Bleeding Disorders in Dogs
There are several types of bleeding disorders that can threaten your dog

Bleeding disorders in dogs can range from a relatively minor problem to a very rapidly developing life threatening situation.

The severity of this potentially very dangerous condition will all depend on the two major issues; the amount of the bleeding and where the bleeding is occurring.


What a lot of owners do not realize with their dog is that there are several types of bleeding that develop other than the most obvious such as an open cut or a nose bleed.

Bleeding can also occur in your dog’s stomach or their intestine where the blood may be dark and tarry, and if you are not aware of what to watch for, it may go completely unnoticed.

If bleeding occurs under your dog’s skin or in their body cavities such as their stomach or chest, it may be almost impossible for even the most knowledgeable of owners to properly identify it.

But there is one thing that is very easy for any owner to understand and identify.

Bleeding excessively or for no apparent cause can be the sign of something very sinister that is happening to your dog.


Bleeding disorders in dogs are all subject to one of the most natural processes in your dog’s immune system; coagulation.

Coagulation is really a very simple process; it is the sum all events combined that allows your dog’s blood to clot. Once the blood clots, the bleeding stops.

Saint BernardsUnderstanding the symptoms is critical

If everything is operating properly in your dog’s system, coagulation requires that the blood vessel lining, also referred to as the endothelium, will provide signals that it has been damaged or torn.

Once this signal has been sent, the adequate numbers of platelets are immediately sent to fill this tear or whole.

The key cognitive with this process is adequate numbers, as they must be able to stick to both the vessel lining as well as to each other.

The final process is that there must be soluble factors in the liquid part of the blood that must be activated.

Once activated, they will form a solid and sticky substance that is known as fibrin.

The fibrin must form in the area where the platelets have covered the tear of hole.

If there are problems with any of these processes such as the lack of an adequate supply of platelets, it disrupts the entire process and bleeding disorders will occur.

However, it could also be an issue with the vessel walls functioning properly, or the lack of soluble coagulation factors that also result in the breakdown.

Von Willebrand's disease is perhaps the best known of all the bleeding disorders in dogs, but it is just one of the many possibilities.


One of the first steps in understanding all of the potential causes of bleeding disorders in dogs is to know the symptoms to watch for.

The list of symptoms is not very long with this condition, and as such, it will help to identify the problem very quickly.

The first and most obvious sign that you will see is outward bleeding, but it will be for no known apparent cause.

Anytime you see blood on dog, regardless of where it is, take it very seriously.

It may just be a minor accident, but you will need to watch it very close.

The next sign to watch for is bruising.

Dogs can become bruised for a myriad of reason, but if you set back and think of the last time your dog was bruised, you will realize it is very uncommon.

Next are tiny pin point red spots that will suddenly appear on your dog’s gums or in the whites of their eyes.

If you see these symptoms, seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

You will also need to watch for blood in their urine or their stool, as well as pale gums.

All of these signs are indications that something is not right.


The first potential cause of bleeding disorders in dogs is from a condition known as Vasculitis, which is an inflammation of your dog’s blood vessels that have become damaged.

Once they are damaged, small holes from the damage allows for tiny amounts of blood to begin to leak from the vessels.

The cause of this damage is usually the result of an infectious disease or an immune mediated attack of your dog’s own system against itself.

The symptoms with this type of bleeding disorder are pinpoint red spots either on your dog’s gums or in the whites of their eyes.


The next potential cause of bleeding disorders is referred to as Thrombocytopenia, which is a decreased number of blood platelets in your dog.

Once they have become decreased, they will not properly preform their function of sticking to and plugging the holes in the vessels.

Your dog’s body has a huge reserve of platelets, so when Thrombocytopenia does occur, it is the result of a very serious infectious disease.

However, it can also be an instance where their body is attacking itself.

They are made in your dog’s bone marrow, and because of this, it may also be caused by cancer.

The symptoms with Thrombocytopenia are usually blood in the urine, very pale mucous membranes, as well as bleeding form the membranes.

Nose bleeds are also very common with this wicked disease.


The next potential cause of bleeding disorders in dogs is from a condition referred to as Thrombocytopathia, where your dog’s platelets simply do not function properly.

One of the most common causes of this is aspirin toxicity.

As most owners know, aspirin is extremely dangerous to dogs and this is one of the reasons why.

Kidney failure as well as hereditary conditions can also cause this condition.

If this is combined with Thrombocytopenia, your dog may have very little chance of surviving. The symptoms with this condition will be very similar to Thrombocytopenia.


Although Von Willebrand's Disease is perhaps the best known of the bleeding disorders in dogs, it is not as common as some of the other causes.

It is a process that causes a deficiency of the substance that enables the platelets to stick to both the vessel walls as well as to each other.

It is a hereditary disease that ranges from very mild to extremely dangerous.

The symptoms with this form of disorder will include prolonged bleeding from an injury or a surgery, bloody urine, or bleeding from the gums or the nose.

There are other potential causes that include coagulation factor deficiency and defects, as well as a condition known as DIC.

Coagulation factor deficiency includes fibrin problems as well as hemophilia, which is hereditary and is the result of specific factors missing.

Coagulation factor defects include substances such as warfarin that does exactly what it is designed to do; it stops the blood from clotting.


Bleeding disorders in dogs may be just a very innocent or accidental injury of some type. However, it the vast majority of cases, they are not.

Any type of bleeding should be taken very seriously as it could very rapidly take your dog’s life.

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