Urs Giger, PD Dr. med. vet. Dipl. ACVIM & ECVIM-CA, Dipl. ECVCP

Transfusion Center and Penn Animal Blood Bank, Section of Medical Genetics

School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104


In the emergency room and intensive care unit hemorrhage is a very common clinical problem in dogs. Depending on the (internal or external) site, acuteness, and degree of bleeding, dogs may have overt signs of hemorrhage, show specific organ failure (e.g. thoracic hemorrhage, hemoabdomen), and/or signs related to the systemic effects of hypovolemia, anemia and/or hypoproteinemia. Differentiating between normal and abnormal hemostasis by clinical and laboratory assessment is crucial; dogs with a bleeding tendency often exhibit recurrent and/or multiple sites of hemorrhage. Similarly, differentiating between primary (thrombocytopenia, -pathias, von Willebrand’s disease, vasculopathies) and secondary (hereditary and acquired coagulopathies) hemostatic defects is important to choose the correct therapy. Clinical features and practical laboratory tests to assess bleeding patients is the topic of another presentation by the same author (Identifying Coagulopathies in the ER). It should be noted that many of those tests can be used in an emergency setting and are also used to monitor the response to treatment and course of the underlying disease.