How do you tell if your dog has internal bleeding? If it isn’t identified at an early stage, internal bleeding can be fatal.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about internal bleeding in dogs.
If you’ve asked yourself How do I tell if my dog has internal bleeding? then this article will surely help. There aren’t any specific symptoms of internal bleeding and symptoms can vary depending on the source of the bleeding. Here is a list of the symptoms of internal bleeding you have to watch out for:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Distended abdomen
- Pale gums
- Decreased appetite
- Fast breathing
Common Signs of Internal Bleeding
As mentioned previously, symptoms and signs of internal bleeding in dogs vary depending on the area from where the bleeding occurs. Here is a list of common signs of internal bleeding in dogs:
Anemia, as indicated by pallor, is a result of a decrease in your dog’s red blood cell count. If your dog is suffering from internal bleeding, it means that it’s losing its red blood cells. You can check this by looking at your dog’s gums. Normally, your dog’s gums should be bubble gum pink. However, if your dog has internal bleeding, its tongue and gums will look pale. Additionally, weakness is also a result of anemia.
Slow Capillary Refill Time
Try pressing your dog’s gums with your fingers. When you do that, if the color fades and comes back within two seconds, it’s normal. However, if the color is taking longer than two seconds to return, it might indicate that your dog has internal bleeding.
When your dog has internal bleeding, it might feel uncomfortable and irritable. However, this sign might go unnoticed or present itself as lethargy.
Another sign that your dog has internal bleeding is the presence of bruises in the form of blue or red dots, which are called petechiae.
Bleeding from Orifices
If your dog has internal bleeding, it could present itself in the form of bleeding from body orifices such as the mouth, ears, nose, or other such places.
When it comes to irregularities in stool, bright red blood in your dog’s stool is indicative of hematochezia or lower digestive tract bleeding. On the other hand, coffee brown colored stools indicate bleeding from the upper digestive tract.
If you notice blood in your dog’s urine, it might have an injured bladder. Also, if your dog has trouble urinating, it might indicate a ruptured bladder.
Fast Breathing or Tachycardia
If the blood inside your dog’s body reduces significantly, its heart will have to work harder to pump whatever blood is left inside. This might result in tachycardia or faster breathing.
If the canine’s circulatory system has been affected to an extent where it cannot function anymore, your dog will collapse.
There are many causes of internal bleeding in dogs. Cancer is perhaps the most common cause of internal bleeding in older dogs.
Hemangiosarcoma is the most common cancer in dogs. It is a tumor made up of blood vessels and commonly forms in the liver, heart, and spleen.
Other causes of internal bleeding in dogs include:
- Poisoning from rat bait
- Fractures of the bones, causing injuries to other organs
- Inherited or acquired immune-mediated blood diseases
- Attacks by other dogs leading to internal organ injuries
- Splenic, liver, and kidney lacerations
If your dog shows any signs of internal bleeding, take it to the vet immediately. Before carrying your dog to your car, wrap it gently in a dry towel.
Don’t apply any pressure on its abdomen. Put one arm around the chest and front legs and place your other arm behind its hind legs. Talk to your pet in a calm and reassuring tone throughout the ride.
If your dog has suffered a traumatic injury, like a road traffic accident, or has fallen from a height, you will have to get it hospitalized immediately.
Vets may provide oxygen therapy and infuse intravenous fluids if required. If your dog is in pain, vets will prescribe painkillers as well. Additionally, if it has lost a lot of blood due to internal bleeding, blood transfusions are essential.
If your dog’s heart is beating inconsistently, vets might prescribe antiarrhythmic drugs.
Surgery may be required in case of broken bones or tumors.
The first few weeks of recovery are crucial for your pet. Your dog will need lots of rest and restrictions in exercise and diet. If there have been extensive injuries, you may have to ensure it is caged for longer periods so that its mobility is restricted.
Check all its wounds for any signs of infection. These include swelling, redness, and any turbulent discharge from the wounds. Make sure that all dressings are kept clean and changed regularly. If your pet has external wounds with stitches, ensure that it does not bite the wounds and hurt itself.
Soft food is the best diet for dogs recovering from internal bleeding. If it is a case of mild poisoning, your pet will hopefully recover in a few weeks.
It is difficult for pet owners to see their dogs unwell. However, this is the time when you need to be strong, assured, and calm. Follow your vet’s instructions and be patient as your dog recovers.
The recovery process can be long and stressful for your pet. It’s important to watch out for any symptoms your dog might have that indicate internal bleeding.