The term petechiae refers to very small red or purple spots (around the size of the head of a pin) that can appear on either the skin or the mucous membranes (such as inside of the eyelids). These spots usually appear in small groups, and often look rather like a rash.
An injury or trauma
An impact or injury to the body can cause petechiae to develop. Petechiae may not appear immediately at the site of the impact; it can take several hours or even overnight before the spots become visible.
If your dog has consumed a poison, or eaten a rat or mouse that has consumed such a poison, this can lead to petechiae among other symptoms, including pale gums, listlessness, or bleeding from orifices such as the nose, mouth and eyes, and blood in the stools or urine. This is usually the first symptom and is classed as an emergency.
Immune system weaknesses
If your dog has a suppressed or hostile immune system, this can lead to the immune system of your dog actively working against them to attack the body’s own systems, and in some cases, this can cause blood clotting. Petechial bleeding can be one of the first indicators of this, and is often used as part of the initial diagnosis when immune function begins to get suppressed.
Heat stroke is a very easy condition to develop in the hot weather with too much sun and too much vigorous exercise; it can quickly become life threatening.
One of the main symptoms of heatstroke in the dog is very dark red gums, often accompanied by petechial haemorrhaging in the gums, eyelids or skin. By the time you spot the signs of petechiae, you will probably already be aware that something is wrong with your dog, and if you suspect heatstroke, you should work quickly to cool your overheated dog down, and always contact your vet in case of an emergency. Of course, prevention is always better than the cure so when it’s really hot make sure your dog takes regular rest breaks in the shade or inside if outside playing for long periods of time and ensure they have sufficient water supplies.
Petechiae in dogs may simply come about as the result of a a bump, scrape or injury that you are not aware of, but given that it can also be linked with a range of potentially serious conditions, it is always wise to contact your vet immediately for advice if you are worried about the health of your dog.