What is Bleeding Under the Skin?
Bleeding under the skin occurs when blood vessels rupture, leaking blood into nearby tissues. The condition is generally visible and can present as a single pinpoint, small blotches, or larger areas. Affected areas may appear bright red, purple ranging to black, bluish-- or in older bruises, as a yellowish or greenish discoloration. Bruising or bleeding is frequently caused by trauma, but could be a sign of several other conditions. Although bruising often heals over time without medical treatment, frequent, large, long-lasting, or numerous bruises should be checked out by a veterinary professional.
Symptoms of Bleeding Under the Skin in Cats
The most obvious sign of bleeding under the skin is observable blood, bruising, or discoloration. In many cases, this is the only symptom. Additional symptoms may be present depending on the underlying cause of the condition.
- Red, bluish, or purple discoloration
- Pinpoint hemorrhages or discolored spots
- Larger, blotchy bruising
- Sensitivity to touch
- Signs of pain, like vocalization
- Pale skin
- Weakness or lethargy
- Inflammation or swelling
- Excessive scratching or rubbing the affected area
- Blood in other locations like eyes, sores, or urine and feces
There are various types of bleeding that can occur under the skin in cats and other companion animals. Common types include:
- Visible bruises
- Blood spots or pinpoints
- Hematomas or blood collecting outside the blood vessels
- Petechiae, or spot bleeding into the skin
- Ecchymosis, or a collection of blood under the skin
Causes of Bleeding Under the Skin in Cats
A variety of issues can result in bleeding under the skin. Cats commonly acquire bruises from minor physical trauma, including falls, fights, and accidents. Bruising and bleeding under the skin can also be a sign of a more serious condition. Some causes of bleeding under the skin in cats include:
- Injury or trauma
- Mites, especially ear mites
- Various parasites
- Certain viral infections
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Platelet disorders
- Vascular disorders
- Clotting factor conditions
- Some medications
- Cancer, especially bone marrow cancer
- Immune disorders
- Some toxins
Diagnosis of Bleeding Under the Skin in Cats
Medical diagnosis of bleeding under the skin may require various methodologies to identify the cause and rule out various conditions. Be prepared to discuss your pet’s medical history and any medications they are on, the onset of the bruising or bleeding, and any other symptoms you have observed. If you are aware of any recent physical trauma, be sure to let your veterinarian know. This can make diagnosis a simple task. A complete physical examination will be conducted to identify all affected locations and look for other observable symptoms like swelling or masses. Veterinary staff will draw blood and collect a urine sample. They may also take samples of any associated discharge.
Proper diagnosis is essential for successful treatment because some causes, like cancers and blood disorders, can result in serious medical concerns and even death. Your cat’s blood samples will undergo diagnostic screening for blood disorders. Analysis will include platelet count and function, active clotting time, nutrients amounts, white and red blood cell counts, and analysis for bacterial, viral, or other infections. Other diagnostic methods, like urinalysis, biochemistry profile, biopsies, smears or cultures, and imaging techniques, might be used to search for underlying causes like cancers, infections, and systemic disorders. If bone marrow cancer or other disorders are expected, a bone marrow biopsy may be conducted. Procedures like bone marrow biopsy will require hospitalization.
Treatment of Bleeding Under the Skin in Cats
Your veterinarian’s treatment plan will depend on their diagnosis of the underlying causes of the bruising or bleeding. Bruising from minor trauma often will not require any treatment and should heal on its own over time. Bleeding under the skin brought on by other conditions will require medical treatment. Common treatment methods for bleeding under the skin in cats include:
Even in pets with bruising from minor trauma, limited mobility may be recommended to prevent worsening of the bleeding. By minimizing the cat’s activity, the risk of complications is diminished.
Intravenous (IV) Fluids
In animals that are weak, anemic or at risk of dehydration, IV fluids will be administered to aid in recovery. This is a routine, low-risk technique generally used only while your pet is in veterinary care.
If blood loss is severe, blood counts are low, or with some blood disorders, a blood transfusion may be necessary. With proper blood type matching and administration, this treatment carries a relatively low risk of side effects.
Surgery may be required to drain blood or implant temporary drains. This is common with hematomas. Surgery might also be necessary to remove tumors or other masses. Surgery is conducted while the cat is under anesthesia and could require hospitalization during the recovery phase. Your veterinarian will decide if your pet is healthy enough to undergo a surgical procedure.
Other methods and procedures might be used depending on the cause of your cat’s bleeding. Cancer treatments, various types of medication, certain transplants, or therapies for other medical conditions may be required to treat your pet successfully.
Recovery of Bleeding Under the Skin in Cats
Your cat’s prognosis will vary depending on the cause of bleeding under the skin. In the case of bruising brought on by minor trauma, infections, or parasites, full recovery is likely with treatment. Some causes of bruising may be more serious and could require extended hospitalization and long-term treatment. Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s instructions for care, including providing the full course of any medications and returning for required follow-up visits. Support your pet’s recovery by feeding them a nutritious diet, providing plenty of fluids, and limiting stressors. Your cat may experience weakness for several days, so ensure their food, water, and bedding is nearby.
Bleeding Under the Skin Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My cat was spayed last week (about 8 days ago) everything went fine she finished her antibiotics yesterday. The incision is healing fine. I notice this evening that there is a spot a little bit above the incision that looked like it had blood on it...so I went to clean it and it doesn't wash off. It doesn't seem to hurt her, she is eating, playing and using the litter box as normal...not sure what this could be. Thank you.
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