Published: 04 March 2021

Internal bleeding is a form of potentially life-threatening blood loss, where blood pools in the abdominal or chest cavity, but does not result in visible blood in the stool or bleeding from the rectum.

A few causes of internal bleeding include:

  • rat bait poisoning
  • ruptured masses on the spleen
  • trauma
  • sometimes in the case of immune-mediated disease.

Internal bleeding can often be more dangerous because it occurs inside the body and, being less obvious, delays evaluation by your veterinarian.

There are, however, some external signs of internal bleeding, which can include any of the following:

  • Your pet’s gums appear pale to white.
  • Your pet feels cool on the legs, ears or tail.
  • Your pet is coughing up blood or having difficulty breathing.
  • Your pet is unusually subdued; progressive weakness and sudden collapse may be observed.
  • Your pet has a painful belly when it is touched.

If your pet is bleeding externally, or you suspect any internal bleeding, immediately transport your pet to your veterinarian.

We cover blood loss (both internal, as above, and external) on our First Aid for Dogs course. Now available as a self-paced online course, as a Zoom course or - when Government restrictions allow - face-to-face courses, either in Brighton or Angmering or as an in-house course. Check out all the options here and start learning life saving skills!


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