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What is Abdominal Bleeding?

If internal bleeding is caused by trauma, often from being hit by a car, the bleeding may be rapid. This is an emergency situation requiring immediate veterinary attention. The liver and spleen are the most commonly affected organs in a traumatic accident. Other life-threatening injuries may also be present after extreme trauma has happened. The abdominal cavity is very large and can contain a high volume of blood. The cat may hemorrhage or go into shock from abdominal bleeding. 

Severe internal conditions can also cause internal bleeding, however, this bleeding tends to be slower. The body may also reabsorb some of the blood collected in the abdomen, making the bleeding appear to be less than it is. Gastrointestinal cancer can cause bowels to rupture, which can lead to slow internal bleeding. Ulcerations and hematomas can also contribute to chronic blood loss into the abdomen. These conditions, while not emergencies, are still severe and can be life-threatening. Veterinary assessment is required. 

The abdomen of a cat is a large cavity containing most of the vital organs in the body. The complete digestive tract is housed within the abdomen. Extreme injuries from trauma or progressed internal ailments can cause blood vessels within the abdomen to rupture and bleed into the space between organs. This is sometimes referred to as hemoperitoneum or hemoabdomen.

Abdominal Bleeding Average Cost

From 552 quotes ranging from $500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$2,000

Symptoms of Abdominal Bleeding in Cats

Depending on whether the abdominal bleeding is acute or chronic, varying symptoms may reveal the issue. In cases of extreme traumatic injuries, many other visible symptoms may be present. Do not hesitate to rush your cat to an animal hospital if you suspect it has been hit by a car. All symptoms to watch for are as follows:

  • Distended abdomen
  • Bruising
  • Inability to get up
  • Visible wounds
  • Broken bones
  • Limping
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Anemia (visualized by abnormal lip and gum color)
  • Lethargy
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weight loss
  • Blood in vomit or stool
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Causes of Abdominal Bleeding in Cats

Anything that causes the internal organs to rupture will lead to abdominal bleeding. This is almost always a serious ailment. Identifying the cause can lead to a more effective treatment plan. All known causes are listed below.

  • Trauma (often from being hit by a car)
  • Cancer
  • Benign or malignant tumor growth
  • Hematoma
  • Medication 
  • Ingesting rodenticides or other coagulants
  • Progressed infections
  • Feline leukemia virus
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Diagnosis of Abdominal Bleeding in Cats

In the case of a veterinary emergency, rush your cat to the nearest animal hospital or veterinary clinic immediately. Exercise care when moving an injured cat, as spinal issues and broken bones may be made worse by manipulation. Once there, a veterinarian will fully examine your cat for all injuries present. This examination may reveal many injuries that will need to be addressed, starting with the most serious issue at hand. The main focus will be to find the area that is bleeding and limit or stop blood loss as soon as possible.

In cases of slower blood loss, many tests will need to be run to identify the underlying cause of abdominal bleeding. Your cat's medical history can be helpful in finding possible health problems. Full blood work will be needed, including a complete blood count. This can identify both anemia or malignancy within the cat. X-rays or ultrasounds may be used to show fluid, growths, hematomas, injury damage, or ulcers present in the abdomen. If masses are too small for ultrasound imaging, an MRI or CT scan may be necessary. 

Abdominocentesis is often performed in instances of abdominal bleeding. This involves filling a syringe with the blood-filled fluid in the abdomen for microscopic evaluation. If growths have been identified, a biopsy of growth tissue may be needed for a histopathological exam. A coagulation panel may also be deemed necessary. Feline leukemia virus should be tested for.

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Treatment of Abdominal Bleeding in Cats

In both emergency and nonemergency settings, the bleeding must be stopped. There are various ways of doing this depending on the reason for the bleeding. 

Emergency Procedures

 

These treatments are applied to cats suffering from major blood loss. The goal is to keep the cat alive and maintain stability so further surgeries can be performed. Intravenous fluids are often administered to keep fluid volumes up and increase blood pressure. Blood transfusions may be needed if too much blood has been lost. Oxygen can help a cat suffering from breathing difficulties due to excess fluid in the abdomen pushing on its lungs. Vitamin K may be given as it enhances the body's ability to clot blood. A belly wrap may be put on the cat to compress the abdomen and temporally stop bleeding with pressure. Painkillers may be given to calm the cat.

Emergency Exploratory Surgery 

In the case of trauma, often the only way to find the source of bleeding is to do so surgically. The goal is to identify internal wounds and seal them if possible. This surgery carries many risks and is used only to help save a cat's life.

Surgical Removal 

If cancerous or benign growths are found in the body, surgically removing these growths can stop internal bleeding. Success depends on the number and location of growths present. If cancer is residing in the body, radiation therapy or chemotherapy may need to be paired with surgery for optimum effectiveness.

Medication

If a bleeding ulcer is discovered, certain medications may be prescribed to lower stomach acidity within the cat. This allows the ulcer to heal without further damage occurring. These prescriptions usually last for six to eight weeks.

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Recovery of Abdominal Bleeding in Cats

If the cat has survived surgery, proper postoperative care is needed. This involves keeping the incision site clean and limiting the cat’s activity during the healing process. Watch for any signs of infection and bring the cat back to the veterinarian immediately if signs begin to show. For severe internal injuries, the healing process can be slow. Confining your cat to a crate may be necessary during this time if injuries are extensive enough.

If a benign tumor has been removed successfully, generally the prognosis is good with a full recovery possible. Gastrointestinal cancer carries a worse prognosis due to its aggression and tendency to spread throughout the body. If the cat has experienced kidney or liver failure, it may not survive. A cat who has suffered from ulcers should be put on a restricted, bland diet containing foods like chicken, rice, and cottage cheese. Keeping your cat indoors can greatly reduce incidents of trauma. Removing rodenticides from your home, and locking away any other anticoagulants, can help keep your cat safe from poisoning.

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Abdominal Bleeding Average Cost

From 552 quotes ranging from $500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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Abdominal Bleeding Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Tuxedo cat

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Nine Years

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine

Cat hit by car this afternoon but still walked around and moved. More tired than usual. Hiding which she never does Just now I noticed when she urinated there was Some blood In it

July 23, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello If your was hit by a car, he needs to be taken to a veterinarian immediately. Blood in his urine can mean that he has internal trauma to his bladder, and could be hemorrhaging internally also. He should see a vet right away.

July 23, 2020

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Not sure

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Thirteen Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Cannot Walk, Bleeding From Genitals

I found my cat this morning not moving. She cannot walk. She’s urinated on herself. Blood coming from genitals. Not eating. I have no money for a vet. How can I help her??

July 21, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I do not think that there is anything that you can do for her at home, unfortunately. She sounds quite ill, and really does need to be seen by a veterinarian. Perhaps there is a low-cost clinic in your area, or most veterinary clinics offer Care Credit or scratch pay as a way to pay for unexpected expenses. I hope that she is okay.

July 21, 2020

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Not known

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Four Years

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Nne Yet

I was getting up in the morning to go to the bathroom and I was tired still in a daze and I stepped down not knowing my cat was there and I think I stepped on her stomach I was really terrified she seemed ok when she ran downstairs and under the table. She let me pet her please reply ASAP I need to know if she’s ok.

July 13, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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I'm sorry that happened to your cat. Without seeing her, I can't say whether she will be okay. If she continues to eat and drink normally, and is being normally social after a little bit of time, she will probably be okay. If she starts vomiting, having diarrhea, or doesn't want to come out after a couple of hours, then I would have her seen by a veterinarian. I hope that she is okay.

July 13, 2020

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Leo

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Mixed Persian

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3 Years

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding
Vomiting

Got injuired. Dont know exact how. At first nose bleeding started and breathing problem . After 36 hours later mouth bleeding started and vomited. Black colored potty . Right canine tooth was half broken . Eating disorder, very little ate. Mouth bleeding is not stopping

Sept. 22, 2018

Leo's Owner

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Charlie

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tabby

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5 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Black Poop

Both of my kittens who are about 5 months old recently started having diarrhea a few weeks ago, they both still have great energy, great appetites, everything is normal about them except they were having diarrhea. i took them to the vet about a week ago and the doctor had me change their diets and they are now eating the royal canine gastrointestinal food and she put them on a dewormer just incase.(note they’ve been dewormed before, she just is having me trying a different kind of dewormer) So a few days ago I noticed one of them(charlie)was pooping normal again except that it’s black, the other one(bo) i havent even seen poop since i took them to the vet. i dont know if i should be concered or not

Sept. 21, 2018

Charlie's Owner

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Tiger

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European short hair

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7 Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weakness
Not Going Pee
Not Going Poop

6 days ago my cat was chased by dogs, they did not get ahold of him. But when we found him he would not move or even look at us we thought he must have been really scared, so we went on with our day when we checked on him again, he was still like in a frozen state when I'd carry him he would go limp, by that night we figured he was okay cause he was gone we couldn't find him for 3 days and when we did, he could barely walk,he is really weak. He will eat but he has not pooped or peed in the last 3 days we've had him inside

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Whisky

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Siamese breed

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7 Months

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding

Good day Trust that everyone is doing well? I had a Siamese breed cat name by Whisky, we just recently moved into our new home, decide to leave my cats in the bathroom until everything is settled, I left the window open, but open so that they can't escape, and Whisky managed to escape through the window, during the search in the morning, I couldn't find my cat, one of our tenant reported the landlord, that she had bad feeling and had to mention that our cat is dead later that evening and she dumped him in the open field with two plastic in him because it was in her driveway, then the landlord told us, where our cat is, I was heartbroken to hear all the truth etc I couldn't believe how heartless can this woman be and dump my cat in the open field just because she doesn't want to be accused by her dogs etc I've found my first closure that the cat is found and dead, ready to bury, but I need my second closure, how did my cat die? First I was told there was no mark or blood on him, but from my experience, his jaw was open, very pale inside, and a little bit of blood on the mouth, when I bury my cat, as I pick him up there was blood everywhere on his body like as if his sleep etc Can anyone here have an idea of what happened to my cat? My apology for my English Kind regards Errol

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Rodja

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Furry medium sized

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5 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Sleepiness

Hi! My cat got smashed in the door pretty hard about 4 hours ago. We got really scared but it looked like we were more scared than her. I have been watching her all this time and she seems fine. I gave her food which she happily ate. I can pet her and hold her and pick her up. She purrs as usual. She walks fine and goes outside. But I cannot stop thinking about that door because I slammed it very hard and I cannot believe she is totally fine after that! Can it be that there is some internal injury that will begin showing symptoms hours or days later?? Or can I feel pretty calm at this point, since she seems acting normal? I also tried to touch her spine, her belly and all over and she did not have a negative reaction. Right now she is sleeping but it's kinda normal for her.

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Pishan

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Persian

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12 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite

My 12-year old cat stopped eating and pooping 2 weeks ago. Vet examination and X-ray showed a large mass in her stomach that turned out to be a hair ball. After feeding her olive oil, she threw up a few times and got rid of the hair ball but she vomited blood. She pooped after enema. She refuses to eat and drink and we provide IV fluids only. 3 days ago, she was diagnosed with diabetes as well. She has lost a lot of weight and doesn’t eat anything.

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Yoshi

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Domestic shorthair

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8 Years

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Pale Mucous Membranes
Heavy Panting
Internal Bleeding

I lost my 8yo, seemingly healthy cat Yoshi recently. He was an inside cat. One evening my husband found him lying on the bathroom floor panting heavily. I immediately realized he was in bad shape. I checked his gums and they were very pale. I immediately thought of rodenticide or something similar but there was nothing I could think of that he could have gotten into. I rushed him to the ER and he was taken back immediately for evaluation. The Dr tried to insert an IV catheter but said his blood pressure was too low. They tried several times with no success and then he crashed. They attempted CPR but I knew it was too late. The time period from when I found him until he died was less than 90 minutes. He had seemed totally normal earlier that afternoon. The Vet tapped his abdomen and said it was full of blood. There was no way he could have been hit by a car. My toddler had been hugging/laying across him though. Could she have ruptured something like a splenic tumor? Or could some other bathroom chemical cause massive internal bleeding? I feel so guilty I could have caused or prevented this. It was just so sudden and unexplained. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

Abdominal Bleeding Average Cost

From 552 quotes ranging from $500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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