Why Is Your Cat Vomiting Blood?

Cat vomiting could be attributed to dietary indiscretion, hairballs and several gastrointestinal ailments such as stomach ulcers or internal tumors. Vomit that's bloody in nature should be diagnosed promptly to rule out life threatening conditions. The term hematemesis is used to describe symptoms of vomiting blood. Pet owners should also prevent the use of over the counter drugs to reduce vomiting, as it's important to understand the underlying cause and administer appropriate prescribed medication.

Causes of Vomiting Blood

In order to understand the type of underlying condition involved, the vet will perform several diagnostic tests. Pet owners should also examine the vomit to check the color of blood and quantity present. The most common cause of hematemesis is gastrointestinal tract disorders. They include intestinal ulcers, abdominal tumors and coagulopathy. Internal bleeding that leads to digested blood also shows up as dark blood in the vomit. In addition, cats may vomit blood that's ingested from bleeding that occurs in the respiratory tract. Pet owners should carefully monitor cats exhibiting hematemesis and inform the vet of any accompanying symptoms present.

Symptoms Include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Sudden collapse
  • Abdominal enlargement
  • Loss of appetite

Diagnosis of Hematemesis

The symptoms exhibited vary according to the health concern present. The vet will conduct a thorough physical examination and palpate the cat's stomach to detect swelling. After careful consideration of the cat's age and medical history, the vet will perform a complete blood count test, abdominal ultrasound and chest X-ray. The vet will also examine the cat's nasal passage to detect intranasal ulcers or tumors. If the vet detects any internal bleeding, the cat will be hospitalized to avoid death and provide necessary supportive care. If the cause of bleeding is unknown, the vet may use an endoscope to check the gastrointestinal tract for any abnormalities present and obtain a few samples of tissue for laboratory analysis.

Treatment of Hematemesis

The treatment varies according to the underlying health concern. Cats suffering from tumors are treated with surgical extraction of the tumor and chemotherapy medication if malignancy is confirmed. Other causes that aren't life threatening are treated with oral medication and prevention. Since certain corticosteroid medications cause side effects such as internal bleeding, the drugs will be discontinued if hematemesis occurs. If blood is present in vomit due to ingestion of foreign objects or objects that cause intestinal obstruction, the cat will be subjected to surgical extraction. Supportive care includes IV fluids, oxygen therapy and blood transfusion to maintain normal blood flow and electrolyte balance.

Tips for Pet Owners

Although certain conditions such as intestinal tumors cannot be controlled at home, pet owners could take certain precautions to avoid environmental factors that lead to hematemesis. Anti-inflammatory medications shouldn't be administered for long periods of time as they cause digestive tract bleeding. In addition, pet owners should follow proper dental hygiene to prevent periodontal diseases that cause oral bleeding. It's best to administer prescribed medication according to vet instructions and take the cat for scheduled follow up vet checks to determine response to treatment.

Irrespective of other symptoms that accompany hematemesis, pet owners should promptly take the cat for a vet check if she's vomiting blood. Prompt diagnosis and early treatment can often save the pet from life-threatening situations.