month old ,there is still blood from her vigina...any hlep please..