Bruising in Dogs

Bruising in Dogs: Ecchymosis

While injury (e.g., being hit by a car) can typically cause bruising in dogs, simply playing or rough housing should not normally result in bruising. That’s because dogs have a thicker skin (skin) and coat that safeguards them from bruising more than it does for human beings. As an outcome, when we see dog bruising, we worry about an underlying platelet problem or clotting issue.

Where Bruisings Appear?

Bruising in dogs is never normal, and signs of determine contusions (called petechiae) or larger bruises (ecchymosis) require an immediate journey to your veterinarian. Obviously, your veterinarian will dismiss more benign causes (such as hives or an allergic reaction that can look similar to a contusion).

Can bruising appear on dog’s belly? Bruising is most convenient to see on the gums of your dog, inside thigh, or on the belly (where there is less fur).


If you observe any signs of bruising, you and your vet will also have to make sure and rule out other medical signs of a bleeding issue:

  • Blood in the back of the eye, providing a red hue to the globe
  • Bleeding from the nose
  • Small pin-point bruising of the skin (called petechiae)
  • Larger bruises (called ecchymosis)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Irregular bleeding from any orifice

Generally, the body’s ability to clot is complex and includes numerous stages and essential components such as tissue aspect, platelets, clotting elements, fibrin, and parts that break down fibrin. In certain diseases, the body loses the capability to clot usually and uncontrollable, deadly bleeding (i.e., hypocoagulability) or irregular clotting (e.g., hypercoagulability) might be seen.


If your dog does have bruising, your veterinarian will ask important concerns to eliminate the following:

  • Any possible toxicity or poisoning that could have triggered this (NSAIDs, aspirin, mouse or rat toxin, and so on)
  • Any direct exposure to ticks
  • Any trauma
  • Any previous blood transfusions
  • Any previous surgeries or bleeding propensities
  • Any history of bleeding in the parents or other pedigree

Addressing these concerns thoroughly and truthfully is necessary, as it will assist identify if the bruising is from a congenital source (i.e., something your dog was born with or acquired) versus something that established suddenly as an adult due to disease (acquired).

Congenital causes for bruising in dogs

  • Hemophilia (an element shortage)
  • Von Willebrand’s disease (vWD)

Particular inherited clotting problems are seen more commonly in males (due to a sex-linked characteristic). Due to an acquired part, von Willebrand’s disease is seen more frequently in specific breeds, especially Doberman Pinschers, Scottish Terriers, Shetland Sheepdogs, German shepherds, and German Shorthaired Pointers.

Acquired causes for bruising in dogs

  • Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (i.e., when your dog’s own immune system destroys its own platelets wrongly)
  • Shared intravascular coagulation (DIC)
  • Transmittable causes (typically due to ticks which hand down organisms like Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever [RMSF] or Anaplasma that affect platelets)
  • Metabolic problems (e.g., liver failure or even cancer)

If your dog has bruising, your vet will also wish to run some diagnostic tests that typically include:

  • A CBC which takes a look at the red cell count, white blood cell count, and platelet count
  • A manual platelet count, which properly examines the platelet count
  • Blood flim analysis
  • A biochemistry panel to examine kidney and liver function, protein, and electrolytes
  • A prothrombin (PT) and partial thromboplastin time (PTT) to assess clotting of the body
  • An activated clotting time (ACT), which is not quite as precise but quicker available
  • An IDEXX 4DX SNAP test to dismiss tick-born infections
  • A buccal mucosal bleeding time (BMBT), which assess if adequate von Willebrand factor and platelets are offered
  • A von Willebrand element (vWF) blood level, which is important if you have a high-risk breed about to go through optional surgery (like a spay or neuter)
  • Chest and abdominal x-rays — or perhaps ultrasound — to try to find other sources of bleeding into the lungs, chest cavity, or abdomen

ACT and BMBT tests are both significantly affected by low platelets in the body; if your dog is already detected with a low platelet count, your veterinarian may not advise doing these two tests, as it will be lengthened simply from a low platelet count.

How Is Bruising on Dogs Treated?

As soon as your vet is able to determine the reason for bruising, further treatment wil also be figured out. Treatment may include intravenous (IV) fluids, blood transfusions, plasma transfusions (for von Willebrand’s disease or mouse/rat toxin, steroids (for immune-mediated hemolytic anemia), Vitamin K1 therapy (for mouse and rat poison or liver failure), or symptomatic helpful care.

So, when it concerns bruising, don’t blow it off. The sooner you see the bruising, the quicker your vet can recognize the underlying cause and concentrate on treatment. As dogs have fur, it’s typically hard to observe any little contusions, however when you’re considering that belly rub, check for contusions (and ticks or bumps!)

Also read: Melanomas in Dogs

D. Roberts (Junior Expert)
Pet Health
Add a comment

  1. Mark

    When my dog got under the bike, she had bruises. There were no fractures, because the bike was driving slowly. And shadows themselves disappeared within a week.