Dog Coughing Up Blood - Should You Really Be Alarmed?

Hearing a dog cough and seeing it in distress is one of the most difficult things a pet parent can encounter. If you see your dog coughing up blood, this adds a whole new level of anxiety and concern. Before you panic about your dog coughing up blood, learn about the different instances where this could occur, and what to do to ensure the health of your furry friend.

The actual cough of a dog is called "tussis". Tussis can occur when there is an accumulation of secretions or a foreign object in a dog's respiratory tract. Coughing can also be a symptom of something more serious, such as a respiratory disease or a cardiovascular disease.

Tussis assists in keeping the dog's airway free of these foreign materials. It is a normal response whenever an abnormality is present in the airway. This can occur in all breeds and at all ages. Much like in humans, the object can be as simple as a piece of food that is not quite swallowed yet, or an outdoor allergy symptom.
Dog Coughing Up Blood - Should You Really Be Alarmed?

There are many reasons why your dog might develop tussis. Bacteria and viruses are common in canines, due to their social nature, and germs are easily passed from one dog to another through sniffing and licking not just other dogs, but toys, bowls and furniture. Since these surfaces can house germs, your canine can easily pick them up and develop cold-like symptoms, including cough.

Kennel cough, is also a cause of dog coughing. While highly contagious, kennel cough is not typically serious and easily cured through antibiotics. Less common causes of cough are fungal infections such as yeast, heartworm spread from mosquitoes, and lung issues such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

When a Cough is not Just a Cough
A dog coughing up blood is not as simple a matter as a cough without other symptoms. A dog coughing up blood, also known as hemoptysis, needs medical attention. A dog may have something as minor as a simple sore throat, to serious diseases such as hemophelia or cancer. Your veterinarian will run tests to determine what the condition is that is causing the hemoptysis. Sometimes there are other symptoms to look for that may help determine the cause of the bleeding.

One overy common reason is the ingestion of poison, especially rat poison. Highly toxic, rat poison contains zinc phosphide, which affects the stomach. Other symptoms of poison ingestion include foul odors coming from the dog's breath. If you experience a garlicky or rotten fish smell coming from your pet's breath, poisoning should be considered.

Foreign objects ingested by your pet can also be the cause of your pet's illness. If your dog has consumed something sharp, for example a piece of bone, it can scratch the dog's throat and cause irritation or inflammation of the esophagus, and even infection. If your dog is swallowing excessively, yelping when eating, or having difficulty eating, then foreign object ingestion should be considered.

Be careful giving your beloved pet bones, pig ears, and other items that do not naturally digest. If your dog eats these items too quickly, they can not only cuase damage to his throat and esophagus, but they can also damage intestines and other internal organs.

Dental problems can cause your dog to cough blood. Much like humans, good oral hygiene is an important part of your canine's care. Gingivitis is common in dogs, and leads to bad breath, broken teeth and excessive drooling. Brushing your dog's teeth and offering treats specifically made to ward off plaque on the teeth are beneficial.

Bacterial infections can also cause a dog to cough up blood, Contaminated water is often the cause of bacterial infections in canines. If you and your dog frequent dog parks or doggy daycare, they are likely sharing a water bowl with other canines. This can lead to bacterial infections.

Wild birds bathing in dog dishes left outside can also cause bacterial infections, as can ingest uncooked or undercooked poultry. Additional symptoms of these infections include bile-streaked diarrhoea and vomiting. Bacterial infections can be extremely difficult to treat. Antibiotics, while effective in puppies, are typically not helpful in older canines.

When Things Get Serious
While difficult to face, the reason your dog may be coughing up blood can be due to a serious condition. Tumors in the lungs can cause the expulsion of blood. Adenocarcinoma , or cancer of the lung makes up about 75 percent of all primary lung tumors in dogs.

Any breed can be affected by this type of cancer, although it is most common in boxers. This type of tumor is malignant in nature. The exact cause of this type of cancer is not known, and while typically fatal, chemotherapy and radiotherapy can increase lifespan. The sooner you can get your pet diagnosed, the earlier treatment can begin.

Possible Reason of Bloody Cough Other Symptoms What To Do
Ingestion of Foreign Object Lack of Interest in Food CALL VET!
Ingestion of Poisons Foul Breath CALL VET!
Bacterial Infection General Lethargy, Diarrhea CALL VET!
Cancer General Lethargy, Lack of Interest in food and Daily Activities CALL VET!

Dog Coughing Up Blood - Your Time at the Vet
Once they identify the underlying cause of your dog coughing up blood, your vet can determine the course of treatment. Frequently, that treatment will include supportive care with the administration of IV fluids, gastric protectants, anti-vomiting medication, and antibiotics or de-worming medications.

If your dog has swallowed a foreign object, your vet may administer a laxative to assist your dog in passing that object. The vet will give your dog antibiotics, to ward off infection. Your fur baby might have to stay with the veterinarian for a few days, for observation and to insure the object is expelled.

Your dog may require surgery if the object does not pass. Your vet may also complete a blood count and chemistry profile, to be analyzed in her lab. A complete blood count may suggest the presence of infections or allergies, based on the amount of white blood cells that are present, and may show abnormally elevated liver enzymes or other abnormalities that are related to the underlying cause.

It can be frustrating and upsetting to see your beloved pet feeling ill, especially when you aren't sure of the cause. But following the advice here may prevent future episodes, or at least help you to understand why your dog is throwing up yellow foam. Once you understand the causes of this unpleasant yet common issue, you'll be able to help your dog live a longer, happier life.

By paying attention to additional symptoms and responding quickly to this important problem can help you get your dog the treatment it needs so that it can continue to be your favorite companion.