If you notice your dog is bruising easily or bleeding with no obvious cause, a trip to the veterinarian is in order. Your pet may have one of several types of bleeding disorders that can affect canines. These disorders occur when the blood does not clot normally, in turn causing the dog to bleed abnormally or excessively after any minor injury or cut.
There are a number of warning signs that indicate your dog may have a blood disorder. Be watchful for any bleeding or bruises that have no obvious cause, frequent nosebleeds and blood in the animal’s urine or feces. Also, the gums may be pale, and there may be tiny pinpoint-sized red spots on the gums or the whites of the eyes. If your dog becomes tired easily, he also may have anemia, which results from a reduced number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
Many of the signs above will be obvious to the pet’s owner. However, bleeding also can occur internally, resulting in pools of blood in the dog’s abdominal cavity, abdomen or chest which may cause the abdomen to become distended or interfere with breathing. In rare cases, the dog can bleed into the brain or spinal cord, causing seizures, fainting and even paralysis. If you suspect your pet has any type of bleeding problem, then it’s time for a trip to the veterinarian.
Among the many types of disorders that can affect your dog’s blood are:
Bleeding disorders in dogs are diagnosed through a complete physical exam and a number of laboratory blood tests. Whenever possible, treatment should be aimed at the specific underlying disorder.
Dogs that are anemic (that have too few red blood cells) or who have lost a lot of blood may be given a transfusion of either red blood cells or whole blood (red blood cells plus plasma). In some cases the underlying cause must also be treated. Many cases of thrombocytopenia are caused by an infection or other type of illness, which must be treated with antibiotics or corticosteroids before the thrombocytopenia can be resolved.