Blood Clots in Dogs

Blood clots may form as a consequence of spending too much time in a position or after a surgery and may be fatal if they get to the lungs, heart or the dog’s brain. It is important to identify and eliminate blood clots, to keep your dog safe.

Causes of Blood Clots in Dogs

Blood clotting is essential in dogs and is extremely important during a surgery or when the dog is injured and is bleeding. However, when blood clots form, these can be fatal.

The formation of blood clots may be attributed to:

  • The dog spending too much time in a specific position (i.e. after a surgery when he is incapacitated and cannot move) and the blood is not circulating properly so blood clots may form
  • Hypothyroidism can cause hypercoaguability, which means that the blood coagulates faster then normal and causes blood clots
  • Anemia
  • Autoimmune diseases that cause hypercoaguability
  • Pancreatitis
  • Heart conditions that don’t allow the blood to circulate properly
  • Intravascular coagulopathy
  • A deficiency of antithrombin
  • Leukemia or blood cancer
  • Accumulation of blood in the lungs
  • Blood circulation problems
  • A surgery, during which the dog will stay in one position and will also bleed; some blood clots may form during surgery as well.

Blood clots can form in any area of the dog’s body, but are more common in the limbs, heart, brain or lungs.

Symptoms of Blood Clots in Canines

The symptoms of blood clots will depend on where the blood clots form.

If the blood clot is located in the dog’s limbs, he may have cold limbs and may not be able to move his affected limb properly. Paralysis may also be possible.

If the blood clot is in the dog’s lungs, the dog will cough and have difficulties breathing and you may also notice the dog doesn’t have a pulse.

A blood clot in the heart can cause a general state of weakness, breathing problems and irregular pulse. The dog may also faint suddenly and be confused.

Diagnosing Blood Clots

Blood clots can be diagnosed by performing an x-ray. The e-rays should reveal the presence of blood clots in the lung or heart area.

Also, the vet will perform a few blood tests, including the prothrombin time analysis, which will indicate if the clotting rate is normal.

Additional tests may be performed if the vet suspects an underlying condition causing blood clotting abnormalities.

Treatment Options for Blood Clots

If a blood clot is identified, the dog should receive blood thinners, which could help eliminate the blood clot. A fluid therapy will also be needed to eliminate the blood clot.

A heart or lung blood clot will be treated with oxygen cage therapy.

The dog will have to be under constant supervision, as the blood clot can easily travel in the blood stream and affect the heart or the brain, which can be deadly.