What is Bleeding Under the Skin?

Hemorrhaging under the skin occurs as the result of burst blood vessels and may manifest in three ways: as bruising, which appears discoloration of the skin; as petechiae, which appear as small red of purple spots on the skin; and as ecchymoses, which appears as purplish patch(es) on the dog’s mucous membranes or under the skin.

Bleeding under the skin is typically the result of injury; however, they may be exacerbated by certain bleeding disorders. Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, an autoimmune disorder in which the dog’s body attacks its own platelets, is more likely to occur in female dogs and in the German Shepherd, Greyhound, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Old English Sheepdog breeds. Canine thrombopathia is a congenital defect in platelet functioning and has only been found in the Basset Hound breed. Lymphoma is the established cancer of the immune system and is more commonly found in the Boxer, Golden Retriever, Saint Bernard, Basset Hound, Airedale Terrier, Bulldog and Scottish Terrier breeds. Von Willebrand’s disease is a deficiency in the clotting protein known as von Willebrand’s factor and most commonly occurs in the Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Standard Manchester Terrier, Standard Poodle, Scottish Terrier, Basset Hound and Shetland Sheepdog breeds.

Symptoms of Bleeding Under the Skin in Dogs

The only symptoms of bleeding under the skin are bruising, petechial, and ecchymosis. Other than the fact that ecchymosis may appear on mucous membranes, it can be difficult to distinguish from bleeding. If your dog’s bleeding under the skin is caused by the presence of an underlying disorder, she may exhibit additional symptoms, discussed at length below in the Causes section.

Types
The two types of bleeding under the skin are bleeding as a result of injury, and bleeding under the skin that is facilitated by an underlying disorder.

Causes of Bleeding Under the Skin in Dogs

The most common cause for bleeding under the skin of dogs is simply bodily injury or trauma. However, over-sensitive, excessive or chronic bleeding under the skin may be caused or exacerbated by one of the following disorders:

  • Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, an autoimmune disorder that causes a dog’s platelets to be destroyed by an overactive immune reaction. Additional symptoms that your dog may exhibit include lethargy, loss of appetite, weakness, nosebleeds, pale mucous membranes, bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, blood in the urine, vomiting blood, coughing, and ocular hemorrhages.
  • Infectious thrombocytopenia, an immune reaction that causes a dog’s immune system to destroy its own platelets may be caused by ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, leptospirosis, leishmaniasis, heartworm, cytauxzoonosis, parvovirus, herpesvirus or blood poisoning. Additional symptoms your dog may exhibit include nosebleeds, bloody urine or feces, and retinal bleeding.
  • Canine thrombopathia is a platelet-functioning disorder that negatively affects the ability of the dog’s blood to clot. Additional symptoms that your dog may exhibit include nosebleed and bleeding gums.
  • Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphocyte cells, which is a subset of white blood cell integral to your dog’s immune system. Additional symptoms your dog may exhibit are anorexia or lack of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, and weakness.
  • Acquired Clotting Protein Disorders inhibit the body’s ability to clot blood due to liver disease or liver toxicity, most commonly from rodenticide-caused Vitamin K poisoning.
  • Estrogen Toxicity may cause bone marrow suppression leading to low red or white blood cell or platelet count.
  • Chemotherapy may cause bone marrow suppression leading to low red or white blood cell or platelet count.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease is a clotting disorder caused by a deficiency in the clotting protein known as von Willebrand’s factor. Additional symptoms include spontaneous hemorrhaging from the nose, vagina, urinary tract or oral mucous membranes.
  • Drug reactions that affect platelet functioning: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin.

Diagnosis of Bleeding Under the Skin in Dogs

Diagnosis depends upon thorough reporting of the extent and onset of your dog’s symptoms and any injury or other possible causes. Description of the physical trauma your dog may have suffered will help the veterinarian to determine if the bleeding under your dog’s skin is appropriate or if it may be exacerbated by an underlying disorder. Reporting of medical history and possible ingestion of toxic substances will also be integral to diagnosis. The veterinarian will immediately start the visit by performing a thorough physical examination to search for additional instances of bruising, petechiae, ecchymoses and/or lesions.

The veterinarian will sample your dog’s blood and perform a complete blood count, measuring red and white blood cell and platelet counts, which may indicate that your dog has lymphoma (if white blood cells are abnormally low) or thrombocytopenia (if platelets are abnormally low). Additionally, a clotting test will be performed, which could reveal thrombopathia, von Willebrand’s disease, or acquired protein clotting disorder. This test will also determine if your dog needs to be treated for anemia due to blood loss. A bone marrow sample may be taken if estrogen toxicity is suspected. Bone marrow testing can also indicate if the cause of bleeding under the skin is chemotherapy; however, this is only possible if your dog is undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

A chemical blood profile will be examined and may indicate underlying liver or kidney disease, or vitamin K toxicity due to an elevated level of vitamin K. A urinalysis will be examined for elevated proteins in the urine and blood in the urine, which would point to immune-mediated thrombocytopenia or lymphoma.

Treatment of Bleeding Under the Skin in Dogs

For primary bleeding under the skin, no treatment is necessary, as bleeding will stop on its own and your dog’s skin will return to normal. However, for bleeding under the skin as a symptom of an underlying disorder, treatment of the underlying disorder will be necessary. Specific treatments will depend upon the specific cause. In some cases, your dog may need to be hospitalized and stabilized through IV fluids for hydration and proper electrolyte balance and possible whole blood or packed red blood cell transfusion in the case of anemia or platelet transfusion in the case of a severe platelet deficiency.

Recovery of Bleeding Under the Skin in Dogs

It is important to follow the veterinarian’s instructions for follow-up appointments and at-home care. Minimize your dog’s activity during recovery in order to prevent further injury.

In many cases, it's been historically proven that treatment of the underlying cause will lead to a full recovery; however, if your dog has a congenital bleeding disorder, treatment will be management. For dogs with congenital bleeding disorders, excessive bleeding will need to be managed for the rest of their lives. During a bleeding episode, restrict movement in order to minimize bleeding. Dogs with congenital bleeding disorders who exhibit bleeding gums as a symptom should be fed only soft food and not given hard chew toys or bones.

Cost of Bleeding Under the Skin in Dogs

The veterinarian will most likely need to hospitalize your dog and provide him with intravenous fluids ($67 to $85). However, your dog may require overnight observation ($40 to $120 per night). The veterinarian may diagnosis the bleeding under your dog’s skin as a symptom of anemia. Anemia is a condition of the blood where there is a red blood cell deficiency, resulting in thinner blood and poor health. The veterinarian may treat this by providing your dog with a whole blood transfusion ($500 per unit). Another possibility is that the bleeding is a symptom of a platelet deficiency. Platelets clump together to stop bleeding. If there aren’t enough platelets in the blood then clots cannot be formed. In this case, a platelet transfusion ($150 to $450 per unit) can help resolve the issue.

Bleeding Under the Skin in Dogs Treatment Advice

Bleeding Under the Skin Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Snix
Chihuahua
3 Years
Mild condition
0 found this not helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Bruising, not tender

I came home and noticed a bruise on Snickers belly. Do you suppose it might heal on its own? She doesn't have a hx of bruising and it's only in one spot, about 2inches in diameter and oval shape. I'm wondering if my other dog stepped on her or something.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
743 Recommendations

Bleeding under the skin or bruising is something we are all familiar with but in animals it is rarely noticed due to all the hair, but easily visible on the abdomen. A single bruise shouldn’t be of much concern, it should be monitored until it has disappeared; the body will break it down and absorb it back. Until then look out for any other symptom of something more malicious like blood in the urine or faeces, nosebleeds, lethargy, pale gums, swollen lymph nodes or any other worrying symptom; if you notice any of these or the bruise doesn’t disappear, visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Hi i have 7 rescue dogs and one of my dogs was attacked by 2 others of mine and today all around hes genitals is bruised and purple its quit a large injury, im concerned becouse of were it is, will this just clear up on its own, i have no money to take him vets as am on benafits, i have no spaces left on pdsa so cant take him there, iv bought 2 muzzles so if they go to attack him again they can wear them for 5mins. Need advice asap please, regards lisa

Woke up yesterday to a small 1 inch circle shape blood clot on my 4 year old heathy chihuahua female named Taloutah. That was at 7am. She looked fine and was eating. So I didn't think much of it. Just said I'll keep a eye on it through out the day. She started to breath weird and was getting tired. And also ate in the morning but at dinner time didn't wanna look at her food. That's a first. I picked her up took her to the vet. They took blood said I might be a blood clot issue. Handed me a bill for $659 dollars said give her pretozone steroid and see where it goes. Witch my dog was coughing up flemmy blood while we were there. I said what's going on. He said it's normal. Long story short. She dies 4 hours later in my lap driving her to another vet. I'm so lost for words right now. From being healthy and happy running around to wake up to a small blood clot to her death in one day. Great start to a new year.😪😪😪😪😪

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Buster
Chihuahua
11 Years
Moderate condition
0 found this not helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Redness

My dog was attacked now his chest is bruised and hw whines when touche

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
743 Recommendations

Bleeding under the skin is the same as bruising, usually the capillaries rupture during a traumatic event and the blood clots stopping the bleeding and is eventually broken down and absorbed back in to the body. In dogs with coagulopathies, low platelet count or on certain medications; the blood may not clot and may continue bleeding. I would recommend you visit your Veterinarian as Buster has suffered some trauma and may require pain management and some symptomatic therapy. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Odin
Dachshund
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found this not helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Swollen ear
Limping
Lethargic
Bruising, not tender

My dog was accidentally slammed in the door by my roommate. He's small, maybe 15lbs. Now he won't put ANY weight on one of his paws, has bruising so dark it's almost black on that paw. He also has bruising on his hips and abdomen and one ear is swollen too. I've pushed gently all over him and he's not wincing. He is lethargic and not at all himself. Is a 48 rest period a good idea or should he go to the vet ASAP?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
743 Recommendations

Given the extent of the bruising I would recommend visiting your Veterinarian as Odin may be in pain, but might not be showing it; dogs are quite stoic and will not show signs of pain and discomfort in some cases. Your Veterinarian will also perform flexion tests on Odin’s legs to make sure that there is ease of movement; additionally given the size of dachshunds, spinal problems are always a possibility. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Princess
Persian
15 Years
Mild condition
1 found this not helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

A little sensitive to touch

My cat Appears to have a cut on her leg which is has been mildly bleeding but u can see a larger purple path underneath that . Will monitoring be enough ? Assuming it does not change ?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
743 Recommendations

Cuts and bruises in older cats always have to be treated with caution as clotting disorders can lead to prolonged bleeding and recovery times. You can try monitoring it, but if the bruising get larger or the cut doesn’t heal, visit your Veterinarian; it may be worth visiting your Veterinarian to get some antibiotics. Make sure you keep the wound clean and free of debris. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Sophie
Shih-tzu/Walker hound and Basenji
12 Years
Moderate condition
0 found this not helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

not contagious mange
Weight Loss
Bleeding through skin

I was petting my dog and all the sudden saw blood oozing out of her skin. I cleaned the area to try to find what was causing this. As I picked up the skin barely pushing on the skin more blood starting oozing out in other areas very close by the original place. It seems as I gently squeeze the skin, it bleeds. The blood was the strange color. We have noticed that she's lost weight but she eats like a horse! She also has had mange, not the contagious type. Her skin looks awful and she's been getting medicated baths to help with the mange problem and daily vitamins. Her energy is slowly going away. Just two months ago, she was running on the beach and recently she barely had the energy to walk.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
743 Recommendations

It would be best to take Sophie to her Veterinarian as bleeding through the skin is very unusual as is usually attributable to poisoning, clotting disorders, trauma or cancer. Your Veterinarian may take a biopsy sample for analysis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Rosie
Yorkshire Terrier
7 Years
Mild condition
0 found this not helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

No swelling
Red spots

Hi. I have a 7 year old Yorkshire. She was a puppy mill dog. Her last birth was a C-Section so when they gave her away, she was still being stitched up. I've had her for about 6 months now and her stitches have already dissapeared. I've started to realize that she's been getting a lot of red spots under her skin (Mostly between her legs). I don't really know what to do and I'm worried .
,Kimberly

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
743 Recommendations

It would be best to visit your Veterinarian to look at the spots and to run blood tests to see her platelet levels. Red patches under the skin may be caused by bleeding or irritation and may be attributable to many different conditions including thrombocytopenia, trauma, liver disease, poisoning, irritation among other causes. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Roxy
australian shepherd mix
3 Years
Moderate condition
1 found this not helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Wound
Hard and swollen
Dark red spot
Bruised under the skin

Medication Used

none

My dog roxy recently injured herself, she was running and went to jump a gap to a bridge, she did not make the jump and hit her abdominal area on the bridge. She laid down for a moment after she got out of the water. A couple days went by and she has been acting normal. Then I noticed a rather large bruise on her abdomen area where the fur is thinner. She did not act like it was sensitive to touch, but it looks dark red and hard and swollen. Will this heal on its own?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
743 Recommendations

It could just be a bruise from the impact and will disappear by itself with time; however, pain isn’t a good indicator in dogs as they are stoic by nature and may not show pain. I would keep an eye on it and visit your Veterinarian tomorrow to make sure that there isn’t anything else more sinister there, they may also prescribe some pain medication (as she may still be in pain, just not showing it). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Jazzmin
Welsh Corgi
6.5 years
Mild condition
0 found this not helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Bruising on Belly, raised skin/bruising on side

Medication Used

None, but was giving her baby aspirin for joints.

We spend weekends at our camper and Jazzy loves to swim. On our way home we felt a raised part in her skin about the size of a 50 cents piece that was kind of hard, almost like a covering on it and when I researched her skiing was purplish. Today I noticed some bruising on her belly. She does love to swim and was wondering if the bruising might be caused from a hit on the rocks (she runs in and retrieves anything we throw). About a week ago we noticed some bruising and we think she might have scraped herself getting back in the boat but that has gone away. She does not seem to be in pain and if she was she would snarl at us. Any advise or just watch for a couple days?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
743 Recommendations

Bruising may be due to some knocks and scrapes whilst having fun on the water; but bruising may also be a sign of thrombocytopenia (reduction in the number of circulating plates) which would need to be ruled out. Thrombocytopenia may be caused by an increase in destruction, an increase in use or a decrease in production; it may be worth visiting your Veterinarian for a blood test to be on the safe side just to look at the blood cell counts. Otherwise, keep an eye on her; but if the bruising is a regular problem, visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Milo
Yorkshire Terrier
7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found this not helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

None as of yet

Hi. My landlord recently came to our apartment and we are pretty sure he kicked my dog when no one was home. My dog has a lump and minimal bruising but it has been spreading over the past week. We took him to the vet and they said he is okay. I'm wondering when the bruising will go away and also why it is spreading. He is eating okay and acting like his usual self. But the fact that his bruise is spreading and black and purple scares me. Please help! Thanks.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
743 Recommendations

Some bruising in dogs may take as long as two weeks or so to completely heal and the bruise may increase in size as the body breaks down the blood. If there is no change in Milo’s behaviour and is active, eating food etc… I wouldn’t be too concerned. However, if the bruising is still present after two weeks (with no sign of disappearing) or you notice symptoms of lethargy, pain, pale gums and weakness you must return to your Veterinarian immediately. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Roxanne
Pittbull mix
10 Years
Mild condition
0 found this not helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

red blood spot

Medication Used

Proin

My dog has a very large red spot on her stomach. It looks like blood under the skin. It doesn't bother her nor has her behavior changed at all. We are about to go on a trip and would hate for it to get worse or be serious while we are gone.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
743 Recommendations

There are a few causes for bleeding under the skin including trauma and low blood platelets; however, bleeding under the skin doesn’t stay red for long and breaks down and may turn blue, black, purple, green or yellow. I would visit your Veterinarian for an examination before you go away and also have a blood count done to check platelet counts. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Lucas
Labrador pit bull mix
8 Months
Mild condition
0 found this not helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Itching dry skin licking missing hair on both side
Red and swollen

My dog has this patch of blood or bite look. He also has dry skin which is making him itch all over his body. He has dandruff all over the top of his hair. He seems a bit agitated

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
743 Recommendations

Hair loss and the appearance of flakes may be due to seborrhoea sicca which may cause a dog to bite itself to itch; this may be a primary or secondary condition, some types of parasitic mites may also cause a flaking of the skin. It would be best to visit your Veterinarian to take a look at Lucas’s skin and to give a diagnosis; if it is seborrhoea sicca, there are shampoos available from your local pet store which may help to treat it and any open wound to be bathed with dilute chlorhexidine. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Cinnamon
Chihuahua
2 Years
Mild condition
0 found this not helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

purple skin

Medication Used

Nexguard

My 6lb chihuahua Cinnamon who is about 2 years old, has purplish color coverinv the majority of her abdomen. She is very playful with our bigger chihuahua mix Pepper. We just noticed today, that she has this abnormal coloring on her belly that was not there before. I do not recall any injury happening or any other symptoms. It doesn't seem to bother her or slow her down. The only other thing I can think of is that we found a dead mouse on the floor the other day that they had gotten from who knows where. We have never used mouse poison and have lived in this house 2 years, so it may have been from more than 2 years ago. She has not displayed any signs of poisoning like acting strangely or throwing up. Both aour dogs are current on all shots, flea medicine and heartgard.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
743 Recommendations

Any known bleeding or bruising should be seen by your Veterinarian as there are a few different causes of bruising (including trauma and poisoning); older rodent poisons used anticoagulants and would thin the blood to the point that the rodent bled to death, I do not think it would be rodent poison as the symptoms would be much worse and last ten years rodent poisons are more neurotoxin based. Trauma or clotting disorders are the two most likely candidates, I would visit your Veterinarian for an examination and possibly a blood test to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Toby
Miniature Pinscher
8 Years
Mild condition
0 found this not helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Bruise
Bruising, not tender

Medication Used

Tramadol

My min pin chihuahua mix was in a fight woth a bull mastiff. The bullmastiff had him in his mouth pinning him to the ground but did not use his terth just scrapped the min pins side. There was a lot of tugging and pulling from owners trying to keep them seperated. We took him to the vet his xrayz came back normal just slight seperation of lower ribs and he limped the first day on his back left leg. Second day i have noticed now he has black purple bruise and swollen sack like on his under lower belly and left leg. He is now on antiobiotics and paind meds, Can the brusing just be from the pressure and injury or should i be more concerned?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
743 Recommendations

You may be seeing bruising after a traumatic injury, however I would recommend visiting your Veterinarian for a quick check as the swelling under the belly may be caused by fluid or a haematoma; it would be best to have it checked out and to make sure that Toby is on the right track to recovery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Bleeding Under the Skin in Dogs Treatment Experiences

Jazzy
Dog

Has Symptoms

Wound

Hi there I would like to share my Maltese girl had a bruising red and purple and diagnosed here with petechia , very low platelets that causes her to bleed under the skin ... That's pretty scary .

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The statements expressed are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified by your local veterinarian.