Causes of Hematemesis (Vomiting Blood) in Dogs

Hematemesis, or vomiting blood, is a symptom that can be caused by various conditions and typically, is a sign that the dog is severely ill. The symptoms of the dog must be monitored and the dog should get a clear diagnosis, so that he can receive treatment in a timely manner.

Causes of Hematemesis

When the dog has hematemesis or is vomiting blood, this cannot pass unnoticed. The vomit may contain food residue, fresh blood (red) or digested blood (brown or black). This symptom may be caused by:

  • Bleeding in the mouth, due to trauma or a dental problem resulting in the ingestion of blood, which can irritate the stomach lining.
  • Nose bleeding resulting in ingestion of blood
  • The licking of a bleeding wound followed by the ingestion of blood
  • A stomach ulcer, which can bleed periodically and the blood may be eliminated either through vomiting or through feces. The ulcers are caused by an excess of gastric acid that will cause wounds in the stomach lining, which may bleed occasionally. Most commonly, the dog will eliminate the blood through vomiting, as the excess of gastric acid will irritate the stomach and the esophagus.
  • Ulcers located in the esophagus or the duodenum
  • Accumulation of blood in the lungs, which may be caused by a perforated organ or other lung wounds
  • Ingestion of foreign objects or food that wounds the esophagus or the stomach (i.e. bone splinters)
  • Tumors located anywhere in the digestive system of the dog, which can bleed
  • Medication that has side effects such as stomach ulcers or intestinal bleeding
  • Hemophilia, a rare blood coagulation disorder that can manifest through intestinal bleeding

Please note that some undigested foods that are red or brown may look like blood and may be misleading. However, you should still get an appointment, to find the causes of vomiting. If possible, get a vomit sample and show it to the vet. Use gloves when collecting the vomit.

Diagnosing Hematemesis

If you notice blood in your dog’s vomit, you have to act immediately. See if you can identify additional symptoms and visit the vet for a diagnosis.

The vet may perform a test on the vomit, if you bring a sample and will perform a few blood tests.

An x-ray can show if the dog has tumors or if he has ingested an object that wounds the stomach or respiratory tract.

An endoscopy may also be performed to identify ulcers or other stomach and esophagus abnormalities.

Treatment for Vomiting Blood

The treatment prescribe by the vet will depend on the diagnosis. Some conditions may not always be treated (i.e. hemophilia or advanced cancer).

The dog should receive emergency fluid therapy, as the vomiting can cause dehydration and anemia. Blood transfusions may also be needed.

The vet may extract any foreign objects or prescribe medication and a change in diet. Surgery may be needed.