In emergency situations, like when your dog or cat is bleeding, you should provide first aid and get them to the vet for treatment immediately. Here, our Animal Emergency Center veterinarians explain.
Bleeding in Cats or Dogs
Bleeding in a cat or dog may consist of external or internal bleeding.
External bleeding is easy to see and often comes from a wound in the skin.
Internal bleeding, however, is difficult to detect and requires the services of a skilled veterinarian.
No matter the type of bleeding, every pet owner should know how to perform basic first aid to control or stop bleeding long enough to get to your veterinarian.
My Cat or Dog is Losing Blood
Your dog or cat may go into shock if they lose a sufficient amount of blood over a short period of time. Blood loss of as little as two teaspoons per pound of body weight is enough to cause shock.
If shock is left untreated, organ systems shut down and the dog or cat may suffer permanent damage or even death. Symptoms of shock in dogs or cats include an increased heart rate, low blood pressure, they may have pale, white gums, and breathing rapidly.
What to Do if my Cat or Dog is Bleeding Externally?
Place a compress of clean cloth or gauze directly over your dog or cat's wound. Apply firm but gentle pressure, and allow it to clot. If blood soaks through the compress, place a fresh compress on top of the old one and continue to apply firm but gentle pressure.
If the bleeding wound is on the foot or leg, and there is no evidence of a broken bone, gently elevate the leg so that the wound is above the level of the heart, while still applying pressure to the wound.
Pressure on the Supplying Artery
If bleeding has not slowed down after you have used direct pressure and elevation, you can use a finger to place pressure over the main artery of the wound. On a rear leg, apply pressure to the femoral artery, located on the inside of the thigh. On a front leg, apply pressure to the brachial artery, located on the inside of the upper front leg.
What to Do if my Cat or Dog are Bleeding Internally?
Internal bleeding occurs inside the body and is less obvious than external bleeding fro a wound. There are, however, some external signs of internal bleeding, which can include any of the following:
- Pale to white gums gums appear pale to white
- Cool legs, ears or tail
- Painful belly when it is touched
- Coughing up blood or having difficulty breathing
- Unusually subdued; progressive weakness and sudden collapse