It is very heartbreaking to our dogs tired and sick! We freak out whenever they display the slightest sign of being sick, but what you know what is one of the scariest things ever? It is seeing that your dog cough blood!
But why do dogs cough blood? Dogs cough blood when their cough leads to capillaries rupturing. Other times, it occurs because of hemoptysis ( airway bleeding). This is when an injury makes your dog cough phlegm with blood from your dog’s throat and lungs as a response to their respiratory tract getting irritated.
If you understand why your dog is coughing blood and learn what to do when they start doing so, then continue reading this blog post.
Why is my dog coughing blood?
Let us start by explaining what a cough is. A cough is basically a physical response to the respiratory tract getting irritated. A cough could because due to multiple different reasons. Here are some of the reasons why dogs cough:
- They have an infected throat.
- There is something foreign in their respiratory tract that is making it extremely difficult for your dog to breath properly.
- There is an accumulation of mucus that your dog’s body is trying to get rid of.
- Also, a cough could be a sign of an underlying, undiagnosed disease.
Many diseases could make your four-legged best friend cough. Here are some of those diseases:
- They might have Bronchitis.
- They might have Pneumonia.
- They might have Tuberculosis.
- They might have a parasitic infection of their lungs.
- They might have what is known as the Canine Infectious Laryngotracheitis; aka, a kennel cough.
- They might have Tracheal stenosis or Tracheal Collapse, both of which are different types of diseases that could affect your dog’s trachea
- They might have Pulmonary Edema, which is a type of Vascular Pulmonary Diseases.
- There might be something foreign in their respiratory system.
Your dog might cough blood because their coughing caused their capillaries to rupture. They might also cough blood because of hemoptysis, which is also known as airway bleeding
The hemorrhage, which is basically the blood coming out of the ruptured blood vessels, could occur from your dog’s lungs, larynx, or trachea.
The bleeding isn’t always a sign that something so serious is going on. Sometimes dogs cough blood because they have a mouth infection or because their nose is bleeding.
Don’t get me wrong, should absolutely get alarmed when you see your dog cough blood because the underlying reasons for them doing so could be severe and life-threatening.
It is very important to take your dog to their vet right away to determine what the underlying cause is and to start their treatment before their cases progress to become even more advanced and thus worse.
Why your dog coughing blood is considered to be a dangerous sign?
Whether your dog is coughing blood or vomiting blood, it could be a sign that your dog is suffering from a serious, undiagnosed medical issue.
For example, Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that affects your dog’s respiratory system. This infection can spread via inhalation; thus, it can easily pass from us humans to our four-legged best friend.
During the advanced stages of Tuberculosis, your beloved dog will begin showing signs of jaundice and will start coughing some blood.
Tuberculosis mostly affects puppies and young dogs because they still have not built a healthy and strong immunity system. Dogs who have a suppressed immune system are also scriptable to capturing this terrible disease.
Pulmonary Vascular Disease
Pulmonary vascular disease includes many conditions where blood could get passed into your dog’s airways, which results in your dog coughing up blood.
Heart diseases that are associated with blood clots are one of the causes of why your dog is coughing blood. On the other hand, heartworm infections push the blood in your beloved dog’s airway.
Also, things like pulmonary hypertension ( which is a type of high blood pressure disorders that affects your dog’s lungs; as well as, their right side of their heart) tend to develop when your dog’s arteries in their lungs are blocked or narrowed. This causes them to cough and spit out blood from their lungs.
Hematemesis can be simply explained as the act of vomiting blood. This makes Hematemesis a bit different from other diseases that we have previously discussed. Unlike Tuberculosis and Pulmonary Vascular disorders, the blood that your dog spits comes from their digestive tract.
If any disorders are inflicting your dog’s esophagus and stomach, then this could be the reason why your four-legged best friend is vomiting blood. They might also have stomach ulcers or even gastric cancer. Gastric cancer usually affects older dogs who are eight years old and up.
What to do when you realize that your dog is coughing blood?
The moment you notice that there blood gushing out of your dog’s mouth, you must seek medical attention.
Whether it is coming from their lungs in the form of a cough or from their digestive tract in the form of vomit, you must seek medical assistance right away to make sure that there is not an underlying, severe undiagnosed infection or disorder affecting your beloved pooch.
Did you know that if the Tuberculosis is in its advanced stage, that it could be fatal and could result in your dog dying?
It truly saddens me to tell that Tuberculosis doesn’t usually get treated and that the dogs suffering from it end up getting euthanized because of the safety of the public.
Once you seek medical attention for your dog, the veterinarian is going to ask you some serious health questions regarding your pooch. These questions usually include whether the dog has been in contact with any other dog or human who has or could have Tuberculosis.
Your veterinarian is going to confirm whether your dog actually had Tuberculosis or not post-mortem, which means this confirmation happens after your dog dies. However, don’t worry about taking your dog to the vet when they cough blood.
They won’t just assume that your dog has Tuberculosis because this terrible disorder rarely occurs in dogs. Actually, your dog’s veterinarian can diagnose this disease by checking for bacteria exposure.
If Tuberculosis is ruled out, then the veterinarian is going to run some blood word to see if your pooch has heartworm disease.
An X-ray of your dog’s chest could also be done to see if there is an increase in your dog’s heart. This could make the veterinarian have an idea about the complications that could occur that are related to the heartworms treatment.
Your veterinarian might also ask you about any symptoms that you might have noticed, like the quantity of blood your dog coughs or vomits and the color of the blood ( marron or bright red for example).
Other symptoms might include your dog having a fever, being in shock, and having diarrhea. Seriously, any symptom you observe is going to help the vet identify what is wrong with your pooch faster.
Also, be prepared to give your dog’s vet your pooch’s full medical history. This is going to include things like whether if they have been exposed to any chemicals, if they have had any surgeries done before, and what medications did they ever take.
What treatments to expect for your blood coughing dog?
When it gets confirmed that your dog is indeed suffering from heartworm disease, then the veterinarian will inject your pooch with a drug.
The vet is also going to create a schedule for the other injections your dog is going to receive during their treatment. Of course, that schedule depends on your beloved dog’s condition.
Antibiotics are usually given as well to aid in the treatment of the secondary infections that occurred due to the heartworm’s bacteria.
The medications your dog’s vet is going to prescribe to your pooch should kill the heartworms within a couple of days of the treatment.
The medication is going to break up the worm fragments. Then, those fragments are going to get carried via the bloodstream to the lungs. In the lungs, they are going to get reabsorbed eventually into the body.
The most important thing that you should do is stick to the schedule of medications your dog’s vet has given to you. The next important thing is to stay calm during the first month and pos-treatment.
Your dog might be allowed to exercise during that period, so make sure you ask them if they don’t mention it.
Don’t forget to take your four-legged best friend back to the vet for their follow up injection, which is crucial because it is going to kill the microfilariae ( baby heartworms). This is done to prevent the new cycle of heartworm from taking place.
Other questions related to dogs coughing blood?
Is my dog coughing blood because they have cancer?
Although dogs coughing blood is a sign that they might have cancer, it probably isn’t. There are many reasons why dogs cough blood. The best thing that you can do is take your pooch to the vet to make sure that they don’t have severe and undiagnosed disease.
That’s it for today post. You should now know why dog’s cough blood, what you should do, and what questions to expect from the vet.
If you have any questions related to dogs coughing blood, then feel free to leave them in the comments section down below.