When you have a dog, knowing how to handle unexpected and emergency situations can help you cope with them if they ever arise. Internal bleeding in dogs isn't typically an issue that you need to be concerned about, but it can happen. While you hopefully will never need to recognize internal bleeding in your dog, knowing the signs could save your dog's life if an accident ever does occur.
Causes of internal bleeding in dogs
Internal bleeding can occur in dogs for many reasons. A significant trauma, such as being hit by a car, can trigger internal bleeding. Ingesting mouse or rat poison can also cause internal bleeding.
According to Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers, for dogs who haven't been hit by a car or ingested poison, cancer is the most common cause of internal bleeding.
Dogs experiencing internal bleeding are in a life-threatening situation and need to receive emergency veterinary care as soon as possible. You should be aware of the symptoms of internal bleeding. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog and have reason to believe that he is experiencing internal bleeding, contact your vet immediately, or take your dog to the nearest emergency veterinary center.
Dog's Health Problems states that your dog's gums can tell you a lot about how well blood is flowing through her body. A healthy dog's gums should be pink, about the color of bubble gum. If your dog is experiencing internal bleeding, her gums and tongue may be a pale color because less blood is circulating through them.
You can also test your dog's capillary refill time. Press a finger against your dog's gums, and then quickly release it. A healthy dog's gums will return to their normal pink color within two seconds. If it takes more than two seconds for the color to return in the area that you've pressed, this could indicate internal bleeding.
Because internal bleeding decreases the volume of blood in your dog's circulatory system, shock can set in. Symptoms of shock in dogs include low blood pressure, decreased body temperature, cold legs, increased heart rate, and a weak pulse, according to Dog's Health Problems.
Lethargy and feeling uncomfortable
One of the signs of internal bleeding is that your dog may become lethargic because of anemia. Dog's Health Problems explains that anemia causes your dog to be weak and to have low energy. Your dog may also feel uncomfortable, but generally the weakness will overshadow any signs of discomfort your dog may display.
When large amounts of blood pool into your dog's abdomen, his abdomen may appear to be enlarged, states Dog's Health Problems. You may also notice that the skin near your dog's belly develops a dark hue or red and purple dots.
In some cases, blood may start to leak from your dog's eyes, nose, and mouth. You may also see blood in your dog's stool.
Treating internal bleeding in dogs
If you suspect your dog is bleeding internally, then it's important to act quickly, since this is an emergency. Call your vet and let him know that you're on the way. Then, get your dog into the car and to the vet as quickly as possible.
Dog Health explains that you should wrap your dog in a towel and speak calmly and reassuringly to him. Keep him as calm and quiet as possible.
When you lift your dog to put him in the car, don't put pressure on his abdomen. Instead, lift him with one arm under his chest and in front of his legs, and put your other arm under his rump and behind his back legs. Get to the vet as quickly as possible.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.