Managing Nosebleeds in Dogs

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Epistaxis (or nose bleeding) in dogs is not regarded as common, so if the condition develops, be very observant to your pet’s behavior and health to avoid the condition getting more serious. If a nosebleed is once off occurrence and resolves itself, then there’s no cause for alarm. However, if you notice that it happening frequently, you’ll need to pay close attention to the condition. What may start out as mild or severe sneezing with bloody discharge could very well turn out into something very serious-- in some cases, even fatal. Never take any chances with your faithful friend’s life.

 

Symptoms

There are a number of symptoms that will alert you to this anomaly in your dog. The most obvious will be fresh, bright red blood either slowly oozing or rapidly dripping from one or both your dog’s nostrils. If a foreign object is lodged in the dog’s nose, then mild to severe sneezing may occur and the presence of blood in the mucus will alert you to a problem. Your furry friend might also take to pawing at his nose and you may also notice new and unusual behavior such as whining or crying, restlessness, and agitation. The nose may also swell and if you’re careful to notice, you’ll see that the appearance of the skin around the nose has changed. The dog’s gums will also change color and become pale. The eyes could become watery and red. Sometimes your dog will also throw up what seems to be a substance of an unusually dark color. Finding out the cause of the nosebleed is important and that is what will determine the treatment your dog will receive for this condition.

 

Risk

All dogs are vulnerable to nosebleeds for one reason or the other, but there are some dogs which are at increased risk of suffering the condition. Young purebred puppies will often have nose bleeds because of blood coagulation abnormalities. Middle aged dogs can nosebleed because of physical traumas, immune system disorders, or infectious diseases. Older dogs may suffer this condition due to cancer or nasal neoplasia. Understanding your dog’s health will enable you deal with nose bleeds as they occur and will also alert you as to when you should take your pet into the vet’s clinic. Don’t ignore the unusual as this could mean either life or death for your pet.

 

Causes

There are a number of reasons why dogs may have a nosebleed, such as simple or severe trauma to the snout, especially after a fight with another animal or receiving a hard blow on the nose. There’s also upper respiratory tract infections, wounds or injuries that are not apparent such as those from a snake bite, leukemia, or cancer in another organ. If your dog has liver failure, fungal diseases, high blood pressure, or dental disease such as abscesses, this may also cause the nose bleeding. Others are the presence of a tumor, coagulation problems, such as if your dog is haemophilic, the  presence of a foreign body lodged in the nose, ingestion of rat poison, certain tick-borne diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, von Willebrand’s disease, and also issues with blood proteins. Some of these conditions can be life-threatening to your dog so you need to know when to act fast and visit the vet.

It is important to be aware that as your dog nose bleeds, they will likely swallow a great deal of blood and this may lead to bloody stool or vomit that contains blood clots. This is common and doesn’t necessarily indicate bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. Nosebleeds are rarely dangerous and can easily be treated at home and will resolve with no ongoing or lasting consequences. The most important thing you have to ensure is that your dog can breathe normally and that the pet has not lost too much blood. Anemia could also prove fatal for your pet.

 

First Aid

Though some nosebleeds can signal a serious health condition, not all occurrences warrant a visit to the vet. If you administer first aid and are able to contain the bleeding then all may be well. But remember that it is very important not to administer any medication to your dog unless specifically advised by the vet.

When you notice that your dog is bleeding from the nose, keep him calm. Be careful to avoid acting panicked, as your dog will pick up on your emotions and become agitated himself. An agitated dog can easily suffer from elevated blood pressure and this will increase the bleeding. Place an icepack on the bridge of the nose or on top of the muzzle. In short-faced breeds, be sure your pet can breathe around the icepack. The cold will constrict the small blood vessels which will slow the bleeding, or stop it altogether. If first aid remedies don’t resolve the bleeding, it’s time to visit the vet.

 

When to See the Vet

If there is no obvious cause of your dog’s nosebleed and when the bleeding doesn’t stop even after you’ve performed first aid. Be sure to have your dog’s medical history when you’re visiting the vet. For example, let your veterinarian know if:

  • Your dog could have accidentally ingested rat poison or eaten rodents that took poison

  • If the nose bleeding is as a result of trauma suffered

  • If your pet played roughly with another animal

  • If the dog was exposed to seed or grass that could have become lodged in the nose

The vet will also want to know if this is a one time occurrence or if this has been happening frequently. Having this information ready is very important as it will enable the vet give the right treatment in good time.

The vet will also check for bulging or protruding of one eye compared to the other, excessive tearing and redness in one or both eyes, and the color of the gums. Be as helpful as you can to enable the vet to quickly find out the underlying cause of the nose bleeding as this could save your dog’s life. If the cause of bleeding isn’t obvious, the vet will take the time to run several tests and will also need to find out if your dog has a reduced number of red blood cells, indicating anemia. X-rays and CT scans may also be recommended by the vet if tumors and cancers are suspected. Be as cooperative as possible so your furry friend can be properly diagnosed and receive the treatment they need.

 

What to Expect

Trauma and infections are the most common causes of nosebleeds in dogs and your vet will probably prescribe antibiotics to treat them. Treatment will vary depending on the reason for the nose bleeds once the vet has diagnosed this. Successful treatment and recovery will depend on the origin of the nosebleed. If the condition is mild then simple treatment will be given, but sometimes the prognosis could be of an underlying illness that continues to progress. In such cases, the treatment will be very extensive and recovery slower. Sometimes the nose bleeding could bring out the presence of a tumor or cancerous growth in the nasal cavity or skull and you need to be prepared to deal with a poor prognosis.

Thankfully, most nosebleeds will quickly resolve and once the vet has treated your pet and allows you to take them home, be sure to remain alert. You’ll be required to carefully and closely monitor your pet’s activity levels, appetite, and general demeanor over the coming days to ensure that there’s nothing else wrong with your beloved pet. When the bleeding stops, a clot will form and if your dog is restless and agitated then the clot may rupture and lead to another bout of nose bleeding.