Epistaxis in Dogs

Epistaxis is the term used to designate nose bleeds. Canines can experience nose bleeds and this can be due to a trauma or an internal problem. It’s important to stop the bleeding in a timely manner to ensure that the dog doesn’t lose a large amount of blood.

Causes of Epistaxis in Dogs

Epistaxis in dogs may be acute or chronic and may affect one nostril (unilateral epistaxis) or both nostrils (bilateral nose bleed).

The causes of epistaxis may include:

  • Trauma to the head, which will cause bleeding, typically from only 1 nostril
  • A foreign object that is trapped in the nose of the pet
  • Dental infection that affects the root of the teeth
  • Tumors located in the nose
  • Polyps in the nose
  • Toxicity due to the ingestion of rat poison, which will cause several symptoms including epistaxis. Rat poison will also prevent the blood coagulation, so the bleeding cannot be stopped unless a vet is consulted
  • Poisoning with other substances
  • Blood coagulation problems, which can cause bleeding from various orifices, including the nose

Often, cats affected by a respiratory tract infection or allergies can sneeze a lot and at some point a blood vessel may rupture and cause nose bleeding.

In some cases, extreme excitement may cause nose bleeds.

Symptoms of Epistaxis

The nose bleed may occur suddenly and may be accompanied by a wide range of symptoms that will vary according to the cause of epistaxis.

Your dog may present symptoms such as:

  • Frequent sneezing episodes, which can point to dental disease, a foreign object in the nose or an abnormal growth
  • Bad breath, indicative of  a dental problem
  • Inflammation of the nose
  • Difficulties when breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Visible injuries or bruises, indicative of a recent trauma

The dog may also have black stool, especially if the nose bleeds are chronic and he ingests blood, which is digested and eliminated in the stool.

Diagnosing Epistaxis

You should visit the vet and let him known about the frequency of the nose bleeds and how long they lasted.

Epistaxis can be diagnosed through a series of tests. The vet will establish the types of tests that are needed judging by the symptoms the dog displays.

Treating Epistaxis

Initially, the vet will stop the nose bleed by calming the dog and applying ice packs on the nose. You may also stop the bleeding at home, prior to visiting the vet.

If the nose bleed is acute and is stopped, additional treatment may not be necessary.

However, if the condition is recurrent, the vet may prescribe some treatment, which will deal with the underlying condition causing the nose bleeds.

The treatment may include:

  • Removing the toxic materials from the dog’s system
  • Extracting the foreign object that is trapped in the dog’s nose
  • Surgery, which may be needed to extract a tumor or a foreign body that cannot be extracted with tweezers or other methods
  • Cauterization of blood vessels that may have burst