Facial Swelling in Cats

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Facial Swelling in Cats - Signs, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Facial Swelling in Cats - Signs, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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. 

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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.

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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
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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.

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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.  

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Worried about the cost of Facial Swelling treatment?

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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.

Facial swelling can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your cat has facial swelling or is at risk, start searching for pet insurance today. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Trupanion. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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Facial Swelling Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$850

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Facial Swelling Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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dog-breed-icon

cat

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Nine Years

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3 found helpful

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3 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Facial Swelling

I woke up and my cat’s face is swollen. It started on his jaw where he seems to be scratching, but now it looks like there’s a bump above his right eye. He’s not acting any different other than scratching his face.

July 21, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Ellen M. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Hello, thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear that your cat's face is swollen! Without examining your cat, it is very hard to know what might be going on. It could be anything from an allergic reaction, to complications due to dental disease to a mass of some sort. The fact that he is scratching at it tells me that he is uncomfortable and it sounds like it's progressing quickly. I recommend taking him to the veterinarian as soon as possible since it's already progressing. They should be able to determine whether it is an allergic reaction or something else, and they should be able to give him the appropriate treatment. I hope that your cat starts feeling better soon!

July 21, 2020

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dog-breed-icon

American shorthair

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One Year

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4 found helpful

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4 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Swollen Face, Change In Personality— Hiding More Than Usual, Curling Up When Owner Approaches

How do I treat facial swelling?

July 21, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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4 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. This may be an allergic reaction, or may be an abscess, or it may be a tumor. Without seeing him, unfortunately, it is difficult to say what might be going on. If he is changing behavior and hiding because of this problem, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian. They will be able to examine him, see what is going on, and get treatment for him. I hope that all goes well for him.

July 21, 2020

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Facial Swelling Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$850

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