What is Vomiting of Blood?
Hematemesis is often a sign of gastrointestinal disorders or bleeding. Contact your vet immediately during the first instance if possible, but especially if the vomiting of blood has persisted for more than 3 days.
While vomiting in cats can be quite common, vomiting of blood, known as hematemesis, may be an indication of a serious condition that warrants immediate veterinary attention. The blood in a cat’s vomit may be bright red or dark-colored with an appearance often likened to “coffee grounds”, which can be differentiated from spots of blood present in the vomit. Spots of blood in the vomit may result from irritation caused by vomiting. However, it is a good idea to seek veterinary attention despite what the blood looks like or what you think the cause may be.
Symptoms of Vomiting of Blood in Cats
If blood in your cat’s vomit is bright red, it is fresh and may have been caused by external trauma to the esophagus, such as swallowing a foreign object, or an oral condition. Darker blood may indicate issues lower in the digestive tract. If the problem persists, seek immediate veterinary attention for your cat as soon as you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Weakness or lethargy
- Pawing at the mouth or teeth
- Blood present in the stool
- Black colored stool
- Shallow breathing
- Signs of anemia
- Signs of pain
Causes of Vomiting of Blood in Cats
There are several causes of vomiting of blood in cats. Your vet will be able to determine the cause upon diagnosis. Possible causes include, but are not limited to:
- Adverse reaction to medication
- Trauma to the esophagus
- Ulcers located in the gastrointestinal tract or esophagus
- Respiratory disease
- Certain cancers, particularly if tumors are bleeding
- Blood clotting conditions
Diagnosis of Vomiting of Blood in Cats
Your vet will ask you about any specific events or known disorders that may have led to the vomiting. Be sure to answer all your vet’s questions to the best of your ability, and be prepared to provide a list of any medications your cat is currently taking.
Your vet can use a number of tests to determine the cause of vomiting of blood. The vet may make a tentative diagnosis based on presentation of symptoms. Tests are required for a definitive diagnosis. Your vet may analyze your cat’s blood and urine in addition to performing an endoscopy, c, ultrasound, and x-rays. If cancer is suspected, the vet may take a biopsy of the gastrointestinal tract.
Do not take a sample of vomit or stool to the vet with you unless it is specifically requested, since you may not have a sanitary means of transport. Vets cannot effectively test vomit samples for disease and other conditions, so these may not be helpful.
Treatment of Vomiting of Blood in Cats
Treatment will vary based on the underlying cause:
In many cases of vomiting of blood caused by disease, treatment may be more aggressive depending on the disease. Certain diseases may be managed by drug therapy. Gingivitis can be treated through a thorough dental cleaning. Hospitalization and intravenous fluid therapy may also be required to restore electrolytes and fluids lost during vomiting.
The vet may prescribe medication that will help prevent the ulcer from causing any more harm to the lining of the stomach and reduce the acidity of the stomach environment. A special or bland diet is usually also prescribed. Surgery is another method of treatment for ulcers, which will require an endoscopy beforehand to locate the ulcers. Your vet will schedule a follow-up appointment to monitor the ulcers through endoscopy.
Depending on the location and stage of the cancer, treatment methods may include surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment. Your vet will discuss your options with you based on your cat’s specific needs.
Recovery of Vomiting of Blood in Cats
Recovery and prognosis will vary based on the underlying cause and the recommended course of treatment. Be sure to follow all your vet’s treatment and recovery instructions carefully.
If your cat has been diagnosed with gingivitis, you will need to ensure that you take proper care of your cat’s teeth by brushing them each day. Your vet will be able to advise you on a dental care regimen.
If your cat has been prescribed drug therapy to treat gastrointestinal ulcers, it is imperative that you administer the medication for the entire duration of the recommended treatment period even if symptoms start to clear up. Failure to do so could result in aggressive recurrence.
If your cat has had surgery, ensure that he or she does not irritate the surgery site. After any major operation or procedure, you’ll need to provide a warm, safe place for your cat to rest. Additionally, you should ensure that clean drinking water is always available and accessible. Your vet will be able to advise you on dietary changes.
Vomiting of Blood Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Hi. My cat has had diarrhoea for a couple of days now. Today I realised she had eaten chicken off a bone and has now vomited all that she ate as well as blood. Can I wait a couple of hours to avoid emergency vet prices. I'm worried to leave her
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