An accident or a serious health problem such as diabetes or tumour can cause your apparently healthy dog to experience internal bleeding. Do not assume that the fact your dog gets up after being hit by a car means he escaped injury; in dogs as in humans, an accident that seems to leave the subject unscathed may cause internal bleeding. Learning to recognise the symptoms of internal bleeding can help you save your dog's life.
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The colour of your dog's gums above the teeth should be a healthy pink. If you lightly press on the gums and then release, the colour should quickly go from slightly pale back to pink. If gums lack normal pink colouration, there may be internal bleeding.
Changes in Respiration
Notice if your dog is breathing quickly and heavily, or panting for a reason other than heat and/or exertion. An alteration in normal breathing rhythm can mean your dog's system is in crisis mode.
Releasing Blood from Orifices
Observe your dog's excretion processes if you suspect internal bleeding. Often blood will appear in urine or stool, either as a bright red colour or dark reddish brown. Rectal bleeding is most common with injuries in the area of the lower intestinal tract. In the case of injury in the region of the mouth, throat and lungs, the dog may vomit blood. In some cases, a dog may exhale blood from her nostrils.
Do not ignore a sudden change in your animal's energy level. If a dog--especially one which is normally eager to go outside and play--seems reluctant to walk, look for other signs of internal bleeding.
Low Body Temperature
Use a rectal thermometer to take your pet's temperature. Normal canine temperature ranges from 37.7 to 39.1 degrees C. If your dog's temperature dips below 37.8 degrees C, this is a serious symptom of distress.
Other signs of internal bleeding include bruising and/or swelling of the affected region of the body, excessive thirst, anxiety and nausea. If your dog has had any injury, be on the lookout for these symptoms for up to two weeks after the accident. Since internal bleeding can also occur with certain illnesses, being a responsible dog owner means always being attentive to changes in your dog's body and behaviour. If you suspect your dog has internal bleeding, contact a veterinarian immediately.
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