May 31, 2013

The bloody nose

Some blood-tinged droplets sneezed on the floor might be the only sign or there might be a steady inexorable bloody drip from one or both nostrils. These findings are alarming, as well as messy in the home and we want to identify the cause and take care of it promptly, if it is possible to do so. The problem is that there are many causes and not all of them are localized to the nose and many are serious diseases. The following is a review of tests typically necessary to get to the bottom of the bloody nose, as well as the conditions that might be responsible.{{more}} 

First Aid

So, you are at home with your pet and a bloody nose starts and does not seem to be stopping. Here are some tips to get the bleeding controlled in the time prior to your vet appointment: Keep your pet calm. Increased blood pressure that occurs with excitement will increase the bleeding. Tranquilizers, such as acepromazine, are often prescribed for nose bleed patients for this purpose. Do not use medication in your pet without veterinary instruction to do so, however. Keep yourself calm. If your pet sees you getting frantic, your pet will get frantic, too. Again, excitement = higher blood pressure = more bleeding. Get an ice pack and apply it to the bridge of the nose; (obviously, be sure your pet can breathe around the ice pack). The cold will constrict small blood vessels which will slow the bleeding.

If these steps do not stop the bleeding or the pet is having difficulty breathing, go to your vet’s office right away.

Don’t forget that a pet with a bloody nose will likely swallow a great deal of the draining blood. This may lead to an especially black stool or even vomit with blood clots in it.

After a bloody nose, such findings are usually just a reflection of the bloody nose and do not necessarily indicate bleeding in the GI tract.

Information your veterinarian will need

You can help your veterinarian tremendously by taking some time to think about the following information and bringing up anything pertinent: Does your pet take medication? Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (aspirin in particular) will inactivate blood clotting factors. Do not assume your vet knows all the medications your pet is taking; list them for your vet. Do you have any rat poison or has your pet been consuming any dead rodents that might have been poisoned? Most rat poisons act by disabling the ability to clot blood. Look closely at your pet’s face.
Is there any deformity or asymmetry? Is the bridge of the nose swollen? Are either of the third eyelids elevated. Does one eye seem to protrude more? Does one eye tear more? Could there have been any trauma to the nose? Does your pet play roughly with another animal? Has your pet been sneezing? Has the pet been rubbing at the nose? Open your pet’s mouth, if possible. Look at the gums under the lips. Is there blood in the mouth? Do the gums seem pale (if so, this suggests a serious loss of blood and you may have an emergency on your hands)? Is there any evidence of bleeding anywhere besides the nose? Intestinal bleeding may present with a black tarry stool. Any unusual bruising should be reported. Any unexplained swelling that might represent bleeding under the skin should also be noted.

Some diseases, like Ehrlichiosis (tick fever), cause the platelets (clotting factors) in the blood to disappear, hence the blood does not clot, leading to generalized bleeding, including nose bleed.

Blood tests

If the basic blood tests and clotting parameters are normal, then the chances are that the problem is localized to the nose, but there are a few more tests that are required before the patient is anesthetized for a nasal examination. Radiographs of the chest may be performed to rule out obvious cancer spread.

Treatment will be based on the cause of the bloody nose.

For further information, contact: Dr Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd.
Tel: 456 4981