Cat Coughing Up Blood

Cat coughing can often be a symptom of a serious disease and shouldn’t be ignored, especially if the pet is coughing up blood. Coughing is a symptom and not a disease and it’s best to have your pet checked and properly diagnosed by a vet to rule out any serious ailments.

Coughing Blood

Coughs generally occur when the airways to the lung are irritated. A cough is a mechanism whereby the irritant is expelled and the lungs and airways are kept clear. A cat coughing up blood suggests that it has had a lingering or chronic cough for more than 8 weeks.

Symptoms often occurring with a coughing of blood are:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Loss of weight

When Does a Cat Cough up Blood?

A cat generally coughs up blood if it has a pulmonary embolism or lung cancer. It’s therefore important to have your pet diagnosed as soon as possible if he’s coughing up blood on a regular basis.

Diagnosing the Cause of Coughing Blood

Since primary tumors are rare in cats, the vet will recommend diagnostic tests such as a chest X-ray, urine analysis and blood tests. Liver and kidney function should also be tested. The X-ray, blood and urine tests will show the presence and location of the tumor. The vet may also find signs of a pleural effusion in your pet. In this case, symptoms should ease once the fluid is drawn out by the vet. A biopsy of the fluid will be carried out to rule out the presence of cancer as coughing up of blood generally occurs when the cancer is in an advanced stage.

Treatment for the Condition

If cancer is detected, surgery may be performed, to excise the tumor and the lobes it’s attached to. Such a surgery can prevent the cancer from spreading. The treatment may include chemotherapy and radiation in conjunction with the surgery. However, if the cancer has metastasized, it may not be possible to surgically remove the tumor. If this is the case, you should try to keep your pet comfortable and free from pain by treating the symptoms.

A nutritious diet and tender loving care are the best option in such cases. Although chemotherapy can extend your pet’s life by a few months, if the cancer has metastasized these months may not be comfortable for your pet and you should weigh the pros and cons before you choose to go ahead with chemotherapy.

You should seek vet help at the earliest if your pet is coughing up blood as this is generally indicative of a more serious illness. Early treatment might help prevent complications.