My Cat Is Vomiting Blood – What Should I Do?
If your cat is vomiting blood, this is a potentially serious medical condition that requires immediate medical attention. Since there are many possible causes for vomiting blood, your veterinarian can partner with you to identify the source of the problem and recommend the appropriate treatment plan.
How can I tell if my cat is vomiting blood?
In more obvious cases, a cat’s vomit may be streaked with fresh red blood, indicating it is from the stomach or upper part of the small intestine. If the blood is partially digested, from lower in the intestines, it will look more like coffee grounds. Your cat may show signs of tiredness, lack of appetite and/or abnormal stool, including diarrhea. Blood in the stool may appear fresh if it is from the colon or dark and tarry or sticky if it is from the upper parts of the intestinal tract or stomach.
What should I do if my cat is vomiting blood or passing blood in the stool?
Again, this is a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary care. The best thing you can do for your cat is to contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. Bleeding from the intestinal tract or vomiting blood can be life-threatening, depending on the rate of blood loss and the underlying cause. Severe blood loss from vomiting or diarrhea can lead to serious problems with the other organs and can ultimately lead to death.
What can the veterinarian do if my cat is vomiting blood?
Your veterinarian will take a careful history and may perform a series of tests to determine the severity of the blood loss, your pet’s ability to form blood clots normally and to identify the source of the bleeding. These tests may include a complete blood cell count, internal organ function screen, fecal analysis, clotting profile, X-rays and other tests deemed appropriate.
Possible causes for bloody vomit in felines include:
- Chronic severe vomiting
- Foreign bodies (including hairballs)
- Parasites (including heartworms)
- Underlying medical issues (including liver or kidney disease)
- Toxicity (certain plants and heavy metals such as lead or arsenic)
- Infection (bacterial or viral)
- Stomach ulcers, which can be caused by medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids and aspirin
- Clotting disorders (including rat poison ingestion)
- Trauma, including eating bones or other materials, which injure the gastrointestinal tract
- Tumors of the stomach or esophagus
When the underlying cause is established, then appropriate treatment will be recommended. Treatment may include supportive care with the administration of intravenous fluids, anti-vomiting/nausea medication, gastric protectants, antibiotics and/or the deworming of your cat.
You can get more information about your cat’s health in our Pet Health section or by making an appointment at your local Banfield hospital.