Epistaxis or nosebleed is quite frequent in dogs and is one of the most common reasons for visiting the veterinarian. Unlike humans, where nosebleeds can be temporary, occasional and not very serious, in dogs, it can be a symptom indicating a more or less serious condition.
When your dog's nose bleeds, it is imperative that you react quickly and take him to the vet as epistaxis is never insignificant.
Causes of nasal bleeding in dogs
Nasal bleeding in dogs can have different origins. Here are the main causes:
- Blunt force trauma to the head or violent shock
A blow to the dog's muzzle can cause bleeding. That is to say, the trauma can cause lesions in the nasal capillaries, resulting in bleeding of varied intensity depending on the trauma. In case of a violent shock, a fracture of the nose bone may be the cause of the nasal bleeding.
- Foreign bodies
The presence of a foreign body in the animal's nose can also be the cause of this bleeding. Thin and sharp, spikelets stuck in the dog's nostrils can quickly become dangerous, causing sneezing and bleeding due to irritation of the nasal mucosa.
If grass, plant residues or spikelets get stuck in your dog's nostrils, do not try to remove them as you may make the situation worse. Take your dog to the vet.
If your dog has a nosebleed, it may be a viral, bacterial or mycotic rhinitis. The nosebleed in this case comes with other symptoms and stops upon recovery. If the epistaxis continues despite recovery, take your dog to the vet immediately as it may be concealing a more serious illness.
A snake bite or ingestion of toxic products such as rat poison can cause nosebleeds. Accidental ingestion of medication can also cause epistaxis, such as anticoagulant drugs or aspirin for example. If your dog has ingested these products, it's important to quickly go to the vet.
- Serious illnesses
Other diseases can cause your dog's nose to bleed. Examples include tumours, leishmaniasis, hyperviscosity syndrome, or diseases causing bleeding disorders.
Epistaxis in dogs: what to do?
While waiting for the visit at the vet, here are a few things you can do to help your dog:
- First, calm your dog down. High blood pressure due to stress will increase the bleeding.
- Compress your dog's nose by blocking it, except in the case of trauma or fracture.
- Make sure the head is tilted forward to promote clotting, and to prevent blood clots from passing to the trachea.
- Use an ice pack.
Caution: Never touch the inside of the nostrils, or try to insert a cotton wool pad, it could make the bleeding worse.
When to consult a veterinarian?
A brief and occasional nosebleed does not necessarily require veterinary intervention, but a vet should be consulted in the following cases:
- If the bleeding lasts more than a few minutes;
- If the nosebleeds are frequent;
- If the animal appears to be in pain;
- If the epistaxis is accompanied by other symptoms.
In these cases, the veterinarian will be able to perform additional tests such as blood tests, X-rays, rhinoscopy. It is important to schedule these additional tests to determine the cause of the epistaxis so that appropriate treatment can be prescribed.
Nosebleeds in dogs: how to avoid them?
The causes of nose bleeding are not always the same, so it is hard to prevent them, but you must always keep an eye on your dog to avoid accidents. Keeping the house tidy, making sure the dog does not inhale dangerous products, and always keeping an eye on him to identify the symptoms will help.
Finally, it's important to consult your veterinarian if your dog's nosebleeds are heavy and won't stop.
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