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Heavy Bleeding in Cats & Dogs

Major bleeds in dogs and cats need to be dealt with by a veterinarian. In emergencies, you may need to provide first aid until you can get to a vet for proper treatment. In this article, our Hattiesburg and Wiggins veterinarians explain when to visit a vet and how to help your dog or cat. 

Blood Loss in Pets

Blood loss can cause pets to go into shock. Even a small amount of blood loss can trigger cats or dogs to go into shock.

If a pet losing blood can receive treatment, then it can prevent future complications to their health. Without adequate blood supply and oxygenation, vital organ systems begin to malfunction and can shut down. This can result in organ damage or death.

How to Stop Bleeding on a Dog or Cat

You should get to an emergency vet right away if your pet is experiencing internal injuries. If you can't make it to a vet, you should be able to provide them basic first aid. Below, our vets explain some basic first aid to learn as a pet owner. 

The number one goal of first aid is to control blood loss and prevent further damage. While you can’t do much to stop internal bleeding on your own, you can control external bleeding from a wound or cut until you reach your veterinarian.

Direct Pressure

To effectively manage external bleeding in your dog or cat, start by placing a clean cloth or sterile gauze directly onto the wound. Apply consistent yet gentle pressure to the affected area to facilitate clotting. If the initial compress becomes saturated and blood seeps through, replace it with a new, clean compress while maintaining the pressure.

In situations where conventional compress materials are not readily accessible, using a bare hand or finger can also be employed as an alternative method to apply the necessary pressure to the wound. The key is to ensure that the bleeding is adequately controlled to prevent further blood loss and promote the healing process.


While also using direct pressure, gently elevate the affected leg. Elevation plays a crucial role in slowing down the bleeding process and reducing the volume of blood loss from the wound. By elevating the leg so that the wound is positioned above the level of the heart, you can help mitigate the blood pressure in the injured area.

This combined approach of direct pressure and leg elevation can help manage and control severe bleeding in pets. 

What to do if My Cat is Bleeding Internally

Internal bleeding is more challenging compared to external bleeding because it is invisible to the naked eye. Unlike external bleeding, internal bleeding involves blood from damaged blood vessels, tissues, and organs.

Detecting internal bleeding in dogs requires keen observation of subtle signs and symptoms, as there are no visible wounds or blood stains to indicate the presence of bleeding. Some common indicators of internal bleeding in dogs include:

  • Cool legs, ears, or tail
  • Pale to white gums, gums appear pale to white
  • Coughing up blood or having difficulty breathing
  • Unusually subdued; progressive weakness and sudden collapse 
  • Painful belly when it is touched

If your pet is bleeding externally, or you suspect any internal bleeding, contact our Hattiesburg and Wiggins Veterinarians and get to our hospital right away.

New Patients Welcome

Holland Veterinary Hospitals in Hattiesburg and Wiggins are accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of all animals. Get in touch today to book an appointment with our experienced vets.

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