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What is Sneezing Blood?

There are several reasons as to why your dog is sneezing blood. It could be an allergy, infection, or even a foreign body that was breathed into your dog's nose and has been trapped inside. Dogs noses don’t bleed easily, so it is something that needs prompt attention. If your dog is one of the long nosed variety (such as Labrador, German Shepherd and others), they are susceptible to nasal cancer and tumors. Cancer can cause bleeding from either one or both nostrils. Request that your veterinarian assess your dog to determine the cause, some of which are listed below.

  • Foreign object
  • Bacterial infection
  • Allergies 
  • Tooth and gum problems 
  • Nasal cancer such as a tumor

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Why Sneezing Blood Occurs in Dogs

Foreign Object 

Your dog is the original sticky beak; they are always poking their nose in places to see what is there, huffing and snuffling as they do. Sometimes they sniff up pointed seed grains that can lodge in their nasal area which causes them to sneeze repeatedly to try and remove it, which often causes bleeding. 

Bacterial Infections

Any buildup of bacterial matter within the nasal area can cause your dog fits of sneezing, and because sneezing is a violent action, it can often cause nose bleeds. Look for other signs of infection such as around the eye area and test to see whether it is coming from one or both nostrils. Nasal mite infestation can also cause sneezing which can produce blood in the fluids.

Allergies 

Allergies can also promote sneezing bouts that can, in turn, cause bleeding. The allergy is usually a seasonal occurrence, such as late spring and early summer when all the plant and grass pollen is floating around. Other allergens can be cigarette smoke or commonly used cleaning products used around the house.

Tooth and Gum Problems 

Tooth problems, including gum disease and abscesses, can drain back into the nasal cavity and cause your dog to sneeze frequently, which in turn can cause bleeding. If left unattended, these pathological organisms can travel to other parts of the body and can turn the problems into long term chronic conditions. 

Cancer and Tumors 

While it is scary to contemplate, you need to be aware that in an older dog, you may encounter bloody sneezing which can be caused by the growth of a tumor in one of the nasal passages. The tumors start slowly with your dog only sneezing occasionally to clear the growth, but as the tumor expands and takes up more room, your dog will have frequent attacks of sneezing as he tries to expel the growth. The tumor usually only affects one side and blood loss in the affected nostril will be noticeable.

What to do if your Dog is Sneezing Blood

Because dogs don’t exhibit this behavior as we do, it is a symptom that all is not right with your dog, especially when blood is a by-product of the sneeze. Some dogs are not too patient to sit still while you try to peer up their nose, or into their mouth, so a trip to the veterinarian is the most effective solution. 

For a foreign object lodged in the nasal area, your dog will be sedated while the veterinarian attempts to remove it. Afterwards, your dog will need an anti-inflammatory injection and with antibiotics will return quickly to normal health. Usually, this condition only affects one side of the nose. 

Bacterial, viral or fungal infections will be prescribed a course of medication aimed at the type of infection. Dental care will help to clear the infection spread by diseased gums and cracked teeth. Often, a course of medication over two to three weeks can clear the infection and allow your dog to return to normal. For nasal mite infestations, special medications will be administered to kill the mites.

Allergies will cause your dog some discomfort, but if it is seasonal, you can make changes to your dog’s day by keeping them indoors more, especially on very windy days. Removal of any highly potent pollen producing trees or bushes around your home may help. 

If your veterinarian cannot find any of the above causes, then he will check for tumors within the nasal area. A full examination of your dog will be carried out, checking the mouth and nasal area using x-rays of the skull and CT scans, and your specialist may take a biopsy through the nostrils. An x-ray or CT scan will look for changes or destruction to the nasal area. If the damage is noted in the nasal bones, it is usually caused by infection or cancer. These tests can also show any infection within the teeth roots. Blood tests and vigorous flushing of liquid to clear the nasal area are other processes that will help determine the diagnosis. Surgery and chemotherapy are available for treatment, but surgery in this area is very difficult with so many hidden pockets. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on the right course of action to help your dog.

Prevention of Sneezing Blood

It’s hard to prevent your dog getting his nose into ‘stuff’ because that’s what dogs do. Keeping your dog on a lead when out walking will let you see what your dog is exploring, and you can guide him away from harmful things. Ensuring you have a good management program for your dog will help keep them healthy. Needed are regular home checkups for health and teeth, a  healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and grooming. When grooming and when your dog is relaxed, it is a great opportunity to check your dog's ears, nose, eyes and belly for any changes. As an owner, through careful observation, you will notice subtle changes to your dog's behavior or personality which you can then take steps to remedy. Schedule a regular visit for your dog to go to the veterinary clinic. Like so many health issues, the sooner they are treated, the easier to solve.

Cost of Sneezing Blood

Treatment may only cost the price of a clinic visit if it is a minor condition, but costs can vary depending on what condition your dog has. The treatment for mite infection within the nasal area could cost approximately $500 while the costs for treating a malignant tumor could set you back up to $12,000. The tooth abstraction and treatment of an abscess can cost anywhere between $500 and $1,500 depending on the severity. These costs are just an approximate price as it depends on the extent of treatment that your dog requires.

Sneezing Blood Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Margaux
Brussels griffon
8 years 11 months
Moderate condition
2 found helpful
Moderate condition

Our 8 year old female Brussels Griffon has been sneezing and reverse sneezing for a few days. We took her to the emergency clinic on Sunday and they thought it might be allergies. We took her to her regular vet on Monday and she was prescribed an antibiotic, which we have been giving to her. He said it was nothing serious. Today, on her morning walk she sneezed blood. A few moments ago she also sneezed blood. The vet is not open today. Should we wait until tomorrow, or take her back to the emergency Vet?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1823 Recommendations
Sneezing a little blood (which doesn’t run) is a concern but keep an eye on it but if the nose is running with blood return to the Emergency Veterinarian. Possible causes may be infections, dental issues, foreign objects, tumours among other issues; further investigation will be required to come to a diagnosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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