Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Bleeding from Nostrils or Nose

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

  • If this problem seems severe and has come on suddenly.
  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) in the resting horse indicate fever (Temp >101F/38.3C) or heart rate greater than 48 BPM.

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

  • If this seems mild or occasional and the horse seems normal otherwise.
  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.

Bleeding from the nostril or nostrils can be a sign of many conditions, originating anywhere from the external nostril to deep in the lungs. The most common cause of nasal bleeding is ethmoid hematoma, a slow-growing mass in the nasal passage or sinus. Less common but more severe problems include hemorrhage from the guttural pouch or a fracture into the guttural pouch or sinus.

In very dry conditions, minor bleeding from the nasal passages can occur. Usually, blood comes from the nasal passages and not the external nostril. Horses can also traumatize the thin mucous membranes of the inside of the nostril, but this is relatively rare.

Racehorses that are bleeding after a race are bleeding from the lungs (Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage), unless proven otherwise.

Horses with clotting disorders can bleed from the nostrils, but usually show other symptoms of disease.

WHAT TO DO

Assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to whether blood is coming from one or both nostrils. Consider attitude and appetite, and whether there is any other evidence of head trauma. Share your findings and concerns with your vet.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet uses physical examination, endoscopy and, in some cases, radiography to help determine the source of the bleeding.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

CONTACT US

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending