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This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

Bitches often develop a bloody discharge from the vulva. There are several causes - some of which can be serious.

The appearance of a bloody discharge from the vulva usually means problems ! 

  • The most common cause is that the bitch is "on heat". Unless an owner is planning to have a litter of pups by the bitch she needs to be kept away from dogs -particularly during the most susceptible period 10-12 days after blood is first seen -or there is a risk of accidental mating and unwanted pregnancy. 
  • A slight blood-stained discharge is normal for 7-10 days following the birth of a litter, but occasionally this discharge can continue for longer due to a failure of the uterus to heal normally. If a large amount of blood is being lost the bitch can become anaemic and hysterectomy may be needed.
  • A persistent bloody discharge in older bitches can be due to a condition called "pyometra" . At first owners may think that the bitch is in season, but the timing of the discharge may not coincide with when her next season is expected. Also, the discharge persists for much longer than a "normal" oestrus period. As well as a bloody discharge pyometra results in toxins being absorbed into the bloodstream from the uterus. This is a very serious situation and requires urgent veterinary attention.
  • Dribbling blood-stained urine from the vulva can be a sign of urinary tract disease including haemorrhage into urine due to :
    • Infection - of the bladder (cystitis), of the kidney (pyelonepritis), or of the urethra (urethritis)
    • Damage caused by the presence of stones in the urinary tract (called uroliths)
    • Haemorrhage due to a tumour in the urinary tract
  • Very occasionally bleeding form the vulva can be due to local infection in the reproductive tract (eg vaginitis) or due to damage caused by a foreign object in the reproductive tract - eg grass awns picked up in hair adjacent to the vulva can migrate into the tract.


Updated October 2013