Jump to section

What is Facial Swelling?

Some of these causes of swelling are incredibly serious and need to be treated immediately to protect your cat. It doesn’t matter whether the swelling is only occurring on one side of the face or affecting the entire face, you should bring your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible if you spot any signs.

If you notice your cat’s face looks puffier than usual, he could be suffering from facial swelling. It may be difficult to spot swelling at first, but as it worsens, your cat’s eyes may begin to close as the surrounding area swells. The signs of facial swelling can come on suddenly or develop over time, depending on the underlying cause. Swelling can be caused by a variety of conditions, including exposure to allergens or toxins, dental abscesses, trauma, and insect bites. 

Compare Pet Insurance & Wellness Plans

Save up to $273 per year

Compare plans
advertisement image

Facial Swelling Average Cost

From 449 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$850

Symptoms of Facial Swelling in Cats

It’s much easier to spot facial swelling in short haired cats than in long haired cats. Facial swelling is characterized by a puffy, abnormal facial appearance. Depending on the cause, the swelling could affect small areas, one side of the face, or the entire face. You may also notice your cat’s eyes appearing smaller than usual because of the swelling.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Facial Swelling in Cats

A number of different factors can cause facial swelling in cats, some which are more severe than others. To ensure your cat is properly treated, take him to an emergency veterinarian as soon as possible. Some of the causes include:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Dental abscess
  • Facial trauma
  • Insect/snake bite
  • Muscle inflammation
  • Inflamed salivary glands
  • Acetaminophen poisoning
  • Cancer
  • Hematoma
  • Infection
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Facial Swelling in Cats

Bring your cat into a veterinarian as soon as you see signs of facial swelling. Provide as much information as possible to your vet regarding your cat’s diet and medical history. If your cat has any known allergies, make sure you mention this to the veterinarian.  You should also let your veterinarian know if you have an outside cat, as snakes or insects can easily come into contact with outside cats.

Next, the veterinarian will begin a physical examination of your cat. He will look for signs of insect or snake bites, wounds, infection, and hives, which are often present during an allergic reaction. Veterinarians will also check the skin to look for signs of hematoma, which is characterized by skin discoloration. The veterinarian may also look inside your cat’s mouth to determine if a dental abscess could be causing the facial swelling.

If the swelling is localized, the veterinarian may be able to determine if it is caused by muscle or salivary gland inflammation. However, localized swelling can also be caused by tumors, which the veterinarian may be able to feel during the physical examination. If no cause is determined after the physical examination, the veterinarian may perform X-rays or an ultrasound to check for tumors in the head or neck. Biopsies may need to be performed on any tumors that are found to determine if they are cancerous.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Facial Swelling in Cats

The treatment plan will depend on the cause of facial swelling. Allergic reactions will often be treated with corticosteroids and antihistamines. If the swelling is caused by an infection, the bacteria may need to be cultured to determine which antibiotic will be the most effective. Muscle or salivary gland inflammation is usually treated with anti-inflammatory medication and steroids. 

Veterinarians may recommend letting hematomas clear up on their own, but in some cases, they may think it is best to drain the hematoma before sending your cat home. 

If your cat has been diagnosed with cancer, the treatment will depend on the severity of the disease. Your cat may require surgery to remove the tumor, along with radiation and chemotherapy.

If your cat has ingested acetaminophen, the veterinarian will administer acetylcysteine, which will protect the liver from serious damage. Cats suffering from acetaminophen poisoning will need to stay with the veterinarian for several days for intensive therapy.  

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Facial Swelling in Cats

Most cats will fully recover from facial swelling, especially if the cause was an allergic reaction or infection. However, if the swelling was caused by cancer or acetaminophen toxicity, your cat’s recovery will depend on the severity of his condition.

Be sure to administer medications to your cat as advised by the veterinarian. If the swelling was caused by an allergy, try to remove any potential allergens from your cat’s environment. It’s recommended that you keep your cat indoors to limit his exposure to potential allergens, insects, and snakes.

The veterinarian may ask that you bring your cat in shortly after your initial visit to ensure the swelling has gone down and the underlying cause is being properly treated.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Facial Swelling Average Cost

From 449 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$850

arrow-up-icon

Top

Written by hannah hollinger

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Published: 11/13/2016, edited: 04/28/2021

Facial Swelling Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Normal cat

dog-age-icon

4 months old

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Face And Foam Formation, Loss Os Apetite

Why does my cat face swollen ??? Since two days she is weak and lost apetite, and foam is coming out from her mouth when she eat something

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Without being able to see her, unfortunately, I can't say what might be wrong with her, but she does sound very sick. It would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine your pet and see what might be causing this, and let you know what treatment might help.

Oct. 11, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Domestic Short Hair

dog-age-icon

Six Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

- Noisy Breathing, Irritated/Swollen Eyes,

He has never looked like this before, his eyes are very watery and swollen looking. All he does is sleep and doesn’t let us pet or pick him up. I included some pictures of him right now and one of how he looked before. (the one where he is laying down in the sun)

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in my response, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. Since I cannot see your pet, it would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be causing this, and get treatment if needed.

Oct. 13, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Cat

dog-age-icon

Eight Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling Of The Cheeks

He was an outdoor cat his cheeks are swollen and hard

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. Male cats who are older and not neutered can develop thick skin on the cheeks. If this is sudden, he may have an abscess. If it seems to be bothering him, or he isn't doing well, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 15, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

American shorthair

dog-age-icon

Two Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Skin Lesion

My cat developed a small (dime sized or less) bald spot with a scratch and possible swelling just posterior to his whiskers, and just below that has another small slightly balding round spot that is still smooth with skin still intact. Seems like it might be an ingrown hair or acne? I've treated with chlorhexidine daily and just put him in an e collar today, but it doesn't seem to be getting better, and possibly worse since the second lesion became more noticeable today. This has been going on for 2-3 days so far (possibly up to 6 days but we were out of town).

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in my reply, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. It is difficult to tell from the pictures, but it appears that it may be a deep skin infection, or another problem,. If it is not getting better with the treatment that you have given him, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 19, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

American shorthair

dog-age-icon

Eleven Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

3Rd Eyelid Wont Retract, Possible Ocular Swelling

I have not spoken to my vet since the appointment on Wednesday. She is being treated for URI and I will probably call Monday. Today will be 5 complete days of medication. I have 4 more clavamox and prednisone. Her URI symptoms are improved. Less sneezing and drooling. So, when I was petting my cat her left eye and eyebrow are very flat but the right seems to be raised. Almost like a Neanderthal brow. I am concerned.

Aug. 3, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Ocular swelling is uncommon with any kind of upper respiratory infections in cats, but can occur for other reasons. If you feel that your cat's eye is swelling and is not responding to medication, it would be best to follow up with your veterinarian, which I feel that you will do. They will be able to look at your cat, see what might be changed or going on, and get treatment as needed. I hope that all goes well and your cat is doing fine.

Aug. 3, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

mr. shimshack

dog-breed-icon

short mix

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Facial Swelling

Hi, my cat is an indoor/outdoor cat. He came home yesterday with heavy coughing sounded like he had a cold with stuffed nose. I gave him a few drops of a all natural remedy upper respiratory solution. Woke up in the middle of the night to check up on him and one side of his face is swollen with his eyes shut. He is a fairly active cat but seem tired but seem to eat regularly. gave him treat he ate fine and does not seem to be in pain. What should I do? Thanks

dog-name-icon

Kingston

dog-breed-icon

Unsure

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Anxiety
Right Side Of Face Swollen

I had noticed that my cats ear had been bothering his and I was able to find a cut in his ear. I cleaned it and a few days later that side of his face swelled up. He has his shots so I’m not worried about rabies or anything. But he is an outside/inside cat and I don’t know what caused the cut. Most likely from a fight, but I’m not sure from what. I have him drinking water and eating treats but he won’t eat his food. He also won’t let me hold him which makes me really worried cause I’m the only one who he lets hold him! What should I do?

dog-name-icon

Smokie

dog-breed-icon

Unknown

dog-age-icon

4 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Tiredness
Swollen Cheek
Tenderness

I have a small kitten she’s almost 4 months old. I woke up this morning and noticed she wasn’t running around like usual. Then I noticed her right cheek was swollen. She growls/hisses anytime I try to pet or get close her and she’s now hiding under our bed. She also hasn’t eaten her food from this morning.

dog-name-icon

Skye

dog-breed-icon

dsh

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Swollen Nose

My cat skye came in from outside and her face is so swollen she can't see. She has an abscess on her left cheek bone on the outside of her face and another abscess on her forehead. I popped both and puss came out. I then poured hydrogen peroxide on the wound. She is sleeping alot,and has decreased appetite. I'm just wondering what she got into. Her crt is less then 2 sec.

dog-name-icon

Lesly

dog-breed-icon

Russian Blue

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Chin

Today I noticed my cat chin was swollen she’s not wheezing but she is crying a little bit. It’s Only the chin area that I noticed is swollen. I’m not sure what happened.

Facial Swelling Average Cost

From 449 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$850

Compare Pet Insurance & Wellness Plans

Save up to $273 per year

advertisement image
ask a vet placeholder
Need pet insurance?