Shock Due to Decrease in Circulation in Dogs

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Hypovolemic Shock in Dogs

A dog can go into shock for a variety of reasons, but when their blood volume or fluid levels drastically drop, shock can onset rapidly. Hypovolemic shock affects the renal, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and the respiratory systems of a dog. Prolonged levels of shock can also severely damage the cardiac system. It is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.


  • Severe weakness
  • Cool feet
  • Poor pulse; a pulse that is difficult to read
  • Very low blood pressure
  • Severe lethargy or inactivity
  • Hyperventilation
  • Respiratory failure
  • Hemorrhage


Blood and fluid loss can be caused by extensive vomiting, diarrhea, severe external burns and injury. Exposure to anticoagulant substances, recurring illnesses and hazardous materials may also bring on shock. If a dog has gastrointestinal bleeding, it may be unable to circulate blood volume, which is another way shock can occur.


The first objective is to diagnose the underlying cause. Blood tests, including blood gas tests will help to determine electrolyte causes or blood related problems. Imaging can reveal if any cardiac problems have led to the shock. Electrocardiography will identify any issues with the dog's heart. Blood pressure readings are used to determine if the issue is related to the heart's pressure and its ability to circulate blood volume through the dog's body.

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