Bleeding Gums in Dogs

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Key takeaways

Gingival bleeding, also known as bleeding gums, is a common symptom in dogs. Several underlying conditions can lead to gingival bleeding, including periodontal disease, oral tumors, foreign bodies, injuries, or systemic disease such as kidney failure.

  • Associated symptoms include bloody saliva, bad breath, swollen or red gums, decreased appetite, and difficulty chewing
  • Diagnostics to identify the underlying cause for bleeding gums include a physical examination, biopsy of the gums, diagnostic imaging, bloodwork, and urinalysis
  • Treatment depends on the underlying cause and can include dental cleaning, tooth extraction, dietary changes, medications, supportive care, or surgery
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A closer look: Bleeding Gums in Dogs


Bleeding gums is a common symptom in dogs, as there are several underlying conditions that can cause oral bleeding.

While a veterinary examination is warranted when bleeding of the gums is recognized, it is not typically a symptom that indicates emergency medical attention on its own.

Urgent medical attention is needed if bleeding of the gums is excessive or extremely prolonged. Emergency care is required if other symptoms, such as extreme lethargy or difficulty breathing are present.

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Possible causes


In dogs, bleeding gums most commonly indicate underlying dental or oral inflammation or disease.

Risk factors


Depending on the severity of the underlying disease, the amount of bleeding from the gums may vary. Gingival bleeding may be recognized only once, such as after a traumatic injury, or can present intermittently if the underlying condition is chronic, such as a tumor. More severe underlying causes may experience more frequent gingival bleeding.

In addition, dogs that have underlying bleeding conditions may experience excessive or prolonged bleeding of the gums. Bleeding that does not resolve or results in excessive blood loss is a severe condition requiring emergency treatment.

Testing and diagnosis


Diagnostics may include:

  • Physical examination
  • Oral examination under sedation
  • Biopsy of the gums
  • Diagnostic imaging, such as X-rays, ultrasound, CT or - MRI
  • Bloodwork
  • Urinalysis

The required treatment depends on the underlying cause, but may include:

  • Dental cleaning, which may include extraction of teeth
  • Dietary modification
  • Medications, including anti-inflammatories or antibiotics
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Supportive care, including oxygen therapy or fluids
  • Surgical intervention

Similar symptoms


Gums that are red or inflamed, particularly at the margins of the gums, may be mistaken for bleeding gums.

If other areas of the mouth are bleeding, blood can collect at the margins of the gums and give the appearance that the gums are bleeding.

In certain bleeding or clotting disorders, red spots or blotches may appear on the gums, and can be mistaken for bleeding gums.

Associated symptoms


References


Grace Park - Writing for Wag!
Courtney Barnes, BSc, DVM; Lorraine Hiscox DVM FAVD Dip. AVDC; Jan Bellows, DVM, Dipl. AVDC, ABVP - Writing for VCA Animal Hospitals
W. Jean Dodds, DVM - Writing for Veterinary Partner
Jan Bellows, DVM, DAVDC - Writing for Veterinary Partner
Jan Bellows, DVM, DAVDC - Writing for Veterinary Partner
Becky Lundgren, DVM - Writing for Veterinary Partner
PetMD Editorial - Writing for PetMD
Lorraine Hiscox DVM FAVD Dip. AVDC; Jan Bellows, DVM, Dipl. AVDC, ABVP - Writing for VCA Animal Hospitals
Dr. Maurice E. White - Writing for Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Maurice E. White - Writing for Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Maurice E. White - Writing for Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Maurice E. White - Writing for Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Maurice E. White - Writing for Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

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