Dog Bleeding After Spay - Causes
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The sterilization of a dog is an issue that worries many caregivers. You might already know about the advantages of this surgical procedure. While minimal, canine sterilization also has associated risks. We shouldn't ignore symptoms of the possible negative effects of spaying, castration or other forms of sterilization. Some symptoms are more noticeable than others. If your dog is bleeding after spay, a major concern is internal bleeding. However, there are several reasons your dog may be bleeding from their spay incision.
Although bleeding after dog sterilization is relatively rare, a dog that has recently been spayed/castrated can experience bloody discharge or bruising. For this reason, at AnimalWised we will be discussing why your dog is bleeding after being spayed or neutered.
What does neutering a dog mean?
Before explaining whether it is normal for a dog to bleed after being spayed, we recommend understanding what exactly dog spaying means. In order to do this, we need to understand the difference between sterilization of male dog and female dogs.
Although there are several techniques for sterilizing a dog, we will refer to the two most common types:
- Male dog sterilization: castration of a male dog is a simpler intervention than that of a bitch. This is because a male dog’s genitals are found outside the body. A veterinarian will make an incision at the base of the penis, through which they extract the testicles. This incision is usually closed again with a couple of visible or non-visible stitches, which are later removed.
- Female dog sterilization: spaying a female dog is done through an incision in the abdomen. A veterinarian will extract the ovaries and uterus, normally arranged in the form of a Y shape. The different layers are sutured both internally externally. The incision can also be closed with staples.
In the cases of both castration and spaying the wound needs to be protected. After-care of spaying and castration both require keeping the wound covered, making sure that the dog does not lick, scratch or bite the wound. To avoid this, your veterinarian can give provide your dog with an E-collar. For more, take a look at our article on how to stop a dog scratching a wound.
In addition, it is important to keep your dog’s wound clean while it heals. A professional will be able to administer the appropriate cleaning medication and disinfectant.
Complications after spaying surgery
If your dog has been ‘fixed’, but is bleeding after the procedure it is understandable you will be worried. However, there are different complications which can affect a dog after surgical sterilization. This is why it is important to monitor the animal closely after the procedure. However, there are certain behaviors and symptoms which might be relatively normal after sterilization.
- Dog crying after anaesthesia: when the dog eventually comes round from the anaesthesia, it is common for some to cry or whimper a little. They are likely disorientated by the anaesthesia and the stitches will cause further discomfort. Another issue is that they may be hungry, although we shouldn't feed them too much too soon.
- Dog heavy panting after surgery: another sign of discomfort is that the dog is panting heavily after being spayed or neutered. This is also due to the often traumatic experience of the surgery and why veterinarians will usually prescribe pain medication to manage these symptoms.
- Dog disorientated after surgery: since the dog has been given certain drugs, when they regain consciousness it is understandable they will be a little confused.
- Dog drooling after anaesthesia: drooling after being given anaesthetic is a natural reaction to loss of muscles control.
The above aide effects of sterilization surgery are considered normal up to several hours after the surgery. However, if they continue into the next day, you should call the veterinary clinic to discuss the symptoms as they may be a sign of complications.
Dog bleeding after being spayed - is it normal?
When removing a dog’s uterus and ovaries, an incision is always made. It is normal that at times this incision will result in light bleeding during intervention and or dog bleeding after surgery. This bleeding is normally controlled by the veterinarian performing the surgery.
During surgery, the dog may be given certain anaesthetic drugs such as propofol. This drug lowers the dog's blood pressure, which will raise again once they gain consciousness. The increased blood pressure can cause some seepage from the wound, but it should not be excessive.
During a dog’s postoperative period, due to the incision and invasive techniques used, it is normal that the surrounding area will be have a red or purple hue. This is otherwise known as a hematoma; blood that remains under the skin, causing a bruise like effect. If the bruising is seen all over the abdomen, this is not considered normal and may signal internal bleeding.
At times, this wound can also appear inflamed. In this case, female dog bleeding a little after spaying is normal. This is often largely due to a fallen stitch, that hasn’t yet closed the wound. In this case, the bleeding will be minimal, remitting in seconds.
Bleeding after spaying a dog - should I be worried?
While minimal bleeding after a dog’s surgery is normal, excessive bleeding is a cause for concern. If your dog is bleeding after being spayed, the amount of blood present needs to be assessed along with other symptoms. Immediate intervention is required in the following two circumstances:
- When bleeding comes from a specific external point, such as stitches or staples, it might be because they have been detached. In this case, treatment will involve the veterinarian re-suturing the entire incision. If there is excessive bleeding with an evident open wound, it needs to be attended to by a professional immediately. If not, organ prolapse from the incision is possible. An open wound also heightens the risk of infection.
- Bleeding can also be internal. If your female dog is bleeding a lot after being spayed, other symptoms may be noticed. These signs include pale mucous membranes, apathy or a drop in body temperature. Such symptoms also require immediate veterinary attention, as they can result in shock.
If the bruises caused by sterilization are not extensive, go away and are not painful for your animal, veterinary consultation is not required. However, if your dog feels pain and is experiencing excessive bleeding after being spayed, we recommend visiting your veterinarian as soon as possible. When the abdomen is bruised and inflamed all over, this is particularly worrying.
If your dog is bleeding abnormally after neutering or spaying, be sure to consult a specialist.
Dog bleeding after spay treatment
If you see an excessive amount of bloody discharge after a female dog is spayed, then we need to see a veterinarian. They will be able to asses the dog's health and perform an examination of the incision site. Only then will you be able to treat the cause of bleeding after spaying.
Under no circumstances should you try to treat the the dog yourself. If surgery is required, it will need to be carried out in a sterile environment by a professional. They will have the right instruments, medications and expertise to best ensure the dog's safety.
While it is normal for our dog to be in a certain amount of pain, we should not give any pain medication unless specified by the veterinary specialist. Giving a dog human medications is not safe and increasing dosage may cause serious side effects.
If your veterinarian has decided further treatment is necessary, they may need to go back into surgery. This could be to re-suture the incision, suture the cause of internal bleeding or treat any other internal complications. If there is an infection antibiotics will be used either solely or in conjunction with surgery. Treatment of the bleeding will depend on its specific cause.
Other complications may not be related to the sterilization itself. If you see bumps on your dog's vulva, it is possibly a skin condition which can lead to bleeding. Our article on reasons your dog has bumps on her private area might help determine the cause, although you will need to see a veterinarian for diagnosis.
Dog bleeding from vulva after spay: ovarian remnant syndrome
Another case of post-operative bleeding in dogs, occurs when a dog manifests bleeds after being spayed, as if experiencing heat. Is your female spayed dog bleeding from vulva? It is not normal for a female dog to bleed after being spayed. A female dog that has been spayed should no longer experience their heat cycle.
Is your female dog bleeding after spaying? If so, be sure to contact your veterinarian. There is a chance that your dog is suffering from ovarian remnant syndrome. This condition means that not all of her ovarian tissue was removed during her canine oophorectomy surgery. This left-over tissue could be releasing a small amount of hormones, thereby tricking your bitch’s body into thinking it is in heat. Another possibility is that if your dog was spayed while in heat or just before she was about to go into heat. In these cases, she might bleed from her vulva.
Any other female dog bleeding from vulva symptoms can be an indication of pathology. A dog bleeding from her vagina may indicate problems such as urinary infections. The blood you may be seeing could be coming from her urinary tract rather than her spay incision. In addition, spayed dogs are more prone to suffering from UTIs, specifically just after being spayed.
However, if you believe your dog is suffering from a urinary tract infection, we recommend consulting your veterinarian. Untreated urinary infections in dogs may lead to other more severe health problems, such as kidney infections in dogs. For more, you can read our article on reasons why your dog is bleeding from her vagina.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to Dog Bleeding After Spay - Causes, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.
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3. Wenzlow, N., et al. (2009). Haemangiosarcoma in the uterine remnant of a spayed female dog. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 50(9), 488-491.