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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.  You should try to determine if the bleeding originates from the vagina or is in your dog’s urine.  Additionally, your dog may eliminate bloody diarrhea, which may appear to come from her vagina.  

Possible causes of a bloody discharge include:

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

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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 and is usually present within a voided urine sample.

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 or, more typically, after, 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 vagina 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 or 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 is usually 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 always 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. Transmissable Venereal Tumors (TVTs) can be spread via sexual contact with an infected male. This type of cancer usually responds well to chemotherapy.

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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 $200-400 whereas pyometra can cost around $1,200-$3,000.  Treatment for caner can cost between $4,000- $7,500 depending on how extensive it may be when diagnosed.

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Written by a Pugs lover Grace Park

Veterinary reviewed by: Linda S.

Published: 07/11/2017, edited: 03/22/2021

Bleeding From the Vagina Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Akita Inu

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7 months

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Swollen Vagina

Her vagina is swollen and drops of blood I'm pretty sure she hit puberty she's only 7 months old

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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8 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. 7 months is a fairly normal age for female dogs to come into heat, and this is likely normal for her. She will be very interested in make dogs and can become pregnant, so make sure to keep her inside and away from other dogs for 2-3 weeks. I hope that all goes well for her!

Oct. 4, 2020

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Bleeding, Diarrhea

what should i do for my dog whose starting to bleed. She also has diarrhea for no reason.

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If she is having blood from her vulva, she may be coming into heat, or she may have an infection. If she has been spayed, or it seems like more blood than expected, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. They will be able to examine her and see what might be going on, and give you an idea as to what treatment might be needed, if any. I hope that all goes well for her!

Oct. 5, 2020

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Chihuahua

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Fifteen Years

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Some Bleeding For Genital Area

My dog has some bleeding and continues to lick her genital area and whines a little. She has a good appetite and otherwise active

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Your dog may have an infection, a tumor, or a problem with her uterus or bladder. Since it is not normal to be bleeding from her back end, and she seems uncomfortable, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. They will be able to look at her, see what is going on, and get treatment for her. I hope that all goes well for her.

Oct. 5, 2020

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Blue Heeler

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Three Years

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Blood Spotting From Vulva

We just rescued our dog who is between 2-4 years old. According to spay records the rescue gave us, she was fixed 2 years ago. A week or two after we brought her home we noticed what looked like small dry blood drops on our hardwood floor sporadically. Upon closer inspection, we've noticed her randomly dripping blood from her vulva or it not dripping but smearing in the tile when she sits down then gets up. It is not all the time, and never pouring out.

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in response, there is a delay in receiving these emails sometimes. There are a couple of things that may be happening. She may have an infection that is causing this to occur, or she may have had an incomplete spay and the remnant of her uterus is showing signs of estrus. It would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine her, possible take some cytology samples, and see what might be causing this. I hope that all goes well for her.

Oct. 7, 2020

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9 months

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Bleeding From Vagina

My 9 month old pup is bleeding from her vagina. Is it part of her menstrual or her heat cycle?

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I am sorry for the delay, this platform is not set up for urgent emails. She is at the right age to likely be coming into heat, if she isn't spayed. If she is spayed, or if she continues to bleed, then having her seen by a veterinarian would be a good idea.

Oct. 10, 2020

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DIAMOND

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Pitbul

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13 Months

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Blood From Vigina

diamond is a active and happy pitbul. she is 13 months old.after her first estrus period i realize it was bleeding throughout her vagina even after her first litter.this bleeding continuous to fro two months..Can anybody out here help diagnose the problem

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Maya

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Pit bull mix

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Diarrhea
Vomiting
Vaginal Bleeding

Just adopted any dog from the shelter and they spayed her before we got her. Fast forward to about 10 days after her surgery and she started having bloody mucous coming from her vulva and a bit of diarrhea. We took her to the vet and they prescribed her 2 antibiotics. She’s had worse diarrhea since we started the antibiotics and she started vomiting yellow a few days ago. The urinalysis came back and she doesn’t have a UTI...we are just waiting until she’s been on antibiotics for a week to see if the symptoms stop. Really feel like I have no answers and I am very concerned.

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Honey

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Min pin and papillion

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5 Months

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Bleeding

my pup is about 5 months not spayed but two days ago I noticed when she peed it was a light pinkish but now I am seeing actual blood around her pee area and not just the light pink but actual red blood she is still eating and drinking water as usual but I never heard of a pup going in to heat as early as 4-5 months should c I be concerned?

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Potchie

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Siberian Husky

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3 Years

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Loss Of Appetite

Hi, I have a husky on day 46 we scanned her 3 alive puppies and 2 unconfirmed status of the puppy. skeletal bones are already formed. but she was diagnosed with Ehrlichia as well. Is their possibility puppies will survive.

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Marley

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Boxer

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1 Year

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Bleeding

My dog is in heat. I started noticing yesterday that when she pees there blood in her urine. The urine will fade from yellow with a tinge of red to red. Is this a normal part of the heat cycle? I don’t remember her urine being so red last heat cycle or last week during this current heat cycle.

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