This article was updated on April 18th, 2023
In our veterinary hospital, vomiting is one of the most commonly seen medical issues in dogs. Owners are understandably upset that their dog is vomiting as vomiting is both unpleasant and also potentially a sign of a serious medical issue. In some cases, dogs vomit blood and mucus which can be even more upsetting for owners.
As a veterinarian, I have often seen dogs that are vomiting blood and mucus: common causes have included toxins, infections, gastric dilation volvulus (GDV), foreign body obstructions, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE), parasites, and others. Because the causes are wide-ranging, having your dog seen by their veterinarian as soon as possible is important. In this article, we will review pictures of what dog vomit with blood and mucus looks like, explain the most common reasons & what to do.
What Does Dog Vomit with Blood and Mucus Blood Look Like?
Blood with mucus in a dog’s vomit can take many shapes and forms. Let’s look at two examples. Below is a picture showing a dog’s vomit with mucus and a little blood:
Below is a picture showing dog’s vomit with clear liquid and blood:
Should I Be Worried About My Dog?
Vomiting blood mixed with mucus makes the likelihood of a serious issue more likely. However, there are also often simple explanations such as a viral or bacterial infection or eating something foreign. These dogs will not vomit more than a few times and should not appear overtly ill. However, vomiting may often be the first sign letting you know that something is seriously amiss.
If your dog is vomiting and you see mucus and blood in the vomit, the issue may also be simply a broken blood vessel in the esophagus, but could also be a sign of a very serious issue. Let’s review the most common causes.
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What are the Most Likely Causes of Dogs Vomiting Mucus and Blood?
1. Broken blood vessels
Forceful or prolonged vomiting may result in the rupture of vessels in the esophagus or throat. This will appear as typically red blood or blood clots in the vomit.
– Vomiting (once or multiple times).
– The dog may also exhibit mild lethargy and stomach pain.
Treatment: There is no specific treatment for broken blood vessels. However, the underlying cause must be determined and treated.
2. Intestinal parasites
Parasites that feed on blood from within the gastrointestinal tract may also result in bloody vomit. The vomit may be red-tinged or have clots in it.
– Weight loss,
– Bloated appearance to the abdomen, and
– Poor hair coat.
Treatment: A fecal test for parasites must be run and any parasites found should be treated accordingly.
3. Foreign Body Obstruction
If your dog eats a foreign object, for example, a toy, ball, sock, corn cob, or another object, it may become lodged in their stomach. The irritation and inflammation may result in red blood and mucus being vomited.
– abdominal tension and pain, and
– reluctance to eat.
Treatment: Some cases of intestinal or gastric foreign body obstruction may resolve with aggressive IV fluid therapy. Many others require surgery to remove the object.
4. Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
This complex disease may sometimes result in bloody vomit. The vomit tends to have large black blood clots resembling raspberry jam. Typically the dog also has bloody diarrhea.
Disclaimer: This content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your vet for health decisions. Learn more.
– Reluctance to eat, and
– Raspberry jam appearing diarrhea.
Treatment: HGE will be treated with iv fluid therapy, antibiotics, pain medications, and anti-emetics.
Many toxins, including rat poison, will decrease your dog’s ability to clot and may lead to bloody vomit with frank red blood and mucus.
Clinical signs may include:
– Weakness / lethargy
– Bleeding from the mouth, eyes, nose, or anus.
However, it is important to note that early in the course of the illness, when the dog’s life can still be saved, there may be minimal to no signs.
Treatment: The treatment for toxicity will be tailored specifically to the toxin ingested.
7. Gastric Dilation Volvulus
Due to the extreme retching usually seen with a GDV, these dogs may vomit up a frothy foam or mucus with blood. This is a life-threatening emergency, and these dogs must be taken to a veterinarian immediately.
– Retching, and
– Restlessness and
– Bloated abdomens.
Treatment: GDV must be treated immediately. The dog’s stomach may be decompressed with a stomach tube or via a trocar. Surgery is required to repair the stomach.
Unfortunately, cancer is very prevalent in our canine companions. A cancerous mass in the stomach or gastrointestinal tract can lead to mucus and blood showing in the dog’s vomit The location of the tumor and how long the blood has been in the Gi tract will dictate the vomit’s apperance.
– Weight loss, and
– Loose stool.
Some cancers exhibit few to no signs early in the disease process.
Treatment: If your dog is diagnosed with a gastrointestinal tract cancer, there may be treatment options including surgery, chemotherapy, immunomodulation, and radiation.
Can Vomit with Mucus and Blood in a Dog Be Treated at Home?
Occasionally a dog that is vomiting blood and mucus will not need veterinary intervention if the vomiting is short lived and the dog is otherwise healthy (not showing other obvious signs such as lethargy or lack of appetite).
However, any dog that vomits repeatedly or feels poorly should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Even a small amount of blood may be an early warning sign that needs to be acted upon quickly to avoid massive bleeding later. Any time you see blood in your dog’s vomit and you are concerned, you should promptly seek veterinary care for them.
Recovery for Dogs Vomiting Mucus and Blood
For most dogs that are vomiting mucus and blood, the prognosis is generally good. Many dogs may require veterinary care to make a full recovery. Of course, the prognosis varies widely depending on the underlying cause. Vomiting caused by a dietary indiscretion with no foreign body obstruction, resulting in a broken vessel, has a great prognosis. However, foreign body obstructions, parvovirus, cancer, and GDV may all be fatal. These conditions will require surgery or aggressive treatment in most cases.
What Are the Signs That My Dog’s Situation is an Emergency?
Repeated instances of vomiting with mucus and blood is always a cause for concern, and you should consult your veterinarian. Some signs signal an absolute emergency, and these dogs should be taken immediately to their veterinarian or the nearest emergency hospital. These signs include:
- Large amounts of blood – Severe blood loss can be fatal if left untreated and may require a blood transfusion.
- Young dogs and small dogs – These pups have less blood overall and tend to be more fragile. Parvovirus is also common in puppies and needs emergency care.
- Lethargic or non-responsive dog – If your dog is unwilling or unable to get up, they should be taken to an emergency veterinarian immediately.
- Severe retching or intractable vomiting– If your dog is repeatedly retching or vomiting multiple times in an hour, they should be quickly taken to the nearest veterinary hospital.
Treatment and Costs
Depending on the cause, your dog may need veterinary treatment or even hospitalization. These treatments may include intravenous fluids and injectable medications. Appropriate treatment cannot begin until a diagnosis is reached. This will include x-rays, blood work, and other testing. The cost of this workup and treatment at your veterinarian can be $500 to $1500+, depending on the severity of your dog’s condition.
What Will Happen at The Veterinarian?
When you take your dog that vomiting mucus and blood to the veterinarian, they will quickly determine the severity of the issue and begin stabilizing your dog if necessary. This may consist of IV fluids and pain medications. Diagnostics will be needed to determine the cause of the bloody speckled vomit. These will include:
– Basic blood work (CBC, Chemistry, UA)
– Parasite testing
– Blood clotting tests
– Abdominal ultrasound
Once your veterinarian has determined what is causing the bloody vomiting in your dog, they will put together a treatment plan. This may consist of IV fluids, medications, blood transfusions, and surgery.
How to Best Prepare for Your Visit to the Vet
The first step that your veterinarian will take upon your dog’s arrival is to obtain a thorough and detailed history. Your dog cannot talk, and therefore your veterinarian will rely on you for this information. I recommend writing down timelines with details of your dog’s illness as well as taking pictures of any vomit.
One question that you will need to be able to answer is if the dog has ingested any toxins or foreign objects. If a toxin is suspected, please either bring the packaging with you or take a picture of the ingredients. Attempt to determine how much was possibly ingested.
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