Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation) In Dogs

What Is DIC in Dogs?

Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a multifaceted condition where clotting in a dog’s blood becomes activated. This activation leads to the formation of blood clots that can obstruct blood vessels supplying vital organs like the liver and kidneys, resulting in reduced blood flow. Consequently, organ damage may ensue, potentially progressing to multiple organ failure and even death. As clotting factors are depleted, bruising and bleeding from the gums and nose may manifest.

DIC always arises as a consequence of an underlying condition and is notably challenging to diagnose. Typically, dogs with DIC will require hospitalization due to an underlying illness, prompting veterinarians to suspect the development of DIC.

Considered a medical emergency, DIC necessitates immediate treatment as it can swiftly become life-threatening. If DIC is suspected in your dog, it is imperative to seek veterinary care promptly, as delay could exacerbate the condition.


Symptoms of DIC in dogs can differ and might be affected by the underlying condition triggering the DIC. Typical indications encompass:

  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Bruising
  • Nosebleeds (epistaxis)
  • Bleeding from the gums
  • Presence of blood in the urine
  • Vomiting, potentially with blood
  • Diarrhea, potentially with blood
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
  • Decreased blood pressure


The causes of DIC in dogs are invariably linked to an underlying disease or condition. In essence, DIC is always a consequence of another condition. Common conditions that are known to trigger DIC comprise:

  • Any infection (sepsis)
  • Peritonitis
  • Shock
  • Pancreatitis
  • Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA)
  • Pneumonia
  • Cancer
  • Trauma
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Heart disease
  • Heartworm disease
  • Gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV)
  • Liver failure
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Snakebites


Diagnosing DIC in dogs can pose challenges as there is no definitive test available. Advanced blood tests aimed at evaluating clotting factors and clotting times may prove beneficial, although results can vary significantly depending on the stage of the disease.

During the clotting phase, test outcomes will differ from those observed when clotting factors become depleted. Serum chemistry tests will likely be conducted to assess organ function and screen for signs of organ failure. Additionally, complete blood counts will be monitored to detect any anemia resulting from bleeding.

Further diagnostic measures will probably be undertaken to pinpoint the underlying cause that precipitated DIC. These may involve chest X-rays, abdominal ultrasound, urinalysis, and other specialized testing procedures.


Treating DIC in dogs involves first identifying and addressing the underlying condition that triggered it. Following this, treatment for DIC typically involves a combination of surgical intervention and/or aggressive medical management, which may include intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and steroids.

Since there is no definitive cure or specific treatment for DIC, additional interventions will focus on general supportive care. In most instances, dogs diagnosed with DIC will already be hospitalized. They will require continued hospitalization for intravenous fluid administration to maintain hydration and the administration of supportive care medications to alleviate symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or pain. Oxygen therapy may be necessary for dogs experiencing respiratory distress. Additionally, plasma and blood transfusions may be warranted in certain cases.

Living and Management

Recovery and management of DIC in dogs demand urgent attention due to its severe and life-threatening nature, potentially leading to fatal consequences. Early identification and treatment of DIC along with addressing the underlying condition are crucial for a positive outcome and the dog’s survival.

Typically, dogs will need to remain hospitalized for 3-5 days, sometimes longer, to undergo treatment for the underlying condition and receive aggressive supportive care. Despite intensive treatment, the prognosis for survival typically stands at around 40%. Dogs that do survive may experience long-term organ damage and will require ongoing veterinary monitoring, bloodwork, and medication.

DIC in Dogs FAQs

What are the phases of DIC in dogs?

DIC manifests in two forms: acute and chronic. Acute DIC represents the most perilous manifestation, potentially resulting in blood clot formation, organ failure, bleeding, and mortality. Both forms of DIC stem from an underlying disease or condition that warrants prompt identification and treatment.

What is the survival rate for dogs with DIC?

Roughly 40% of dogs diagnosed with DIC survive. DIC constitutes a severe, life-threatening condition that necessitates immediate treatment to optimize outcomes.

Scroll to Top