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What is Spotting Blood?

Spotting blood in dogs is simply small amounts of blood coming from a number of places in the canine body that you will likely see around the house.  Reasons why blood spotting might be seen:

  • Ear infection
  • Foot or toenail injury
  • Oral issues
  • Urinary or bladder infection
  • Intestinal or rectal issues
  • Prostate problems
  • Pregnancy or heat cycle

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Why Spotting Blood Occurs in Dogs

There are various reasons and conditions which can cause your dog to spot blood from a number of places on his body.  Here are some of the most common:

Ear Infection

Severe ear infections can cause the ear(s) to spot blood.  Various traumas to the ears also have the ability to produce spotting of blood from the ear area.

Foot or Toenail Injury

Canines are investigators of all things within their view and can, in their investigative endeavors, cut or scrape their paws or foot area by stepping on sharp objects. Sometimes foreign bodies can become imbedded into the pads of their feet.  A broken toenail will cause spotting of blood as well.

Oral Issues

Various types of dental problems can cause spotting of blood.  Broken teeth, gum disease, loss of teeth, oral masses and oral trauma are some things which can produce blood spotting

Urinary or Bladder Infection

Canines can contract infectious organisms in their urinary systems. When this occurs, much like humans, spots of blood can be seen in the urine and sometimes discomfort occurs as well.  When this blood spotting is seen in the house, it can have the appearance of pure blood. Bladder stones are another potential cause for spotting of blood in the urine.

Intestinal or Rectal Issues

Spotting of blood from the rectum can occur when your pet strains to defecate when he is constipated. Bouts of diarrhea can also produce spotting of blood.  Inflammatory bowel disease and gastrointestinal diseases are also conditions which can produce bloody stools. 

Prostate Problems

Blood spotting from the penis in males can indicate some prostate issues.  Cancers, depending on their location, can also produce blood spotting or other discharges from virtually any opening in the body

Pregnancy or Heat Cycle

Spotting of blood from the vagina of a female can be indicative of a heat cycle.  When the spotting of blood changes color, she is usually ready to mate.  Spotting of blood from the vagina of a pregnant female can, but not always, be indicative of a pregnancy issue.  Some breeds and females can spot blood throughout the pregnancy and still produce healthy puppies.

What to do if your Dog is Spotting Blood

The occasional spotting of blood may not be something about which a pet parent should be alarmed but should elicit an attitude of increased watchfulness.  If the spotting becomes more frequent or if the amount of blood being spotted increases, you should seek medical attention urgently or as soon as possible.  

When the spotting is observed, examine your canine for possible injuries or foreign bodies.  For some paw injuries or broken toenails, for example, cleaning the area and removing the foreign body may be all that is required in the moment.  A trip to the vet may not always be immediately necessary.  

For the conditions which are generally related to various infections, veterinary medical care is recommended as soon as possible to avoid the progression to a more serious stage or condition.  Your veterinary professional will perform a physical examination and may do some testing of blood, fluids or tissue samples to ascertain the infective organism.  He will most likely need to provide some sort of treatment, though the specifics will be dependent upon the organism found at the root of the infection.  

In the event that your pregnant female is spotting, your vet may wish to utilize imaging modalities like x-rays, CT scanning or MRI to ascertain the cause.  Safety for the mother and the unborn pups will be of primary concern in these studies.

Imaging modalities may also be required for the male who is spotting from the penis to determine if the cause is prostatic or cancerous. Appropriate treatments will be recommended based upon the findings.

Prevention of Spotting Blood

So, what can you do to prevent spotting blood in your canine? Daily or frequent regular examinations of your pet at home, with attention given to: 

  • The condition of the ears (especially in those breeds whose ears hang down)
  • Dental inspection of color of gums and condition of the teeth 
  • Examining the feet of your canine companion regularly and removing any surface debris and foreign bodies 
  • Inspection of the feces and the urine of your pet on a regular basis and keeping up with fecal and urine testing with your vet
  • Noting and reporting any abnormalities in the usual habits and behaviors of your pet to your veterinary professional

Close inspection and observation of your canine companion should parallel that given to your children as you monitor and take necessary steps to ensure their health and safety.  In most cases, these examinations of your pet can be done easily when you pet them, groom them or just play with them without making a big deal of it to them.

Cost of Spotting Blood

There are, of course, some costs involved with utilizing appropriate veterinary medical care, just as with our human maladies.  Here are the estimated costs associated with a few of the conditions known to cause spotting of blood in dogs:

  • Ear infection and inflammation costs can range from $200 to $3,500
  • Urinary tract infection treatment costs range from $300 to $1,000
  • To treat inflammatory bowel disease, those costs can range from $300 to $6,000