Last Week: HOW TO Treat Your Dog’s Throat Cancer
Did you know that your dog can get nosebleeds just like humans? Also called epistaxis, nosebleeds are generally caused by damage to your dog’s nasal vessels, but can also be due to an increased fragility of his capillaries.
PetMD.com reports, “A bleeding nose can come from several sources. One may be the result of a condition called coagulopathy — a condition where the blood is not coagulating as it should. There are several other possible causes for nose bleeds, such as a wound or injury that is not apparent, as from a snake bite, or it may be from a disease, like cancer in an organ, leukemia, or a number of other diseases. Regardless of the cause, this is a condition that needs to be checked by your veterinarian promptly.”
All dogs are at risk of being affected by this condition.
“Any breed can develop epistaxis and there is no gender predilection. Dogs with long noses (so-called ‘dolichocephalic’ breeds such as Collies) may be at greater risk for some causes of epistaxis (e.g., nasal tumors),” adds petplace.com.
What Causes Nosebleeds?
According to petplace.com, “The bleeding may be acute (sudden) or chronic (long standing). How ill the animal becomes often is determined by the underlying cause of the nasal bleeding. It is important to determine if the bleeding is unilateral (one-sided) or bilateral (both nostrils) because some causes of epistaxis are associated with unilateral bleeding whereas others are associated with bilateral bleeding.”
Epistaxis may be caused by:
Nasal foreign bodies
Dental disease, like tooth root abscess
Infections (bacterial, fungal or parasitic)
Certain blood disorders, such as clotting abnormalities; excessively viscous (having a thick, sticky consistency between solid and liquid) blood; or tick-borne diseases that can cause low platelet counts
What are the Symptoms of Nosebleeds?
Besides a bloody nose, your dog may show some of these symptoms listed by petplace.com:
Sneezing, accompanied by a large spray of blood
Severe dental disease
Black, tarry stool (caused by swallowing blood)
A foul odor from the mouth or nose
Loss of appetite
“Don’t forget that a pet with a bloody nose will likely swallow a great deal of the draining blood. This may lead to an especially black stool or even to vomit with blood clots in it. After a bloody nose, such findings are usually just a reflection of the bloody nose and do not necessarily indicate bleeding in the GI tract,” Marvistavet.com reports.
How is the Cause of a Nosebleed Diagnosed?
Before your veterinarian performs a general examination of your dog, it might be a good idea to consider some of these questions from marvistavet.com in order to help your vet diagnose the cause of your dog’s nosebleeds:
Does your dog take medication? Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (aspirin in particular) will inactivate blood clotting factors. Do not assume your vet knows all the medications your dog is taking; list them for your vet.
Do you have any rat poison or has your dog been consuming any dead rodents that might have been poisoned? Most rat poisons act by disabling the ability to clot blood.
Look closely at your dog’s face. Is there any deformity or asymmetry? Is the bridge of the nose swollen? Are either of the third eyelids elevated? Does one eye seem to protrude? Does one eye tear more? Does the actual leather of the nose look normal?
Could there have been any trauma to the nose? Does your pet play rough with another animal?
Is your dog exposed to foxtails or other grass awns that could become lodged in the nose?
Has your dog been sneezing or rubbing at his nose?
Open your dog’s mouth. Look at the gums under his lips. Is there blood? Do his gums seem pale? If so, this suggests a serious loss of blood and you may have an emergency on your hands.
Is there any evidence of bleeding anywhere besides the nose? Intestinal bleeding may present with a black tarry stool. Any unusual bruising should be reported. Any unexplained swelling that might represent bleeding under the skin should also be noted.
Is this the first nosebleed or have there been others? Do both nostrils bleed or only one?
PetMD.com explains, “It will probably take time and several tests to determine what is causing the bleeding. The veterinarian will first need to know if your dog has a reduced number of red blood cells, indicating anemia, and if so, how critical it is. Other tests that will be ordered by your veterinarian are blood analyses to determine whether the blood platelets are normal, a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis and tests to determine whether there is bone-marrow disease. To determine whether the bleeding is caused by a coagulation problem, a coagulation profile will also be conducted.”
How are Nosebleeds Treated?
Treatment for your dog will ultimately depend on the underlying cause of your dog’s condition.
“If your dog is suffering from coagulopathy, he will need to stay in hospital for treatment. If the coagulating problem is caused by a condition like liver disease, the underlying cause will be treated. If the cause is a clotting abnormality like hemophilia, a transfusion will be necessary. If your dog is found to be anemic but the bleeding is from a cause other than a coagulating problem, he will probably be given a blood transfusion in the doctor’s office, but you will most likely be able to take your dog home with you,” according to petMD.com.
In more serious cases, such as a tumor in the nasal passages, your vet will have to determine the best course of action.
For immediate treatment, petplace.com advises, “Minimize stress for your pet. Sedation may be necessary to decrease excitement and agitation.” It suggests that the following may also help:
Cold compresses and direct pressure to help decrease bleeding
Adrenaline (i.e., epinephrine) can be applied in the nose to control bleeding
In severe cases, general anesthesia may be required to allow packing of the nasal cavity with gauze so as to provide direct pressure to control bleeding
There is no way to prevent your dog from getting a nosebleed since they have so many underlying causes.
“Your veterinarian will educate you about what to watch for in case of a serious hemorrhage, such as weakness, collapse, pallor or the loss of large amounts of blood,” states PetMD.com.
Find A Vet HOW TO articles are intended for informational purposes only. You should always consult with your veterinarian about any health issues affecting your dog.