What is Bleeding?
Cats can develop several different types of conditions related to bleeding. These conditions could be related to wounds on the skin or the bleeding may come from other body parts, possibly indicating further trauma is occurring internally. Some of the most common types of bleeding in cats include:
- Bleeding from the anus
- Bleeding from the ear
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Bleeding from the nose
- Bleeding from wounds
- Blood in the urine
Why Bleeding Occurs in Cats
Bleeding in cats can occur for many reasons. Knowing where the bleeding is coming from is one of the first steps in determining why the bleeding has started in the first place.
Bleeding from the Anus
Bleeding from the anus frequently signifies a serious disorder and veterinary professionals should be consulted when this symptoms strikes. Possible causes of bleeding from the anus can include polyps or tumors of the colon or anus, intestinal cancer, abscess or infection of the anal gland, severe constipation, blood clotting disorders, or even certain types of poisoning.
Bleeding from the Ear
Some of the conditions that may cause bleeding from the ear are serious whereas others are trivial. It depends on where on the ear the bleeding is coming from and the amount of the bleeding. Scratches or hematomas on the outer portion of the ear may require only minimal treatment; however, underlying disorders such as infestation by mites or carcinomas will require assistance from a veterinary professional.
Bleeding from the Mouth
The most common type of bleeding that originates in the mouths of felines is due to injury to the mouth, teeth, or tongue, but it can also indicate a foreign body lodged in the patient’s mouth, gum disease, some forms of poisoning, and even the rupture of the internal organs. With a very few exceptions, bleeding from the mouth should be evaluated by a veterinarian.
Bleeding from the Nose
Like humans, cats may get a bloody nose simply from running into something nose first. This type of injury should stop bleeding after twenty minutes or so; if it does not stop bleeding or if it becomes a recurring condition it may be indicative of a more serious origin such as a foreign body trapped in the nose, a dental abscess, a blood clotting disorder, a nasal polyp, a fungal infection or even cancer, and further diagnostic tests should be run.
Bleeding from Wounds
Cats can receive external wounds without any internal damage from a number of sources including cat fights, falls, and general misadventure. Although small lacerations may be able to be treated at home, wounds larger than an inch should be treated by a veterinarian and wounds of any size that exhibit discharge, swelling, or a foul odor should be medically addressed as these are signs of infection.
Blood in the Urine
Urine with blood in it is a reddish-brown, pink or red color and can indicate disorders like a urinary tract infection (UTI), exposure to certain poisons (such as rat bait), and bleeding disorders. Although rare, finding urine in the blood may also indicate the presence of bladder cancer in felines. If you find evidence in the litter box that there is blood in your cat’s urine you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
What to do if your Cat is Bleeding
Where the blood is located, the amount of blood present, the length or frequency of the bleeding, and additional symptoms will all need to be taken into account when deciding how to handle cases of feline bleeding.
In many cases, the length of a nosebleed can be reduced by both keeping the animal calm and by placing an ice pack on the bridge of the cat’s nose in order to constrict the blood vessels in that area.
While small lacerations generally do not necessitate contact with the veterinarian, cats often benefit from some sort of treatment.
With small lacerations and hematoma wounds you can apply gentle pressure to stop any active bleeding, then the area will need to be flushed out gently, with something like a syringe without a needle, and then it should be dried by patting dry. Once it is clean and dry it may be treated with a disinfectant like betadine. Do not use hydrogen peroxide on cats as this can actually slow the healing process.
Most of the other types of bleeding that your cat can experience should be evaluated by a veterinarian as they can indicate disorders that are much more detrimental if they are not properly treated.
Prevention of Bleeding
Some circumstances that are related to bleeding, such as hereditary bleeding disorders, may not be preventable once the feline is born, however, actions can be taken to lessen the chances that many of the other types of bleeding might develop. In these cases, breeding parents should be screened to ensure the genes are not passed on.
Indoor cats, by and large, are less likely to get wounds or run across toxins that are out in the open like snail and slug bait or pools of antifreeze that may cause internal damage and bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract. Cat owners will also want to ensure that their houses are cat proof and that there are no small, interesting objects in their cat’s reach that might get caught in the animal’s throat or sinus cavity and regular veterinary examinations may help to catch certain disorders before they progress to the point where bleeding is seen. Cancers can attack any body part and in many cases they cause bleeding as well so steps to prevent cancer, such as not allowing smoking or vaping in their environment, reducing the number of toxic cleaning materials they may be exposed to, and creating a low stress environment at home should be taken.
Cost of Bleeding
In some cases, the cost of treating bleeding may only be the cost of the disinfectant used to prevent infections; in many of the other cases the expenses run quite a bit higher. Urinary tract infections average around $500, and tooth loss tends to set owners back around $800. As the conditions become more life threatening and complicated, the cost to treat them increases with disorders like anemia costing an average of around $3,000, and averages for treating cancer between $6,000 and $8,000.
The health problems associated with bleeding can be expensive to treat. To avoid high vet care expenses, secure pet health insurance today. The sooner you insure your pet, the more protection you’ll have from unexpected vet costs.
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Bleeding Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Siberian Black and White Cat
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