You should never ignore a dog blood clot in urine. A blood clot, or thrombus, can form in any location in a dog’s body. A blood clot, in and of itself, is usually an indicator that your dog may have an underlying medical issue that needs attention. If you see blood, or clotted blood, in your dog’s urine, contact you vet immediately so they can diagnosis the underlying cause.
The prognosis for dogs with blood clots is dependent on where the source of the blood clot is coming from and how quickly treatment is administered.
What is Hematuria and What Are Blood Clots?
Blood clots form when platelets, which are tiny blood cells that help your dog’s body form clots to stop bleeding, and plasma proteins in the blood thicken and clump together. Unfortunately, blood clots can be dangerous when they occur, and many dogs succumb to the symptoms of the disorder rather quickly if left untreated.
Any type of blood in a dog’s urine is medically known as hematuria; the condition is exhibited in one of two ways:
- Microscopic hematuria – In this form, blood can only be seen in urine when a sample is examined under a microscope.
- Gross hematuria – With gross hematuria, the presence of blood in urine is easily detectable; you may notice it as discoloration or visible blood clots.
Both types of hematuria can have serious causes.
Blood clots, if left untreated for too long, can be fatal in dogs. Even with veterinary intervention, your dog may experience a recurrence of blood clots. Consistent at-home monitoring and regular vet visits are essential to maintaining the health of your dog.
What Should I Be Looking For?
Dog blood clots can often go unnoticed for some time. Unless you are paying attention to your dog every time he pees, blood clots can go unnoticed.
While hematuria usually isn’t painful for dog, passing blood clots in their urine will be. Because of this, one of the first signs of the condition may be discomfort. If it appears that your dog is in distress or makes any audible whining noises as he pees, it’s important that you begin to monitor his urination.
One of the easiest ways to determine if your dog has blood or blood clots in his urine is to have him urinate on a light-colored surface, such as snow, carpet, a pee pad, or even a piece of paper. You’ll be able to see if his urine is discolored (appearing to be amber, orange, red, or brown) or if there are any clots. A dog blood clot in urine will appear as a gel-like clump of blood.
Because blood clots in urine usually mean your dog is suffering from another medical problem, you may also notice that your dog is displaying additional symptoms as well. If blood clots are present in your dog’s urinary tract, he may also be experiencing dog vomiting, an inability to control his urination, not urinating at all, or your dog may show signs of pain around his prostate, abdomen, or bladder. Excessive grooming, frequent vocalizing, panting, aggression, loss of appetite, and changes in sleep, can all be indications that your dog is experiencing pain.
If you do see a dog blood clot in his urine, make sure to note its shape and color, if it was associated with any pain, and the time of urination it appeared (beginning, during, or end of stream), as these can be helpful to your vet when it’s time to form a diagnosis. Your vet may also ask that you collect a sample of your dog’s urine and bring it in for a thorough analysis.
What Causes a Dog Blood Clot in Urine?
Clots, in general, form when platelets and plasma proteins in the blood thicken and coagulate. In some cases, an underlying medical issue can also cause a dog to develop a blog clot. Blood may begin to clot for a variety of reasons, including:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Cushing’s disease
- Damaged blood vessels
- High cholesterol
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Kidney disease
- Long term use of steroids or corticosteroids
- Parasitic infection
- Poor blood circulation
- Surgical complications
- Trauma that causes inflammation
- Protein loss through the GI tract or kidneys
There are multiple diseases and medical issues associated with a dog’s urinary tract that can cause blood clots to appear in his urine. For example, urinary stones, such as canine bladder stones or kidney stones, are a common cause of blood clots in urine. Even tick-borne illness, which can interfere with the blood’s clotting ability, are a potential culprit.
Male dogs that are not neutered are at higher risk for prostate disease, which can then lead to inflammation in the urinary tract and cause bleeding.
Hypercoagulability, or the tendency to develop blood clots is usually inherited. There are also several types of congenital blood protein disorders that are present in dogs from birth; signs of these conditions typically appear at an early age. These blood disorders, which can cause clotting issues, have been reported in several dog breeds, including: