Nosebleeds in dogs may have various causes. Medically known as epistaxis, if your dog has nose bleeds often it may translate into a trip to the veterinarian for a thorough check up. While a nose bleed occasionally may signify nothing more than a foxtail or blade of grass stuck in the nasal passage, frequent nosebleeds may be caused by much more serious conditions.
Nose bleeds in dogs may be uni- lateral or bi-lateral, meaning the the blood may be coming from just one nostril or from both the nostrils. Attention must be paid also to the type of blood loss ranging from a few drops to a pretty heavy flow. Owners must be able to halt a nose bleed effectively to avoid a dog from losing too much blood.
A dog must be kept as calm and still as possible. The more the dog will move and be anxious, the less likely the nose bleed to stop due to the increased blood pressure associated with anxiety and stress. An ice pack or cold compress must be then applied on the dog’s nose bridge and kept in place in order for the nasal blood vessels to constrict and stop bleeding.
Special care is required to keep the dog calm after the nose bleed has taken place. The reason beneath this is the fact that once the nose bleeding has stopped a blood clot will have formed. If the dog moves about too much such clot may rupture causing another nose bleed. If the dog is prone to sneezing, stopping the nose bleed may be challenging. A dog should be seen immediately if the blood flow appears not to stop. The dog may require Epinephrine to halt the blood loss.
Causes of Nosebleeds in Dogs
Uni-lateral (only from one nostril) nose bleeds are most likely caused by:
- A foreign object such as a foxtail, blade of grass stuck in the nostril irritating the nasal passage
- A root tooth abscess may cause nose bleeding along with a swollen area under the eye or in the bridge of the nose area
- Nasal tumors
Other causes of nosebleeds (often affecting both nostrils):
- Nasal mites often causing sneezing episodes along with dogs pawing at their nose
- Trauma, often related to being hit by car or by bumping the nose against a hard object
- Ingestion of rat poison or rodents that have been poisoned, impeding the blood to properly clot
- Medications that interfere with proper blood clotting
- Bleeding disorders such as Van Willebrand’s disease or Thrombocytopenia
- Erlichiosis, a condition transmitted by ticks causing coagulation issues
- Fungal condition called Aspergillosis causing an infection in the dog’s nose
Owners of dogs affected by nosebleeds should not be alarmed if their dog will have a dark, tarry stool or if the dog vomits liquid resembling coffee grounds. In both cases this simply denotes that the dog has swallowed digested blood. An eye should be kept on the dog’s gums. If the gums of a dog suffering from substantial blood loss appear pale and not their healthy bubble gum pink, a vet should be seen as soon as possible.
A nose bleed may be nothing more than an irritated nasal passage but frequent nose bleeds with no apparent cause or accompanied by other symptoms are signs that your dog’s body is sending a red flag. Never under estimate nose bleeds and play it safe by having your dog checked out.
For further Reading: Blood Diseases in Dogs