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What is Vomiting Blood?

We never want to see one of our loved ones suffering. If you’ve ever had a pet, you know they are as much a part of the family as anyone. There are times to be very concerned when your cat is acting differently. One of these times would be if your cat is vomiting blood.

It may be a bit difficult to even notice at first that your cat is vomiting blood. If it is coming from the stomach or upper part of the small intestine, then the blood will appear bright red in the vomit. If the vomit looks a bit like dirt or coffee grounds, then the blood could be coming from the lower intestines.

Seek medical attention immediately for your cat if you believe there is blood in the vomit. It could be life threatening depending upon how much blood there is and what could be happening to the cat’s organs on the inside. There are a few main reasons why your cat may be vomiting blood. 

  • Foreign bodies 
  • Parasites
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Trauma

Why Vomiting Blood Occurs in Cats

Foreign Bodies

Felines are a curious creature, and although canines are more apt to ingest foreign objects, cats are not immune. The consumption of thread, with perhaps a needle attached, plants, or bone fragments from the garbage or an animal (if your cat is allowed outside) may cause intestinal blockages or injury that could cause your cat to vomit blood. If you suspect your pet has ingested a potentially dangerous item, a veterinary visit is warranted without delay.

Parasites

Intestinal worms and parasitic infection can lead to your cat vomiting blood. Heartworm, tapeworm, roundworm, hookworm and other parasites can cause intestinal irritation that can bring on inflammation of the bowel and colon or initiate symptoms of respiratory distress that could include vomiting blood. 

Stomach Ulcers

Stomach ulcers are painful lesions which can remain raw indefinitely due to the exposure to acids in the stomach. Many cats will experience chronic vomiting which contains blood as well as other symptoms like pale gums and weight loss.

Trauma

Any sort of major trauma can lead to your cat vomiting blood. There may be other signs as well that your cat has been seriously hurt such as loss of balance, panting, and dilated pupils. If your cat has been outdoors, there is a possibility he has been struck by a motorized vehicle or experienced a fall from a high distance.

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What to do if your Cat is Vomiting Blood

Vomiting blood is a serious sign of ill health indicating that you must bring your cat immediately to a veterinarian. It is imperative to act quickly and not wait and hope for this to get better on its own.

Once at the clinic, the veterinary team will work to make sure that your pet is stable before moving forward with a diagnosis. Laboratory work such as a complete blood count, fecal sample and urinalysis may pinpoint the cause by determining if anemia, parasites, bacteria or infection are present. Additional diagnostic tools that may be put to use are x-rays and ultrasound, which may be able to determine if there is an obstruction caused by a foreign body or tumor. Trauma may be identified this way as well, with an MRI or CT scan available if further imaging is needed. Your veterinarian may perform an endoscope to look for the presence of stomach ulcers if this condition is expected.

Allowing the veterinary team to evaluate your cat for causes of vomiting blood ensures that your feline companion will have the care needed to bring him back to good health.

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Prevention of Vomiting Blood

Regular trips to the veterinarian can do wonders for your cat’s health. It can prevent the possibility of major infection by parasites. They can offer preventative medication to greatly reduce the risk of any sort of parasitic invader.

Trauma to your cat can be easily avoided if the cat is kept indoors. However, once the cat is outside, it is open to attack from other animals or is at risk of vehicular trauma. Your cat may face uncertainty while being in the outside world. Some felines are aware of the dangers around them, others are not. 

Short of following around your cat with a spray bottle and dousing him whenever he gets near something he shouldn’t, all cats at different times are going to swallow foreign bodies. That is what pets do. The key is to minimize the risk by placing all toxic, sharp and deadly objects safely away.

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Cost of Vomiting Blood

Treatment for a cat that is vomiting blood can become expensive depending upon what the cause is. If treatment involves a deworming medication, the cost may average around $250. 

If your cat has ingested a foreign object that is causing enough damage to have him vomiting blood, you could be looking at a higher price to pay. Surgery could be the only option in removing the foreign body and could cost around $1000.

If your cat is vomiting blood because of some sort of major trauma, he is quite possibly suffering from internal bleeding of a major organ. Surgery could be the only hope in remedying the situation. Major surgeries are expensive for animals and people. Thousands of dollars could be needed for your cat’s surgery. However, as we all know, if there is a chance to save your pet, then many pet owners will pay any cost. The good news is that many veterinarians will offer payment plans or loan options.

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Vomiting Blood Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Mix/ Tabby

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3 years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Started Vomiting Food About A Week Ago, Then This Morning Threw Up Reddish/Pink - Pretty Sure It’S Blood. No Other Symptoms.

Started vomiting food about a week ago. Then this morning, he threw up reddish/pink - pretty sure it’s blood. No other symptoms.

Sept. 12, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Since this seems to be a problem that is not resolving and it's getting worse, it would be best to have your cat seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. He may have a foreign body, a parasite, or an infection that needs treatment. Vomiting blood can be quite a serious problem, and it would be best to have them seen as soon as you can. I hope that he feels better soon.

Sept. 12, 2020

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Mixed

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6.5 Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Blood In Vomit

We recently changed my cats food from Science Diet to Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free because he was breaking out on his chin and gaining weight plus having terrible dander and we heard it could be caused by his food. Over the past few days he has been throwing up more often and just yesterday I noticed what appears to be spots of blood in his vomit. Could this be caused by the change of food and if so what do you recommend or do you think we need to get him in?

July 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. While the problem may be caused by the change in food, if he is vomiting that frequently, and there's blood in it, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian, I think. They will be able to examine him, see what might be going on, and give him medication to help stop the vomiting. I hope that everything goes well for him and he feels better soon.

July 28, 2020

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Long hair domestic

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Blood In Vomit

My cat had blood in her vomit. Also looked like.. insides like intestines or something.

July 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Cats can have problems with vomiting if they have intestinal infections, have you eaten something they shouldn't, or may have parasites. Since he has blood in her vomit, it would be best to have her seen by your veterinarian, as they can examine her and see what's going on. Once they know more, they will be able to let you know what treatment options there are. I hope that everything goes well for her.

July 28, 2020

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ELVIS

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Manx mix

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6 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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None

My cat is a strictly indoor cat. He is a great mouser and therefore sometimes he gets worms- he vomits them up. Today he vomited one long noodle looking worm with a hair ball and his food. The liquid was tinged with blood

Aug. 2, 2018

ELVIS' Owner

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0 Recommendations

There are various different causes for the presence of blood in vomit, sometimes in cases of parasites blood may be present due to inflammation; since Elvis likes to catch mice you should ensure that he is wormed regularly with an effective anthelmintic to cover him and not to treat only when worms are present. Give him an anthelmintic (best to get one from your Veterinarian as pet shop ones are less effective) and monitor for improvement. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 2, 2018

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Sassy

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Persian

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6 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Throwng Up And Acting Listless

I have four cats who recently got fleas. I gave them Capstar hoping to eliminate the fleas quickly. Within an hour of giving them the Capstar pill two of my cats were throwing up liquid tinged with blood. Now they are not eating very well and act like they don't feel good.

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