Ruptured Spleen In Dogs: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Ruptured Spleen In Dogs: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

August 5, 2011 | Dog Diseases | Leave a Comment |

Ruptured Spleen in Dogs

A ruptured spleen is a medical emergency in dogs. It can be caused by trauma or can be a result of an illness.  The rupture can lead to internal hemorrhage. More often than not, treatment is going to involve surgery. When splenic rupture is suspected, will need to take their pet to the vet as soon as possible.

The spleen is found in the dog’s abdominal cavity. It is responsible for producing cells which are important in immune response.


Here are some of the most common causes of spleen rupture in dogs.

  • Trauma, blunt force trauma as a result of kicking, falls, car accidents, or any impact to the abdominal area can lead to a ruptured spleen.
  • Tumors, these can be either benign or malignant. Benign tumors are known as hemangiomas and malignant ones are called hemangioscarcomas. These can lead to bleeding in the spleen, which is eventually going to lead to a rupture.


It is important to identify the symptoms of splenic rupture in order to be to act quickly and take the dog to the vet as soon as possible.

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Bloated and board-like abdomen, the belly can feel hard to the touch and may look distended.
  • Sudden collapse

In addition to a sudden and severe rupture, bleeding in the spleen can also occur in small amounts and can go on for some time. Symptoms of this kind of rupture include:

  • Weight loss
  • Anorexia, loss of appetite
  • Lethargy and Weakness
  • Abdominal tenderness, dog may yelp in pain when the abdomen is palpated.


The treatment method is going to depend on the severity of the condition. Diagnostic tests including imaging studies may need to be performed.

Some of the possible treatment methods include:

  • Exploratory surgery, splenic repair or splenctomy, this is performed if the rupture is severe and if there is a lot of damage to the spleen. The splenectomy may be partial or complete.
  • Blood Transfusions, given to replace blood loss as a result of hemorrhage.

To help with the symptoms, dogs may also be supportive treatments, which may include:

  • Pain relievers
  • Steroids/corticosteroids
  • Fluid and electrolyte replacement therapy, this is given because hemorrhages lead to fluid loss.

Rest is also necessary and dogs are going to be confined to some degree of cage rest while they recuperate.

If the rupture was caused by tumors, the tumors will be removed during surgery. A biopsy is going to be performed and if malignancy is discovered, chemotherapy may be started.

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