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Prevalence, clinical features, and causes of epistaxis in dogs: 176 cases (1996–2001)

Sally A. Bissett BVSc, MVSc, DACVIM1, Kenneth J. Drobatz DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC2, Alexia McKnight DVM, DACVR3, and Laurel A. Degernes DVM, MPH, DABVP4
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

Abstract

Objective—To determine prevalence, clinical features, and causes of epistaxis in dogs.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—176 dogs with epistaxis.

Procedures—Medical records were reviewed for information related to signalment, clinical features, diagnosis, and outcome.

Results—132 (75%) dogs were initially examined by the hospital's emergency service; prevalence of epistaxis was 0.3%. Dogs with epistaxis were more likely to be old (≥ 6 years), male, and large (≥ 26 kg [58.5 lb]) than were dogs in a reference population. In 109 (62%) dogs with epistaxis, an underlying cause was identified; 115 underlying disorders were identified, with 90 classified as local and 25 classified as systemic. Local causes of epistaxis included nasal neoplasia (n = 35), trauma (33), idiopathic rhinitis (20), and periapical abscess (2). Systemic causes included thrombocytopenia (12), thrombocytopathia (7), coagulopathy (3), hypertension (2), and vasculitis (1). Dogs with local causes were more likely to have unilateral than bilateral epistaxis, but 11 of 21 (52%) dogs with systemic disorders also had unilateral epistaxis. Dogs with systemic disorders were more likely to have clinical signs of systemic disease. Duration of epistaxis (acute vs chronic), severity, and duration of hospitalization were similar for dogs with local versus systemic disorders.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that epistaxis was a common disorder in dogs and frequently regarded as an emergency. Local causes of epistaxis were predominant, but clinical features traditionally thought to be helpful in distinguishing local versus systemic causes could not be reliably used for this purpose.

Contributor Notes

Presented as a research abstract at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum, Seattle, June 2007.

Address correspondence to Dr. Bissett.