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Heavy Bleeding in Cats & Dogs

Heavy Bleeding in Cats & Dogs

If your cat or dog is experiencing excessive bleeding then you need to contact your emergency vet right away while monitoring the condition of your pet. Here, our emergency vets in Roswell explain the difference between internal and external heavy bleeding in cats and dogs as well as how to control the situation until you arrive at the emergency vet clinic.

External or internal bleeding can occur in a cat or dog. External bleeding is visible and usually results from a skin wound. Internal bleeding, on the other hand, is difficult to detect and necessitates the services of a skilled emergency veterinarian.

It is important to know how to control excessive bleeding in your cat or dog no matter the type of bleeding that is occurring until you can reach your emergency vet.

What Will Happen To My Dog Or Cat If They Experience Excessive Blood Loss?

If your dog or cat loses a large amount of blood over a short period they will enter a state of shock. Blood loss of as little as two teaspoons per pound of body weight is enough to cause shock.

The shock causes an increased heart rate and low blood pressure in a dog or cat. They may have pale, white gums and rapid breathing. If untreated, organ systems shut down, causing permanent damage or even death to the dog or cat.

What Can I Do If My Pet Has External Bleeding?

When a dog or cat is losing blood, my main goal is to stop the flow of blood. While you can't stop internal bleeding on your own, you can control external bleeding from a wound or cut until you get to the emergency vet clinic.

Direct Pressure

To help control external bleeding, apply a clean cloth or gauze compress directly to your dog or cat's wound. Allow it to clot by applying firm but gentle pressure. If blood soaks through the compress, replace it with a new one and continue to apply firm but gentle pressure. If no compress materials are available, a bare hand or finger will suffice.


If there is no evidence of a broken bone and a severely bleeding wound on the foot or leg, gently elevate the leg so that the wound is above the level of the heart, in addition to applying direct pressure. Elevation aids in lowering blood pressure in the injured area and slowing the bleeding.

Apply pressure on the Supplying Artery

If external bleeding persists after applying direct pressure and elevation, use a finger to apply pressure to the wound's main artery. Apply pressure to the femoral artery, which is located on the inside of the thigh, for example, if there is severe bleeding on the back leg. Apply pressure to the brachial artery, which is located on the inside of the upper front leg, if there is severe bleeding in one of the legs.

What If My Cat Or Dog Has Internal Bleeding?

Internal bleeding occurs inside the body and is less obvious than external bleeding from a wound. If you notice any of the following signs of internal bleeding in your dog or cat please contact your emergency vet at Roswell.

  • Gums appear pale to white
  • Legs, ears, or tail are cool to the touch
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Sudden weakness or collapsing
  • The belly is swollen and painful to touch

If you are concerned that your pet may have excessive bleeding either internally or externally, contact our Roswell Emergency Vets and bring your cat or dog over right away.

Experienced Emergency Vet Care

Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton is an after-hours and critical care hospital, providing veterinary emergency care since 1991. If your pet is experiencing an emergency, contact us to get the help your pet needs.

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