Epistaxis in Dogs
A bleeding nose can come from several sources. One may be the result of a condition called coagulopathy — a condition where the blood is not coagulating as it should. There are several other possible causes for nose bleeds, such as a wound or injury that is not apparent, as from a snake bite, or it may be from a disease, like cancer in an organ, leukemia, or a number of other diseases. Regardless of the cause, this is a condition that needs to be checked by your veterinarian promptly.
The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the mydomain.com health library.
It will probably take time and several tests to determine what is causing the bleeding. The veterinarian will first need to know if your dog has a reduced number of red blood cells, indicating anemia, and if so, how critical it is. Other tests that will be ordered by your veterinarian are blood analyses to determine whether the blood platelets are normal, a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis, and tests to determine whether there is bone-marrow disease. To determine whether the bleeding is caused by a coagulation problem, a coagulation profile will also be conducted.
Your veterinarian will also need to determine whether there is evidence of Rocky Mountain spotted fever. A thyroid test will be performed, and some x-rays may be required, as well as a computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan.
If your dog is suffering from coagulopathy, it will need to stay in hospital for treatment. If the coagulating problem is caused by a condition like liver disease, the underlying cause will be treated. Do not give your dog non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or any other medication without first consulting your veterinarian. If the cause is a clotting abnormality like hemophilia, a transfusion will be necessary. If your dog is found to be anemic but the bleeding is from a cause other than a coagulating problem, it will probably be given a blood transfusion in the doctor’s office, but you will most likely be able to take your dog home with you. If it is determined that a platelet problem is causing the bleeding, the anti-inflammatory prednisone may be prescribed. For an infectious disease, doxycycline is often prescribed to be given over a three- to six-week term. For bone-marrow tumor growth (neoplasia), chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be prescribed. If the bleeding is caused by a bacterial infection, your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics.
Conversely, the bleeding may be based on conditions in the nasal passages. If the bleeding is coming from tumors in the nasal passages, your veterinarian will determine the course of treatment. Radiotherapy is one possible treatment of choice, but if the bleeding is caused by a foreign body in the nasal passages that is not removable by probing, surgery may be necessary. If there is fungus in the nasal passages, surgery may be required to removed some of it in order for further treatment to take place. For a fungal infection, medication prescribed by your veterinarian for the specific fungus will need to be applied through the nasal cavity.
Living and Management
In case of serious hemorrhage, your dog should be kept in a cage to lower blood pressure and promote clotting. Nasal sprays (approved by your veterinarian) of diluted epinephrine may help. Once your dog returns home, it should be kept calm and anything excitable should be avoided in order to prevent hemorrhaging episodes. Your veterinarian will educate you about what to watch for in case of a serious hemorrhage, such as weakness, collapse, pallor, or the loss of large amounts of blood.
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