May 2, 2009

NOSE BLEEDS IN DOGS

There are many potential causes for nose bleeds in dogs. Bleeding from the nose (aka Epistaxis) is NOT normal for any dog at any time. Epistaxis can occur in one or both nostrils and can range from a few droplets or large discharges. Some cases start with sneezing and traces of blood in nasal discharges, while others have profuse bleeding as the first sign.

Causes of Nasal Bleeding

Direct Trauma To The Nostril
Either caused by “doggy disagreements” with other dogs, cats, and wild critters, thorn, etc. Note that this type of bleeding is generally noticed by pet parents as it may involve scratches, punctures on the outside of the nostril or directly surrounding the nostril and exhibit signs of “battle” trauma rather than nasal discharge per se.

Other direct traumas may involve car accidents (being hit by a vehicle) and falls in which case the nostril bleed becomes a mere reflection of internal injury. The signs are nasal discharge versus trauma wound.

Whenever your dog is hit by a car or suffers as a result of a fall, take dog to veterinarian immediately.

DO NOT DELAY TRANSPORT!


ACTIONS FOR SURVIVAL
1) You need to remain calm and composed. Dogs pick up on your emotions and will react accordingly.
2) Keep the pet calm. You do NOT want to excite the pet as it will increase its blood pressure and subsequently increase the bleeding.
3) Apply an Ice Pak –wrapped in cloth - to the bridge of the nose. NEVER APPLY ice pak directly onto nostril. Obviously, be sure your pet can breathe around the ice pack. Use a clean cloth or gauze. The cloth provides a barrier to allow for steady cooling and helps prevent early signs of hypothermia and frostbite. Apply steady pressure on the bleeding nostril using clean cloth or gauze. The cold will constrict small blood vessels which will slow the bleeding.
4) Take a look at the gums under the lips to see if there is blood in the mouth, or if the gums seem pale. If either is present it would suggest a serious loss of blood. This is an emergency! Transport to the veterinarian immediately.
5) Transport to the veterinarian immediately.


REMEMBER
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 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.


Foreign Body In Nasal Passage

Most commonly found are:
* Foxtails(aka: wild millet),
* Blades of grass,
* Burrs (can cause violent sneezing)

What Makes Foxtails Dangerous?
In addition to causing pain and localized infections, foxtail seeds can migrate and lodge in the spine, in the lungs and in other internal organs. They enter through the nose, ears, paws, eyes, urethra or just through the skin and travel through the body The seeds are very small, making locating them a painful, difficult and expensive procedure. Depending on where a foxtail seed has traveled to inside a dog, it can even be life threatening and will require prompt surgical removal.

What You Can Do To Keep Your Pet Safe
* Keep your pets away from foxtails. Avoid planting them or letting them grow on your property
* Examine your pet daily. Carefully brush its hair, while feeling for any raised areas on its skin. Check inside and under its ears; check between the toes, under the armpits and in the groin area. Keep long haired and thick coated breeds especially well-groomed.
* If you see a foxtail seed sticking in the dog’s skin, carefully pull it straight out, making sure not to break it off in the process.
* If you think a seed might already embedded in the skin, in a paw, in an eye or an ear, or if a dog who has been eating grass seems to have a throat problem, get the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible! Waiting can only make it harder to find, allow it to migrate and become more dangerous, and make treatment more difficult.

REMEMBER
In normal animals, tears are constantly produced and drain out through small ducts in the eyelids. The ducts empty into the nose. If a foxtail seed makes it way into the eyelid is may cause to either block the tear duct and/or enter the tear duct and effects can be reflected in the nostril.


Indicators That Your Pet Has a Foxtail
A foxtail seed can cause an inflamed, painful, infected lump anywhere on an animal’s body. A dog with a foxtail seed in its ear might rub its head on the ground or shake its head violently from side to side. If a dog gets a foxtail seed in its eye, it might squint. The eye will water and the dog will paw at it. Even if you can clearly see the seed beneath the eyelid, do not attempt to remove it. Get the dog to a veterinarian immediately.
An inhaled foxtail seed which has lodged in the nasal cavity may cause violent sneezing, sometimes with a bloody discharge from the nostrils. To remove it, a veterinarian may need to sedate the animal, locate the seed with a scope, and remove it with a forceps.

Nasal Mites
Nasal mites may cause bothersome sneezing spells, irritation to the nose and nosebleeds. Dogs on monthly Heartworm prevention medicine generally do NOT get these mites.
Nasal mites are a common but rarely diagnosed mite that infects the nasal passages of dogs and wild canines. The scientific name for nasal mites is Pneumonyssoides caninum. To learn more click here


Rodenticide Poisoning
Rodenticide poisoning is the accidental ingestion of products used to kill "rodents" such as mice, rats and gophers. These products are common and accidental exposure is frequent. Poisoning is most commonly caused by ingestion of a product containing one of the following ingredients:
* Bromethalin
* Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3)
* Strychnine
* Zinc phosphide
* Anticoagulant (Warfarin, fumarin, chlorophacinone, diphacinone, difethialone, pindone, bromadiolone, brodaficoum)

Many anti-rodent poisons contain Warfarin which reduces the pets ability to clot properly (much like hemophilia) which may lead to death. If you suspect your pet has ingested rat poison contact your veterianrian immediately

REMEMBER
Although Activated charcoal is recommended if poisoning is recent remember that you need to determine ahead of time how much activated charcoal you will need per dog pound, how to administer and that it may take up to 30 minutes to work! Therefore your best.

Platelet Disorders
Platelets are small protein-containing cellular fragments that circulate in the blood. They play an important role in clotting by clumping together and forming a plug. Clotting factors then take over, working together to hold the plug in place.

Willebrand's Disease And Hemophilia
Von Willebrand's Disease is a common inherited bleeding disorder.

Clot formation is the result of a long chain of chemical reactions carried out by individual molecules called 'clotting factors.' In Von Willebrand's Disease, the dog is missing a substance, which helps the platelets form clots and stabilizes Factor VIII in the clotting process. This substance is called 'Von Willebrand's factor.' Because of the deficient clotting of blood, dogs with Von Willebrand's disease have excessive bleeding upon injury. This would be similar to hemophilia in humans. Click here for more info.

Aspirin Routine
Dogs given routinely Aspirin may bleed more than usual. Aspirin tends to thin the blood and reduce clotting capabilities.CONTACT VETERINARIAN & DISCUSS SIGNS.

Bacterial, Fungal Organisms and Chronic Inflammatory Conditions
Allergies may cause some capillaries to rupture resulting in a short term nose bleed. Typically, a few drops of blood are expelled upon sneezing. Key words: RARE + FEW DROPS

Nasal Polyps
Are growths that create an enlargement of the gland that produces mucus. These types of growths are not cancerous but the will affect the dogs breathing.


Symptoms of Nasal Polyps include:
- Bleeding and discharge from the nose.
- Airflow will be obstructed causing noisy breathing.
Your vet may need to do an endoscopy or an X-ray to determine if it is a polyp or a tumor. Surgical removal of the growth will be needed.

Nasal And Paranasal Sinus Tumors
The most common clinical signs are decreased airflow through the affected nasal passage, epistaxis and sneezing. Other signs include reverse sneezing, stertorous breathing, serous, mucoid or mucopurulent nasal discharge, dyspnea, lethargy, weight loss, and facial deformity or swelling. To learn more click here

Adenosqamous Carcinoma
If your pet has depigmentation of the nose and nasal discharge, fungal infection is likely to be the cause versus cancer.

Sudden severe onsets of nostril bleeding can be a sign of already advanced adenosquamous carcinoma.

CHECK WITH YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY! Make sure you ask them to run blood work such as a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, urinalysis and clotting profile. To learn more click here

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is an infectious, tick-borne disease caused by the organism Rickettsia rickettsii. Ticks infected with Rickettsia rickettsii transmit the disease when they feed on a host (dog, human, other large mammal). A tick must be attached to the host for 5 to 20 hours before it can transmit the disease.

What To Watch For
* Fever, usually over 104 degrees Fahrenheit
* Depression
* Decreased appetite
* Lymphadenopathy, or generalized enlargement of lymph nodes
* Petecchiae, or pinpoint hemorrhages under the skin
* Uveitis, which is inflammation of the interior of the eye
* Swollen or painful joints
* Nose bleeds

Ehrlichia
Canine ehrlichiosis is a disease of dogs and wild canids (e.g.; wolves) and is found worldwide. Canine ehrlichiosis is also known by other names such as 'tracker dog disease,' 'tropical canine pancytopenia,' 'canine hemorrhagic fever,' and 'canine typhus.
Erlichiosis a disease transmitted by ticks which causes a reduced platelet count subsequently making the dog prone to nose bleeding episode and other abnormal bleeding. To learn more click here

Dental Abscesses
May cause complications in dogs often resulting in nose bleeds as the abscess may drain into the nasal area. Another reason to brush your pets’ teeth frequently to avoid internal organ damage and subsequent infections!

Liver Disease
If the coagulating problem is caused by a condition like liver disease, the underlying cause will be treated.

SUMMARY
There are many causes for canine nose bleeds. Very few of them can be considered minor. Bloody nasal discharge is not OK! SEEK VETERINARY CARE IMMEDIATELY!

Do NOT WAIT! If your veterinarian does not seem to find the cause and provide appropriate treatment, seek out an expert or at least a second opinion. Ask for an explanation as to how the veterinarian got his/her prognosis!

Here again are the Actions for Survival prior to and during transport.

ACTIONS FOR SURVIVAL

1) You need to remain calm and composed. Dogs pick up on your emotions and will react accordingly.
2) Keep the pet calm. You do NOT want to excite the pet as it will increase its blood pressure and subsequently increase the bleeding.
3) Apply an Ice Pak –wrapped in cloth - to the bridge of the nose. NEVER APPLY ice pak directly onto nostril. Obviously, be sure your pet can breathe around the ice pack. Use a clean cloth or gauze. The cloth provides a barrier to allow for steady cooling and helps prevent early signs of hypothermia and frostbite. Apply steady pressure on the bleeding nostril using clean cloth or gauze. The cold will constrict small blood vessels which will slow the bleeding.
4) Take a look at the gums under the lips to see if there is blood in the mouth, or if the gums seem pale. If either is present it would suggest a serious loss of blood. This is an emergency!
5) Transport to the veterinarian immediately.

5 comments:

  1. "Transport to the vet immediately" is not always feasible for everyone. We live in a small town in Texas, and the vets here don't seem to think there might be an emergency over the weekend or on holidays. There are NO VETERINARIANS within three hours of our town (Del Rio, TX) who are even on call on a three day weekend! What can an owner do, if their dog's nose is bleeding, while waiting for the "work week" vets to open?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My advice is to take a CPR and First Aid for animals course. It is very interesting and valuable knowledge. A lot of what you would do with a human you can do with an animal. This article states a lot of that. If there is truly a life and death emergency, some vet should answer the phone. I am from a very populated area where the vets only work during the week but had a life and death electricuted kitten and the vet made a house call. Good vets and or doctors are out there. Search extensively.

      Delete
  2. Applying the ice pack to the bridge of the nose only made the bleeding worse, please help

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm late. we miss our little dog Capry

    ReplyDelete
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