Being a dog parent is a wonderful experience, but sometimes, you might find that it can be a little scary. The sight of your dog throwing up blood can be among the most terrifying things that a dog owner can ever see.
If this does happen to your beloved companion, you have to seek medical help as soon as possible. Since it is also important to be aware of the reasons why this happens, we have written an article about it.
Why do dogs vomit blood?
There are many reasons why hematemesis happens, but before you go into a panic, you might want to know that this problem can occur more commonly than you might think. Many dogs experience it at some point or the other. Yes, it’s true that you have to take your Fido to the vet as soon as you can, but you needn’t immediately assume the absolute worst.
Ingestion of a potentially poisonous substance is among the first possible culprits. Chocolate can cause severe indigestion to the point where, if your dog has eaten a large amount, he or she will experience hematemesis. Plus, since many pet parents know that they should never feed their dogs chocolate, the pet usually eats it without the owner being aware, so he or she might swallow the packaging, not just the chocolate.
Eating a foreign object is another reason why hematemesis can happen. As you might expect, this can be quite common with dogs, especially those that are playful or those that tend to get very bored when they are left all alone at home. Foreign objects can range from pieces of furniture, bottle caps, toys, and shoes, to sticks and Q-tips. Sometimes, they can cause severe damage to the intestinal tract or the stomach, and that in turn results in diarrhea and sometimes, vomiting of blood.
One possible cause of hematemesis is cancer. This manifestation happens even in humans who have abdominal tumors, especially those that have affected their intestines and their stomach. The growth of abnormal tissue can happen in the esophagus, as well, and if any of the tiny neoplasms that have developed are broken or damaged, this will lead to hemorrhage. With some types of cancers located inside the abdominal cavity, pet parents can go for years without even suspecting that there’s something wrong with their precious canine companions, so that is why it is so essential to take your dog to the vet at least once a year for a regular checkup.
Stomach ulcers can be another probable cause, and these can be caused by a variety of factors from food to powerful medications. There are some anti-inflammatories that can lead to ulcers, especially when they are administered for a long time. Such medications can also affect the healthy bacteria in your pooch’s gut, therefore creating an imbalance that can affect the entire digestive process.
Damaged blood vessels are another possibility that might have caused the vomiting, but in case this happens, your dog doesn’t necessarily vomit blood per se, but rather small flecks of blood. You still have to take him or her to the veterinarian to see what’s wrong, but it might be less of an emergency compared to when the animal vomits actual blood.
If trauma has occurred, your dog could begin to vomit blood because of it. Remember, if your dog has been hit by a car, you can’t eliminate the possibility that one of his or her organs might have been perforated. There could be blood accumulating in your pet’s lungs, too.
Finally, another reason why hematemesis happens consists of coagulopathy. This condition happens because of the body’s inability to clot blood in a proper manner. While liver failure could be one of the reasons why coagulopathy occurs, it can also be caused by a variety of medications which lead to a low blood platelet count. On the other hand, coagulopathy can also be triggered by exposure to poisonous substances, heat stroke, as well as serious burns.
Hematemesis is usually an emergency, so before finding the actual cause, the veterinarian will most likely administer fluids to fight or prevent dehydration (your dog loses liquids by vomiting) and in some cases, antihemorrhagic agents which might be necessary for the duration of the diagnosis process.
To find out what’s really wrong, the vet might use an array of methods that range from an ultrasound or an X-ray to an analysis of a fecal sample. Your canine companion might have to spend several days at the clinic to get back in shape — that is, if the cause consists of ingestion of a poisonous substance or something that calls for more attention and care.
Needless to say, the treatment largely depends on the diagnosis, so there isn’t a miracle cure that your dog could receive regardless of the cause of the issue. If a stomach ulcer is the culprit, you might have to change your dog’s diet and feed him natural remedies, as well as a bland diet, at least for a while. Aloe vera can also reduce the amount of stomach acid produced. Some of the herbs that you might have to give to your dog are alfalfa, slippery elm, or licorice root, but keep in mind that these can prove their worth only if your dog has a stomach ulcer.
If what’s caused the hematemesis is a foreign object, you might have to give your dog some laxatives to allow him or her to pass it through the intestinal tract. Your dog might also have to receive antibiotics to prevent infections. In case the foreign object is a splinter, for example, sometimes it can be really big or it could have been anchored into the stomach or intestinal lining, and it might need to be taken out through surgery.
Hematemesis can be caused by a variety of factors, and there’s almost no way of you knowing which one it is until you take your dog to the vet. It is an emergency, so if you see your pooch vomiting blood, you have to seek medical help as soon as possible. Try to stay calm and get your pet to the vet immediately, but keep in mind that sometimes, things aren’t as bad as they seem.
As troubling as the whole situation might be, you need to be calm enough to be able to give your pet the care that he or she needs. If you seek medical attention very fast, it’s a good chance that the problem can be fixed and that your Fido gets back his or her health.