Bleeding from Any Orifice

If you see blood coming from your dog, chances are 90 percent that the condition is abnormal and in need of attention. The only time a bloody discharge is normal is in unspayed female dogs at the proestrus stage of their heat cycle. Other than that, your dog should not have a bloody discharge.

Types of Bleeding

If you do notice blood, you may need to start with a little detective work to find its source. A bloody drip from the vulva of a spayed female or from the penis of a male may indicate a bladder infection. Blood from the vulva of an unspayed female dog who is not in her heat cycle could indicate an overgrowth of the uterine lining or a uterine infection — both potentially life-threatening.

A bloody discharge from the mouth could be as simple as a small cut on the gums or tongue or as silly as a lost baby tooth on a puppy. Coughing up blood is a bad sign and requires immediate veterinary attention.

Blood in stool can be black with digested blood from a problem such as a stomach ulcer, or bright red from a bleeding problem in the intestines. Bloody discharges from any part of your dog's body may indicate cancer or a bleeding disorder such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia or von Willebrand's disease.

Von Willebrand's disease is a blood-clotting disorder caused by a genetic deficiency. There is currently a genetic test that can be done to screen breeding animals for this disease. Doberman pinschers and Scottish terriers are two of the breeds that are prone to von Willebrand's disease.

What to Do for Bleeding

A bloody nose may need pressure and/or a cold compress, either of which is applied to the top of the nose. Bleeding from the mouth is also easy to care for if it is just a baby tooth; you can put a cold compress on the spot or just wait it out. The bleeding should stop fairly quickly on its own. Under most circumstances, blood is a good indicator that you need to have your dog checked out. If you see blood in your dog's urine or stool, you must get her to a veterinarian. If possible, scoop up a sample of the urine or stool. Any bleeding associated with a growth or tumor should get veterinary attention as well.

A bloody discharge can be an emergency in certain situations — spurting blood from an artery, coughing up blood, or blood from the vulva of an unspayed bitch that is not in heat. Apply pressure to any spurting areas, and head for your veterinarian's office!

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