blood filled bump on a dog

Blood Filled Bump on a Dog: a Complete Walk-through

Your canine friend can’t tell what he’s feeling or from which type of health problem he has been suffering. However, he might show some potential signs to let you know about his medical health. A blood filled bump on a dog can appear at any time on any body part.

Usually, like humans, all pet animals have spots or lumps on their bodies. Some are harmless and some displease and disturb the entire physiology of the pet’s body.

Dogs face many health problems that disturb their overall wellbeing. A blood filled bump on a dog is one of the most common health problems faced by canines. These bumps can be tumors which can be quite severe and alarming for pet owners.

In this article, we’ll highlight the occurrence of black blood-filled bumps on dogs and other vascular tumors such as Hemangioma and Hemangiosarcoma in dogs. But before this, you need to understand what blood-filled bumps or blisters are.

What is Hematomas or a blood filled bump on a Dog?

You’re on the couch, cozied up and having quality time with your dog and suddenly you feel a raised bump on your dog’s body. Your mind starts racing with countless questions. Is this a fluid-filled sac or a blood-filled bump? Is this cancerous?

Without clinical tests or reports, your mind gets flooded with lots of scary doubts and queries.

dog hematoma

The bumps can be cancerous, but sometimes they are harmless and fade away on their own. Spots are of different types and have specific locations where they develop.

The common lumps in dogs include abscesses, fatty tumors, sebaceous cysts, and warts.  Also, bumps usually occur on the head, legs, ear, and near the abdominal area in dogs.

Lumps or bumps can be cystic or may have fluid. But when these are filled with black or red blood, they are called hematomas. When pups experience any injury, it may rupture their blood vessels causing minor internal bleeding.

The blood gets accumulated or collected in a pouch inside the body, becoming a blood-filled sac. These blood-filled sac or bumps are called hematomas which are also known as blood blisters.

The blood-filled bumps on dogs’ skin are the results or side effects of trauma, injuries, and post-surgery healing. Therefore, being a pet parent, you must educate yourself about the most common health problems and their consequences to fully understand your dog’s condition.

Having a blood-filled bump is one of the common illness indications shown by dogs. These blood-filled bumps can also be tumors around blood vessels and are called vascular tumors.

Types of Hematomas in Dogs

Different kinds of hematomas occur on body parts and are usually named according to their location on the body.

In dogs, the ear and scrotal areas are the most common ones.

blisters on dog's legs

Ear Hematoma

An ear hematoma can result from infections, parasitic infections, skin allergies, Cushing’s diseases, or low thyroid levels in the body.

The closed shape of ear flaps makes it easy for blood to accumulate in this region. Also, the ear canal area has more blood vessels, so when it’s injured, the vessels bleed profusely.

Moreover, when dogs feel itching on the ear side, they may shake their heads violently or scratch ears in discomfort, which ruptures the vessels. When your puppy’s ear is warm or soft to touch, he may have an aural hematoma.

Scrotal Hematoma

Scrotal hematomas occur in adult and older large breeds having a good amount of scrotal tissue. Besides that, hematomas can also develop in the lungs and spleen. However, these are rare cases.

Hematoma Treatment

Skin hematomas are more common and require quick checkups from a veterinarian who will assess how severe the skin hematoma is and determines if treatment is needed.

Pets usually scratch hematomas which can make these more complicated to treat. Scratching or rubbing the blood blister leads to severe bleeding. Blood coming out from the lump or bump causes irritation and pain.

Some minor blood bumps go away on their own, whereas larger ones need to be drained. First, a veterinarian will drain the blood out. He will then remove and clean the debris.

The infected area will usually require a few sutures to prevent it from filling until healed. Blood blisters develop on different body parts of the dog, such as blood blisters on the belly, legs and elbows.

bumps on dog's skin

Essential Oils for Dog Ear Hematomas

The vets can also recommend some essential oils for dog ear hematomas, such as oregano and tea tree oil. These oils have antifungal and antibacterial properties.

When using oregano oil, make sure you dilute it with sweet almond or coconut oil before applying.

Vascular Tumors in Dogs

On the other hand, dogs also experience firm and raised lumps on or under the skin due to the tumors developing  in the vessels. These tumors are called vascular tumors and are of two types: Hemangiosarcoma and Hemangioma. Let’s discuss both.

What is Hemangiosarcoma in dogs?

If you see a suspicious patch of skin or a blood filled bump on a dog, an examination at the vet is required. Not all lumps and bumps are cancerous. But when your canine buddy experiences Hemangiosarcoma, then you need to worry.

These visceral vascular tumors originate from the blood vessels found in the internal organs, such as the spleen, liver, and heart. However, other locations, such as the urinary bladder, are also possible.

The spleen is the most common region affected by hemangiosarcoma tumors. Wherever there are blood vessels, there are more risks of vascular tumors developing.

This type of tumor is malignant and can also spread to other areas. It’s more common in middle-aged to older dogs. Since this tumor arises from the lining of the blood vessels, the cancerous cells tend to invade the vessels themselves. Sooner or later, most of these tumors will rupture and bleed, leading to the death of the dog due to severe blood loss.

This kind of cancer is mainly seen in German Shepherds, Boxers, Golden Retrievers, and Flat-Coated Retrievers. Moreover, it can be visceral and dermal, meaning that it occurs either inside the body cavity or on the skin’s surface.

Unfortunately, an internal Hemangiosarcoma tumor gives a great deal of discomfort and is most certainly fatal.

What causes Hemangiosarcoma in dogs?

It is impossible to pinpoint the exact causes of this vascular tumor as cancer doesn’t have a single source. However, lifetime exposure to sunlight, carcinogens and hereditary or genetic predisposition could be the main reasons.

dog examined by vet

Symptoms of Hemangiosarcoma in dogs

If your canine friend shows the following signs, don’t wait further and take him to the hospital. Hemangiosarcoma symptoms in dogs include:

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Rapid or difficult breathing
  • Mental instability and depression
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nosebleeds
  • Pale mucous membranes (mouth and eyes)
  • Abdominal swelling; Pot Bellied appearance

Hemangiosarcoma treatment

Your vet will check if the lump appeared suddenly, whether its size, color, or shape has changed, whether your pup shows any abnormal behavior such as low energy level, discomfort, loss of appetite or any other abnormal behavior.

If your dog shows these potential signs, the vet may suggest to undergo a physical examination, complete blood count (CBC), urinalysis, echocardiogram, CT scans, chest and abdominal X-rays  and blood biochemistry panel to diagnose the disease.  Moreover, the tumor is often diagnosed with ultrasound depending on the location of the cancer.

If the vet finds a tumor in the spleen, he will recommend splenectomy, in which the entire spleen is removed surgically.  Furthermore, chemotherapy is strongly recommended to delay the spread of cancer, but it could be risky and costly.

Dogs with a tumor in the heart undergo a particular procedure called pericardectomy (removal of the heart’s lining) to allow the heart to pump blood normally.

Hemangioma in Dogs

Hemangiomas are the benign (non-cancerous) form of the disease and have a good prognosis. They can rupture and cause internal bleeding, but they don’t spread.

Hemangiomas in dogs can be considered large blood blisters. They have red, sometimes bluish, and bruised appearance. The size of the blood filled bump on a dog may vary. In addition, hemangiomas may ulcerate and bleed. In dogs, hemangiomas is usually observed in the belly and chest areas.

dog treated at the veterinarian

Blood filled bump on a dog: Symptoms and Causes

A blood filled bump on a dog arises from a mutation in the cells and the causes are still unknown. However, according to researchers, ultra-violet light might play a role when these tumors develop in the skin.

There are no apparent clinical signs. However, pets may have one or more red to dark purple blisters on the skin or internal bleeding, causing weakness and anorexia.

Also, dogs experience a lack of appetite, dizziness or lethargy, lameness, voice change, neurologic abnormalities, cough, hemorrhages, and bruises.

These types of tumors are common in English Bulldog, American Pitbull Terrier, Dalmatian, basset hound, Beagle, Boxer, English Pointer, Greyhound, Italian greyhound, Staffordshire terrier, and Whippet.

Hemangioma Treatment

Since the disease is not diagnosed until the last stages, the treatment options are somewhat limited. Biopsies and other types of surgery can be considered as well as the permanent removal of the tumor .