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What is Bleeding From the Mouth?

Bleeding from the mouth is a rare occurrence in cats, and while it is not always an emergency, it generally signifies a disorder that will require some form of medical treatment. While in many cases bleeding from the mouth is obvious, there are times where the indicators may be more subtle, such as blood found on the chest from drool or streaks of blood deposited on other areas of the fur from grooming. 

  • Cancer
  • Dental abscess
  • Foreign object lodged in mouth
  • Gum disease
  • Internal bleeding
  • Kidney disease
  • Stomatitis
  • Trauma

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Why Bleeding From the Mouth Occurs in Cats

While bleeding from the mouth may indicate internal bleeding or kidney disease, it is more often related to problems with the condition of the gums and teeth. Some of the reasons that you might see blood coming from your cat’s mouth include:

Cancer

The most common cancer that is characterized by bleeding from the mouth is oral squamous cell carcinoma, an invasive and malignant tumor that requires surgery and a combination of radiation and chemotherapy to treat. Bleeding due to cancer is frequently accompanied by weight loss, bad breath, and swelling in the area of the growth. 

Dental Abscess

Frequently caused by broken teeth, dental abscesses also trigger drooling, difficulty eating, and scratching or pawing, particularly at one side of the mouth. Swelling due to abscesses will typically be warm to the touch and painful as well as being accompanied by a foul odor from the mouth. 

Foreign Object Lodged in Mouth

Although it is less common for cats to get objects lodged into their mouths than dogs it does happen. Items like needles, splinters of bone, or thorns can not only cause pain and bleeding in the mouth but if the condition is untreated it can lead to the object moving down into the throat and causing additional damage, or it may cause dangerous oral infections. 

Gum Disease

Gingivitis, the swelling and inflammation of the gums, is a common oral disorder for felines. Severe cases of gingivitis must be differentiated from stomatitis by the results of a blood test or a soft-tissue biopsy and can lead to bacterial and fungal infections if left untreated.

Internal Bleeding

If your cat is bleeding internally, you may also see blood coming out of other orifices, such as the nose or anus. Internal bleeding can cause a great deal of blood to be displaced from the circulatory system, leading to severe weakness, bruising, breathing issues, and eventually, if untreated, collapse and death. If you suspect your cat is bleeding internally, it should be treated as an emergency and the cat should be taken to the nearest veterinarian right away. 

Kidney Disease

Dysfunction of the kidneys is often characterized by some unique oral symptoms due to high levels of urea that are released through the cat’s saliva. Along with ulcerated sores in the mouth, this disorder is accompanied by breath that smells strongly of either ammonia or urine. 

Stomatitis

Stomatitis is an inflammation of the gums causing ulceration that is extremely painful for the cat. This disorder frequently triggers a reluctance to eat and sometimes it is so painful that it may instigate a reluctance even to drink or groom themselves.  Bloody drool and a foul breath with a metallic tinge may be indicators of this challenging condition. 

Trauma to the Mouth

Damage to the mouth through punctures, burns, or blows can also occur. Bleeding due to trauma generally has little to no odor unless it is left untreated, but if not treated may cause oral infections to develop.

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What to do if your Cat is Bleeding From the Mouth

Bleeding from the mouth is uncommon in cats and should typically warrant a visit to the cat's veterinarian; if the bleeding mouth is accompanied by the smell of ammonia or urea from the mouth or if lethargy, weakness, or pale mucous membranes are also present, the situation should be treated as an emergency, and the animal should be taken to the nearest clinic right away. Visits related to bleeding from the mouth will generally start with a full physical examination. During this evaluation, the veterinarian that is evaluating the situation will assess the animal for any physical wounds or pain that may indicate that physical trauma has occurred, as well as checking for any foreign bodies or tumors that are visible in the oral cavity. The mouth area will be examined to check for signs of bacterial or viral infections, particularly around the teeth and gums, as well as checking the odor of the breath.

There are several tests that may be utilized along with the standard diagnostic tests of urinalysis, complete blood count and a biochemical profile in order to uncover the underlying cause of the blood issuing from the animal’s mouth. This may include steps such as imaging of the oral area and possibly the abdominal area using x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs, clotting tests, and tests designed to check the efficiency of the liver and kidneys.

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Prevention of Bleeding From the Mouth

Bleeding from the mouth is triggered by a number of circumstances, some of which are easier to prevent than others. Food items that may splinter, such as chicken bones, should be avoided in order to prevent the possibility of getting it lodged in the oral cavity or throat as well as preventing gastrointestinal damage that may lead to internal bleeding.

Outdoor cats may have an increased chance of injury to the mouth due to cars, predatory animals, and even other cats, as well as a higher chance of ingesting poisons such as snail bait or plant fertilizers. Regular veterinary appointments are crucial for felines, particularly as they are experts at hiding discomfort, and these visits may be helpful in uncovering any systemic infections or organ dysfunction before any symptoms arise. Regular dental care is particularly important when addressing the issues that cause bleeding from the mouth in felines.

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Cost of Bleeding From the Mouth

In most cases, bleeding from the mouth is caused by dental disorders, which will run you on average around $850 to $900 to treat. Bleeding that is caused by other issues may be considerably more expensive to treat, including averages for kidney disease and abdominal bleeding in the $2000 range.

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Bleeding From the Mouth Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Calico

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Two Years

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I found my cat dead in our she she must have got out but she had some blood in her mouth. And before she was not social at all and she peed everywhere all the time. Does that sound like a kidney problem

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question, I am sorry for your loss. Without being able to examine her more or know anything about her history, it is not possible for me to say whether that is kidney disease, although she is very young to have kidney disease. If she had blood in her mouth, I would suspect some sort of trauma. Again, I'm sorry for your loss.

Oct. 6, 2020

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Mixed

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Eight Years

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Bleeding From Base Of Tooth #206 And Maybe #104

Our cat has blood on her chin which we found is coming from inside her mouth at the base of tooth #206 and possibly #104. She doesn’t seem to be in pain, is eating and drinking normally and even allows us to rub and gently scratch the sides of her face. Our vet is on vacation until Tuesday, is it alright to wait until then to take our cat in or does she need to be seen ASAP? Originally we thought she had groomed herself until she was bloody, as she has done that before (picture of leg). She does have a history of periodontal disease.

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in my reply, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that she is feeling better and you were able to have her seen.

Oct. 19, 2020

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Affenpinscher

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Three Weeks

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Noisy Breathing

My kitten will try a lot an then it just stop an die an I seen a little blood coming from his mouth

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is feeling better. If they are still having problems, 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. 21, 2020

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Mixed

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Fifteen Years

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Runny Eye Four Days Sudden Bright Red Blood From Mouth

My cat while eating suddenly there was blood in the food and water and on fur. I cleaned up and now there is no more blood

Sept. 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is okay. It sounds like your cat may have some dental disease. If they are still having problems, 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 that might be needed.

Oct. 24, 2020

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Cat

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Seven Years

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Bleeding Gums, Weight Loss

My mom took my cat to an emergency vet due to bleeding of the mouth/gums that started 2 days ago. She has lost weight and only drinks water. The vet said that it looks like gum disease but we couldn’t do tests due to financial issues at the time but she has an appointment with a vet on the 17th, just in the meantime I need some peace of mind haha

Sept. 15, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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Hello I'm sorry that your cat is not doing well. From the picture it is hard to tell exactly where the blood is coming from. I see that it is coming from her mouth but I cannot see the exact location. I recommend feeding her soft food in the mean time and scheduling a sedated oral exam +/- a dental cleaning if needed. Good luck.

Sept. 16, 2020

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Smokey

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tabby

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4 Years

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Weight Loss
Brown Oral Discharge
Occasional Drooling
Refusal To Eat/Loss Of Appetite

My cat, when she was little, got bit by a dog we had. She's had some respiratory issues ever since, but it's never been this bad. She turned four recently and she's been losing weight excessively, she's very boney and doesn't want to eat anything I give her, even her favourites. Recently, she began showing other symptoms. She's been getting this nasty, brown, foul-smelling discharge from her mouth, as well as some occasional drooling. She also takes every opportunity she gets to rub her lips on things such as fingers, knuckles, the ends of pens (while I'm using them, thanks Smokey) but never seems to use her paws. She does groom herself a lot, but only every scratches her ears with her back paws. I've tried looking in her mouth or feeling around but she doesn't want me poking around in there, and I'm too nervous to hold her too tightly because she's such a small, frail little girl. She does seem to have two lumps on either side of her neck, under her jaws though. Inflamed lymph nodes, perhaps? I'm not entirely sure what exactly is there, I haven't done very much research on it yet, but they are there. We've tried medicating her with what we have, but we can't get anything into her mouth because she develops a taste for blood whenever we try. We also can't inject because we don't have needles small enough for her. Under normal circumstances, I would take her to the vet immediately, but we can't afford a vet fee right now. Canadian prices are even worse than American ones, unfortunately. Most signs seem to point to a rotten tooth by my knowledge, most sinus issues are purely caused by the incident that happened when she was a kitten, but I can never be sure, as I don't actually know a lot about cats and their common (or uncommon) medical issues.

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gray

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Persian

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1 Year

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Throat Was Dry And He Liked To Meow And He Liked Tthroat Was Dry And He Liked To Meow And He'D Like To Go
Bump Above Eye
One Eye Was Closed

He got put out the house and 5 months later he had a little of his ear bitten of so i took him to a vet the vet said that the bite was poisonous and he needed to get treated immediately so I said okay and then so four months later she told me I could take him home and then I put him in our backyard and he's an outside cat so when like one month later he had foam coming out of his mouth with blood andhe had both of his his ears completely off and I was crying for him because you know he's only been lifelike one year and I all of them is to be spent with him gone but then I found out it was because from all of the meowing he was doing because he like me to come outside and spend the time with him but I couldn't because I was busy doing something so when I went outside and that day I was so devastated because I loved him and I for one year and I couldn't because I was busy doing something so when I went outside and that day I was so devastated because I loved him and I for one year and I found out that he had been bitten by a snake poisonous snake I was so mad and I was so sad I said I will throw mothballs out there to keep snakes away from my other cat and I swear oooo

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Milky

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Unkown

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7 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Bleeding From Lips/Mouth

Hello I have a cat named milky 6/7 years old she is bleeding from her lip I don't know what it can be she is eating fine and is usually lazy anyway I don't know what I should do

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Pie

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DOMESTIC

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13 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Mouth Salivation
Mouth Lump
Blood In Stool

My 13 year old Tortoiseshell cat has been bleeding on and off from the right side of her mouth, often with some white mucous. It has not affected her behavior, appetite or weight. I took her to the vet who said it is common for older cats to develop long incisor teeth, and the blood I noticed was coming from her lengthened incisor tooth biting down on her own gum. I am giving her anti biotics to prevent an infection ir abcess. Is this condition common and what do I do if it keeps bleeding though no change in behavior or eating? Thanks!

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Posy

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Domestic shorthair

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8 Years

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding From Mouth, Barely Eating,

My cat had a lump on her neck that went from the size of a pea to the size of a grape in about six weeks. We had it removed and biopsied, and she was diagnosed with hemangiomasarcoma. Now, only a few weeks after removing the tumor, the growth is back and she is bleeding from her mouth. She is hungry, but when she eats she bleeds. Therefore, she is barely eating. Because of the rapid regrowth, I'm not sure we can do anything for her. I've been giving her pain medicine until the vet can come to the house. I've also been giving her vials of water.

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