Your veterinarian will begin to diagnose the reason why your pet has bleeding from the nose after acquiring and evaluating your dog s recent medical history. She will inquire about medications your pet may be taking and whether you have noticed any unusual bleeding prior to this event. If there has been a trauma to your dog s nose, advise the veterinarian. Other information to relay would be if you have used any poisons or pesticides in your yard, or whether your dog has been exposed to any rodents recently. Your veterinarian will also want to know if the stools have been normal. An examination will include checking the appearance of the area around the nose and the gums. Your veterinarian will look for evidence of pain or facial swelling, and check the condition of the eyes, looking for redness or abnormalities. Your veterinarian will order a CBC (complete blood count) to check for anemia along with other potential issues, such as organ damage. She may want to do a radiograph (x-ray) to look for evidence of internal bleeding. Swabbing of the nasal passages will determine if there is infection present. Other tests, such as MRI or bone marrow analysis may be required, depending on findings from the initial examination.
What is epistaxis?
Epistaxis is defined as acute hemorrhage from the nostril, nasal cavity, or nasopharynx. It is commonly referred to as a \”nosebleed. \” Epistaxis in dogs can be extremely unsettling for the pert owner. Most acute or sudden nosebleeds are caused by simple trauma or by upper respiratory tract infections. Other causes of epistaxis in dogs can be more serious and require immediate treatment. What should I do if my dog gets a nosebleed at home? If your dog begins bleeding from the nose, you can try these simple first aid steps to try to stop the hemorrhage: \”Do not administer any medication to your dog unless specifically advised to do so by your veterinarian. \” Keep your dog calm. Elevated blood pressure associated with excitement will increase the bleeding. Place an ice pack on the bridge of the nose (on top of the muzzle). In short-faced breeds, be sure your pet can breathe around the ice pack. The cold will constrict small blood vessels, which will slow the bleeding. Do not administer any medication to your dog unless specifically advised to do so by your veterinarian. If these steps do not stop the bleeding or the pet is having difficulty breathing, see your veterinarian or emergency clinic at once.
Remember that a pet with a bloody nose will likely swallow a great deal of blood. This may lead to a black stool (melena) or vomit that contains blood clots (hematemesis). After an episode of epistaxis, these findings are common and do not necessarily indicate bleeding in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. How is it diagnosed? First, your veterinarian will require a thorough medical history from you. Useful information includes: Has your pet taken any medication in the past thirty days? Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), especially aspirin, can inactivate blood-clotting factors leading to spontaneous bleeding. Be sure to record all medications and supplements your dog has received. Have you used rat poison or other pesticides in your home or yard? Has your pet eaten or killed any rodents in the past two to three weeks? Has there been any trauma to the nose? Has your dog played roughly with another animal? Is your pet exposed to foxtails, grass awns or other seed heads that could become lodged in the nose? Has your pet been sneezing or rubbing at its nose? Have you seen any blood in the mouth or along the gums?
Have you noticed a black tarry stool? Have you noticed any dark, \”coffee-ground\” vomit? Have you seen any unusual bruising or darkened areas of skin? Have you noticed any new swelling, lumps or masses? After the medical history has been evaluated, your veterinarian will perform a physical examination. Specific abnormalities that your veterinarian will look for include: bulging or protruding of one eye when compared to the other. the color of the gums, especially whether they seem pale What sort of tests may be needed? Based on the exam findings, your veterinarian may recommend one or more of the following tests: Serum biochemistry – blood tests to assess organ function, searching for evidence of damage to the liver or kidneys from toxins or for other underlying diseases that may cause bleeding Clotting tests – a series of tests that assess the function of the various clotting mechanisms in the blood. Radiographs – may be performed to look for evidence of bleeding inside the body or other abnormalities that may result in epistaxis – the chest, skull and oral cavity are often radiographed in cases of epistaxis More specific tests may be performed based on your pet\’s initial findings and condition.
Examples of additional tests include bone marrow analysis, Ehrlichia antibody tests, tick disease tests, sinus and skull x-rays, MRI and rhinoscopy (viewing the nasal cavities with a small endoscope). What causes epistaxis? While there are many causes of epistaxis in dogs, the most common causes are trauma and infection. Other more serious conditions that can cause epistaxis include: Drug reactions (methimazole, chemotherapy drugs, estrogens, sulfa class antibiotics) Other cancers, especially of the nasal passages and skull How is epistaxis treated? Treatment is directed at the underlying condition or primary cause. Antibiotics are often used in cases of infection, surgical cauterization may be used if the condition is chronic and tiny blood vessels have been identified. In cases where anxiety is suspected to cause epistaxis, sedatives, tranquilizers or other behavior-modifying medications may be prescribed. What is the prognosis? The prognosis is based on the specific cause of epistaxis and the health status of the pet at the time of diagnosis. Your veterinarian will provide you with detailed diagnostic and treatment plans, as well the prognosis based on your pet\’s condition.