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Epistaxis In Dogs – Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Epistaxis In Dogs

What Is Epistaxis In Dogs?

Nosebleeds in dogs can be extremely disturbing for the pet owner. A nosebleed that stems from the nasal cavity itself is the most common type of nosebleed for dogs. The other two points of origin for canine nosebleeds are the nasopharynx (region of the nasal cavity that is after the nasal passage in the upper part of the pharynx) and the nostrils (the dog’s nasal cavity is divided into two separate chambers opening into two nostrils).

Typically, external stressors are the cause of nosebleeds that stem from the nostrils. Examples of these stressors include a simple pain from your dog putting his nose where it is not supposed to do, like in a thorny shrub or cuts caused due to aggressive scratching. Actually, epistaxis originating in the nostrils is not as frightening as the other two types of nosebleeds as a cut is typically the evident offender.

Epistaxis is a bit more disturbing when the bleeding is from within the nasal cavity itself. Though Epistaxis is no cause to be terror-stricken, it should be dealt with the sensitivity of mild severity. Similar to humans who can experience Epistaxis due to very dry weather, a dog is prone to environmental irritants that may result in nasal bleeding.

Most sudden or acute nosebleeds are a result of simple trauma or infections in the upper respiratory tract. The main difference between a human nosebleed and a canine nosebleed is the frequency with which they occur. When your pet is suffering from a nosebleed and if it is the first time your pet is experiencing it, it is really critical to remain cool, as your dog will consume your behavior. The calmer you can be in the measures you take, the better you can treat your dog’s nosebleed.

Symptoms Of Epistaxis In Dogs

  • Spontaneous bleeding or Slow dripping of blood from your dog’s nose
  • Redness or discoloration of the skin
  • Continuous pawing at the nose
  • Swelling / Excessive bruising
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting

Treatment Options For Epistaxis In Dogs

  • No treatment is necessary until the dog is stable
  • Antifungal/antibacterial/antiviral medication for nosebleeds due to respective infections
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Pain Control Medications such as NSAIDs
  • Antibiotics will be used to control infection and inflammation
  • Sometimes, epistaxis will be stopped by packing with gauze/icepack

Home Remedies For Epistaxis In Dogs

Always monitor for any irregularities and check with your vet as soon as possible.

Supportive therapies can be done at home and can include clotting medications, topical medications, antibiotics, oral antihistamines, and complementary treatments.

How To Prevent Epistaxis In Dogs?

Epistaxis due to genetic irregularity can be prevented by weeding out the affected dogs so that the risk of passing the condition on to the next generation is averted.

Affected Dog Breeds Of Epistaxis

Bedlington Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Chihuahua, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Maltese, Skye Terrier, Shetland Sheepdog, Springer Spaniel, Standard Poodle, Standard Manchester Terrier, West Highland White Terrier

Causes And Types For Epistaxis In Dogs

1. Causes:

  • Infectious diseases: parvovirus, canine infectious hepatitis virus, canine distemper, leptospirosis, heartworm disease, and salmonella
  • Many tick-borne diseases (e.g., Lyme disease)
  • immune-mediated diseases (e.g., Hemolytic Anemia, Thrombocytopenia, etc)
  • cancers (e.g., lymphoma, leukemia, hemangiosarcoma)
  • Medications including phenobarbital (Barbita, Solfoton, Luminal), estrogen, phenylbutazone (Butatron, VetriBute, Butazolidin), fenbendazole (Panacur, Safe-Guard), ACE inhibitors, cephalosporin antibiotics, and sulfa antibiotics
  • toxins and venoms (e.g., rattlesnake bites, benzene, zinc, arsenic, etc)

2. Types:

Congenital epistaxis: This type of nosebleeds is immune-mediated and found in the animals by birth itself such as hereditary macrothrombocytopenia.

Acquired defects: This type of nosebleeds is most commonly associated with liver or kidney disease and infections.

3. Mortality:

Epistaxis incidence is rather common. Nosebleeds don’t directly cause death but underlying causes of nosebleeds such as cancer may cause death.

4. Diagnosis:

  • Complete blood count/ Serum biochemical study
  • Urinalysis/ Fecal analysis
  • Coagulation function
  • Flow cytometry
  • Platelet count
  • Clot retraction
  • Smear evaluation

5. Prognosis:

The prognosis for recovery depends on the dog’s underlying disease. The prognosis of epistaxis is guarded in chronic cases and recovery depends on the affected organs and the overall health of the dog.

Causes And Types For Epistaxis In Dogs

Time to visit the vet clinic for an examination, if you notice any of the following:

  • Spontaneous bleeding or Slow dripping of blood from your dog’s nose
  • Redness or discoloration of the skin
  • Continuous pawing at the nose

Food Suggestions For Epistaxis In Dogs

  1. Protein, such as lean beef, chicken, fish, turkey
  2. Add lots of cruciferous vegetables, such as Cabbage, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale
  3. Beta carotene foods - Liver, carrots, orange, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, etc)
  4. Vitamin C foods – Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, tomatoes, citrus fruits, etc
  5. Antioxidants berries such as Blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, etc
  6. Omega 3 fatty acid foods (avocados, flaxseeds, Sardines, salmon, Mackerel, Herring, etc)


Congenital epistaxis may need lifelong management and often cannot be “cured.” After the initial treatment, monthly check-ups are recommended and bleeding has to be closely monitored. Medications have to be administered according to the vet’s instructions.

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