Blood Clot in the Lungs in Dogs

An important note for dog owners

What is Pulmonary Thromboembolism in Dogs

Pulmonary thromboembolism (PTE) takes place when an embolism lodges in one of the arteries that feed into the lungs. PTE can affect both dogs and cats. Slow-flowing blood and blood vessel damage, in addition to blood which clots too easily, can predispose a dog to thrombus (blood clot) formation. The majority of the time, pulmonary PTE is triggered by another underlying disease procedure.

Lung thromboemboli (embolism) can originate in the right atrium of the heart, or in much of the significant veins throughout the body. As the dog’s body makes oxygenated blood to provide to the heart and lungs, this clump of blood cells is carried through the blood stream towards the lungs, where it gets captured in a narrow part of one of the passages of the arterial network that feeds oxygenated blood to the lungs. In this method, the blood circulation through that artery is stopped, and oxygenated blood is unable to reach the lung. The severity of the condition is, to a degree, dependent on the size of the embolism.

Symptoms and Types

  • Fatigue
  • Increased breathing rate.
  • Lack of hunger (anorexia).
  • Pale or bluish-colored gums.
  • Inability to sleep or get comfortable.
  • Workout intolerance.
  • Cough
  • Abrupt trouble breathing.
  • Spitting up blood.

Causes of Blood Clot in the Lungs in Dogs

  • Inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Recent surgery.
  • Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (destruction of red blood cells).
  • Cushing’s disease.
  • Protein-losing kidney disease, or intestinal tract disease.
  • Musculoskeletal injury.
  • Liver disease.
  • Cancer.
  • Bacterial infection of the blood.
  • Heartworm disease.
  • Heart disease.
  • Shared intravascular coagulopathy (DIC)– substantial thickening and clotting of the blood throughout the blood vessels.


Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination on your dog, consisting of a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis and an electrolyte panel. Most of the times, the bloodwork will be needed for identifying an underlying disease.

You will have to provide an extensive history of your dog’s health, consisting of a background history of symptoms, and possible events that might have precipitated this condition. The history you offer may offer your vet ideas to the embolism’s origin.

Arterial blood gases will be required to check for low oxygen in the blood. A coagulation profile will be done to detect a thickening disorder; these tests consist of the one-stage prothrombin time (OSPT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT). Heartworm serology will likewise be performed.

X-ray pictures of the dog’s chest will permit your doctor to visually analyze your dog for lung artery irregularities, enlargement of the heart, lung patterns, or fluid in the lungs. Your veterinarian might select the more sensitive echocardiogram (an ultrasound image of the heart) to see the motion and size of the heart and its surrounding structures more clearly, because considering that a thrombus in the right chamber of the heart, or in the primary lung artery, will in some cases appear on an echocardiogram.

Electrocardiogram (ECG) readings can indicate cor pulmonale, enlargement of the right ventricle of the heart due to increased high blood pressure in the lungs. Major heart rhythm abnormalities (arrhythmias) will be evident on an ECG.

There is likewise lung angiography, which uses an injection of a radiocontrasting representative into the dog’s lung arteries to improve visibility on the X-ray, and spiral computed tomography (CT), which is three-dimensional X-ray imaging for non-selective angiography.

Treatment for Pulmonary Thromboembolism in Dogs

Dogs with PTE must be hospitalized, primarily for oxygen therapy. If the dog is not getting enough oxygen to its heart, lungs, or brain, the veterinarian will advise rest in a caged environmentl this is usually due to hypoxemia or syncope. However, the underlying cause of the condition will be dealt with as soon as your vet has settled on a conclusive medical diagnosis.

Living and Management

Sadly, this disease is normally fatal. Unless the underlying cause of disease is found and corrected, pets will typically suffer a reoccurrence of PTE.

Your veterinarian will schedule weekly examinations with the your dog to monitor its blood clotting times, since anticoagulant medications can cause bleeding conditions on the opposite side of the scale. The new low-molecular-weight heparin anticoagulant medications are much safer for use, but they are likewise more pricey.

Close supervision of your animal, and contact with your veterinarian will usually be sufficient, specifically because your dog may have to be on anticoagulant medication for several months.

Doctor authorized physical activity, or other physical therapy, may improve blood circulation. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend you on the appropriate activity for your private family pet’s requirements. The objective is to avoid future PTE in stable dogs with severe disease.

Reyus Mammadli/ author of the article

I have had pets since childhood: cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, geese, chickens, ducks, parrots, aquarium fish and dogs (in the yard). Of course, I constantly encountered diseases of pets and treated them. Glad to be able to share my skills and experience, as well as advice on caring for and adapting these critters and birds.

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