A nasal bleed or epistaxis in a dog can be frightening. A nasal bleed caused by trauma, an upper respiratory tract infection, fungal infections, or low blood protein levels are all possibilities. Some of these conditions need more immediate veterinarian care than others. It's critical to understand what to do in an emergency and what to expect at a vet appointment. Learn more about the reasons and what you can do to avoid them.
Causes of Epistaxis in Dogs
Trauma or an infection in the upper respiratory tract are the most prevalent causes of an acute nose bleed in dogs. If your dog is prone to accidents or has a persistent illness in his nasal passages, you may see some blood from (typically) one nostril. A foreign item (i.e. grass, foxtails, etc.) lodged in your dog's nasal passages or ingestion of might also cause your dog's nose to bleed in rare cases.
Young dogs who prefer to examine items about the house are more likely to develop toxicity-induced epistaxis, whereas middle-aged and older dogs are more likely to develop an autoimmune illness that causes epistaxis. Unsupervised dogs, regardless of age, are more likely to have epistaxis induced by trauma.
Hypertension, dental disease and infections, growths or tumors inside the nasal passages, coagulation abnormalities, fungal infections, difficulties with blood protein levels, and some tick-borne illnesses are some of the more chronic causes of epistaxis.
Unilateral bleeding, or bleeding from only one nostril, is usually the result of a dental infection, a growth on the bleeding side, or a foreign item in the bleeding side. Clotting problems, upper respiratory and/or fungal infections, or trauma are common causes of bilateral bleeding, or bleeding from both nostrils.
The most common dog breeds affected with Von Willebrand's illness include Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Miniature Schnauzers, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Shetland Sheepdogs, Basset Hounds, Scottish Terriers, Standard Poodles, and Standard Manchester Terriers. Because this condition is hereditary, prospective owners of this breed should inquire about the disease's prevalence in their breeding line before purchasing from a breeder.
Help! My Dog’s Nose Is Actively Bleeding!
If your dog is experiencing a nosebleed, try to keep them as quiet as possible. Any additional excitement could raise your dog's blood pressure and cause bleeding. Place an ice pack wrapped in a dish towel or several paper towels over the bridge of your dog's nose if your dog will let it. If your dog has a short snout (pugs, bulldogs, boxers, etc. ), make sure the ice pack does not totally cover the nostrils so that your dog can breathe around it. The cold of the ice will constrict blood vessels in the nasal passages, potentially stopping blood flow.
Once the bleeding has stopped, contact your veterinarian to schedule an appointment. If you believe your dog may have ingested any pharmaceuticals, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve), or if you suspect they may have ingested rat poison, take them to the veterinarian right away. Even if you don't think they got into rat poison directly, if they came into contact with an animal who died from rat poison consumption, your dog is still at danger of poison poisoning.
What to Expect at the Vet
When you visit your veterinarian, write down any and all drugs they've taken recently (within the last several weeks), including ones that were given accidentally. Any possible pesticide intake, as well as any unusual feces, should be reported to your veterinarian. During your dog's physical exam, your veterinarian will examine the area around his or her nose, gums, and eyes. They'll be searching for indications of discomfort, swelling, redness, or anything else unusual in those regions.
Following the physical examination, your veterinarian may order a CBC (complete blood count) to determine the proportion of red blood cells in circulation and platelet counts to determine whether or not your dog is anemic. If your dog is very anemic, an abdominal radiograph may be performed to look for any loose fluid (which might be blood) in the abdomen. Swabs of your dog's nasal passages may be taken and examined under a microscope for bacteria or fungus that might be causing an illness.
Treatment for Epistaxis
The therapy for a nasal bleed is determined by the cause. Antifungal drugs are required for fungal infections, whereas antibiotics are required for bacterial infections. Foreign things will need to be removed, which may necessitate sedating your dog. Dental infections that induce nosebleeds will necessitate a dental surgery to remove the infected tooth. More comprehensive, continuous therapy may be required for growths, malignancies, tick-borne illnesses, coagulopathies, hypertension, and blood protein abnormalities.
Epistaxis induced by a dental, bacterial, or fungal infection usually has a favorable prognosis. Toxicity from rodenticide or NSAID intake can be excellent if found early and treated, but if treatment is not sought soon, the prognosis might change to guarded or even fatal. Epistaxis caused by chronic and/or underlying disorders may be more difficult to cure, or at the very least take longer. Whether benign or malignant, growths or tumors in the nasal passages can grow to the point that symptomatic therapy and medical management are no longer practicable.
Epistaxis can be caused by anything from a little bump against a coffee table to something as deadly as rat poison poisoning. If your dog has a nosebleed, be calm, attempt to stop the bleeding, and seek veterinarian help as soon as possible.