Why is there Bleeding Under the Skin of your Dog?

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Understanding subcutaneous bleeding

Any kind of bleeding is a cause for concern, especially in your pets. Unfortunately, subcutaneous bleeding or bleeding under the skin is a lot more common that dog owners would imagine. The most common cause for this condition is trauma or injury. Dogs are very exuberant creatures, which means that they can get hurt sometimes while playing.

Besides injury, some bleeding disorders can cause this condition as well. The most common is an autoimmune disorder known as thrombocytopenia. This immune-mediated disorder causes the dog’s body to target its own platelets. When the blood vessels under the skin burst, the bleeding appears in three types – ecchymoses, petechiae, and bruising. Ecchymoses appears as purple or blue patches under the skin or on the mucous membrane. Petechiae is characterized by small purple or red spots on the dog’s skin. Bruising is typically seen as discolored patches.

What are the causes of bleeding under the skin?
Trauma or injury is the most common cause for subcutaneous bleeding in dogs. If you notice that your dog suffers from chronic or excessive bleeding under the skin, the reason could be one of the conditions listed below.

Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia: This disorder causes the platelets in your dog’s system to be destroyed due to his immune system going into overdrive. Other symptoms include nosebleeds, weakness, lack of appetite, lethargy, and gastrointestinal bleeding.

Canine thrombopathia: This disorder prevents your dog’s blood from clotting by affecting his platelets. Bleeding gums and nosebleeds are additional symptoms.

Infectious thrombocytopenia: Another platelet-destroying immune reaction that is caused by various diseases or virulent microorganisms such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, parvovirus, heartworm, leishmaniasis, or herpesvirus.

Lymphoma: This is a type of cancer that affects lymphocyte cells, causing your dog’s immune system to weaken. Additional symptoms include loss of appetite, lethargy, weakness, and weight loss.

Clotting disorders: These conditions are brought on by liver toxicity or liver disease, most commonly caused due to consumption of poisonous products like rodenticides.

Drug reactions: Some dogs could have serious negative reactions to certain medications like aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. This can affect the dog’s normal platelet functioning.

How can you treat bleeding under the skin in dogs?
If your dog’s platelet system is functioning well, there is no treatment required as the bleeding will stop by itself. If there is an underlying disorder, you will have to take your canine friend to the veterinarian for tests, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment. Your dog may need to stay in the hospital where he will be given intravenous hydration, electrolytes, blood transfusion, and even chemotherapy if necessary.

If you notice bleeding under your dog’s skin, take him to the vet as soon as possible so you can rule out serious underlying causes.