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What is Bleeding From the Nose?

Cats can develop bleeding noses due to a number of circumstances. Circumstances for a bloody nose may be as simple as running into a wall, or it may be due to bacterial or viral infections or parasitic infestation. Even foreign bodies in the nasal passages may be to blame. Serious nosebleeds may cause additional symptoms such as black, tarry stools and dark vomit that appears to have coffee grounds in it. These additional symptoms are a result of ingesting blood due to the bleeding nose. 

  • Blood disorders
  • Foreign object
  • Infections
  • Injury
  • Nasal tumor
  • Parasitic infestation
  • Poison

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Why Bleeding From the Nose Occurs in Cats

Blood Disorders

Some disorders of the blood may cause an overall increase in bleeding incidents. The most common blood disorders that are known to cause problems in felines include feline leukemia and feline infectious anemia, both of which result in anemia, which can induce nosebleeds. 

Foreign Object

Cats may develop a nosebleed due to a foreign object getting caught in their nose, such as a grass seed. A cat with a foreign object in their nose is also likely to be sneezing frequently, and repeated sneezing can prevent the blood in the nasal passages from clotting. 

Infections

Several viral and bacterial illnesses are known to cause bleeding, including bleeding from the nose. Nosebleeds are a symptom of diseases instigated by the bacteria that cause Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, and many upper respiratory viruses also cause bleeding from the nose.

Injury

Nosebleeds can be caused by something as simple as running into something nose first or due to trauma from a cat fight or accident as the nasal passages in felines are very sensitive and tend to bleed easily due to trauma. In many cases, cats that have sustained an injury to the nose have also received injuries that affect the mouth. 

Nasal Tumor

Tumors in the nasal passages can trigger nasal bleeding in more than one way. The tumor may cause bleeding by pressing on the sides of the nasal passages, or it may cause itching and irritation which may cause the cat to scratch its own nose, causing it to bleed. 

Parasitic Infestation

Fleas and ticks are also capable of causing an increase in bleeding by altering the platelet count and reducing the ability of the blood to clot. If the blood has been depleted enough by the parasites, regular nosebleeds may occur. On rare occasions, this kind of bleeding may lead to coma and death if not addressed. 

Poison

Certain types of poison can increase the likelihood of bleeding. One of the more notable poisons to be characterized by this symptom is rat poison.

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What to do if your Cat is Bleeding From the Nose

If your cat develops a nosebleed, the first course of action will be to stop the bleeding. This is usually accomplished by a few simple steps. It is imperative to remain calm during the treatment process as causing additional stress for the animal may also increase their blood pressure. Clean off as much blood as you can and try and ensure that the nasal passages are not blocked, then apply either direct pressure or a cold compress on the top of the muzzle, being careful not to block the nose when doing so. This is of particular concern for brachycephalic felines such as the Persian or Scottish Fold breeds. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, if it occurs repeatedly, or if you have no clear indication of why it is happening you should contact your veterinarian or just bring the cat in. 

The visit will generally start with a full physical where the examining vet 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 nasal passages. The mouth area will also be examined to check for damage or signs of bacterial or viral infections, particularly around the teeth and gums. Along with the standard diagnostic tests of urinalysis, complete blood count and a biochemical profile, there are several other tests that may need to be employed in order to determine the underlying cause of the bloody nose, including imaging of the nasal area using CT scans, MRIs, and x-rays, rhinoscopy evaluations, clotting tests, and serologic tests to check for certain infectious diseases. Based on these tests, you and your veterinarian will determine a treatment plan, which could include the administration of epinephrine to constrict the blood vessels, antibiotic or antifungal medications, and flea and tick treatments. Surgical methods may even be used to remove deeply embedded foreign objects and growths or to repair damage in the nose or mouth.

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Prevention of Bleeding From the Nose

There are several ways to reduce the chances of a nosebleed occurring by lowering the chances of the underlying conditions that can trigger the bleeding. Outdoor cats are more likely than indoor cats to get foreign objects like grass seeds in their noses and may have an increased chance of catching bacterial or viral infections or incurring injury.

Toxins and medications should be stored in cat proof canisters or in cabinets with childproof latches to protect cats that are indoors and if you have a kitten or active cat, steps to kitten-proof the house, such as removing unstable climbing temptations like tablecloths, keeping breakables out of reach, and tying any drapery cords out of reach or cut the loops and plastic ends off altogether, may help to prevent traumatic injuries in the house that might result in a nosebleed. Regular veterinary visits, including dental visits, may also catch nosebleed-inducing illnesses and conditions before any bleeding starts.

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Cost of Bleeding From the Nose

Although the national cost on average for treating nosebleeds in cats is around $800, the cost of treating some of the conditions that cause nosebleeds can run a bit higher. Ehrlichiosis, for instance, can run around $1000, and poisonings average around $2500 to treat successfully.

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Bleeding From the Nose Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Lola

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British short hair

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13 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Sneezing
Pain When Eating
Nose Bleed

My cat Lola just a week ago started sneezing blood, after a day of this we decided to take her to the vet as her eyes were drowsy and did not look good at all. The vet found her teeth were rotten and she suspected she had mouth disease but couldn’t inspect further as Lola was in too much pain with her touching her mouth. We decided to put her on antibiotics for the time being before putting her under anaesthetic for a mouth inspection (as this would be costly). On the 4th night she had deteriorated and we found her laying spread out on the floor with blood everywhere and she was foaming at the mouth and struggling to breathe also, called the emergency late night vet straight away and he said W thought it would be best to leave her over night as she is probably just trying to get comfortable. Within 15 minutes she had passed away... is it possible this wasn’t from mouth disease? The vet we saw initially didn’t do many other checks, just kind of assumed it was the teeth that was causing the problems from the get go!

Aug. 28, 2018

Lola's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

I'm very sorry for the loss of your Lola. It is possible that she had more going on than dental disease, but it can be difficult to assess the cause when there are many things going on, and dental disease was a reasonable thought. Again, I am sorry for your loss.

Aug. 29, 2018

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Lloyd, brother is Harry

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Shorthair

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9 Months

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Not Eating But Hungry

I think my 9 month old cat was hit by car. He had bloody nose and swollen forehead. He had to breath through his mouth all day. Next day he was able to breath through his nose and clean himself a bit. That evening he drank water. Day 3 and he acts like he wants to eat really bad but he just sniffs the soft and hard food and and meows at me for something else. Still wont eat. Suggestions?

July 3, 2018

Lloyd, brother is Harry's Owner

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1 Recommendations

If you suspect that Lloyd was hit by a car you should visit a Veterinarian for an examination to ensure that there are no signs of long term injuries, internal injuries or brain damage; without examining Lloyd I cannot give him the all clear, the inability to eat may be due to pain from the trauma. Your Veterinarian will make a thorough examination especially of the mouth and will also perform a thorough neurological examination as well. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 4, 2018

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