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Cats are more like humans than you might think. We share many of the same health issues with cats, including serious health problems like diabetes and strange health conditions like nose bleeds. Cat nose bleeds can be an immediate cause for concern because they’re not a common health ailment for cats. However, they can happen in any animal, including humans, dogs, and cats.
If you’re wondering, “Why is my cat’s nose bleeding?” it may warrant a trip to the vet. In many cases, cat nose bleeds are not a serious health concern, but they can indicate serious health issues like toxin ingestion. Therefore, you shouldn’t wait to consult a vet if you notice your cat’s nose bleeding.
- What Is A Nose Bleed?
- What Are The Symptoms Of Nose Bleeding In Cats?
- What Causes A Cat’s Nose To Bleed?
- What To Do If Your Cat’s Nose Is Bleeding
- Final Notes
What Is A Nose Bleed?
Nose bleeds in cats are called epistaxis, and it can be a symptom of a serious medical condition, sinus or respiratory infection, or injury to the nose.1 You may notice your cat’s nose bleeding in one or both nostrils, which can affect any cat regardless of its age, sex, or underlying health conditions. Of course, if your cat’s nose is bleeding, the first thing you should do is try to stop the bleeding. Then, consult your vet because nose bleeds could be a symptom of a serious illness like organ failure.
What Are The Symptoms Of Nose Bleeding In Cats?
The most common symptom of nose bleeding in cats is blood coming from either one or both nostrils. However, depending on the cause of your cat’s nosebleed, they may experience various symptoms, ranging from lethargy to sneezing. In some cases, cats with bloody noses will experience the following:
- Sneezing and discharge
- Weakness and lethargy
- Difficulty breathing
- Pale gums
Unfortunately, since there are so many potential causes of a bloody nose, it’s impossible to determine which other symptoms your cat might experience until they’ve been examined and diagnosed by a vet. For example, a viral infection can cause sneezing and bloody discharge from the nose, and toxin ingestion can cause weakness, collapse, seizure, and death.
What Causes A Cat’s Nose To Bleed?
As we’ve mentioned, everything from minor illnesses that resolve on their own to major infections, diseases, and poisoning can cause nose bleeds in cats. In some cases, vets might not be able to determine the cause of your cat’s nosebleed, but it’s still important to have them examined as soon as possible. The most common causes of nosebleeds in cats are infection, injury, and diseases, including some of the following:
- Trauma to the nose or head: Injury to the nose or head can cause bleeding, resulting in nosebleeds in cats. Anything from getting hit by a car to running into a wall or fighting with another cat can cause your cat’s nose to bleed internally or externally.
- Bacterial or viral infections: Some infections, such as feline leukemia, can cause nose bleeds in cats.
- Liver or kidney disease: Liver and kidney issues can affect blood clotting and blood pressure, resulting in nosebleeds.
- Cancer: Some types of cancer can cause nose bleeds in cats because it affects the head, nose, and/or sinuses.
- Allergies: Allergies can irritate and dry the nasal passages and sinuses, resulting in your cat’s nose bleeding.
- Poisoning: Toxins, such as rat poison, can cause nose bleeds because it causes internal bleeding that may leave the body through the nose.
- Foreign bodies in the nose: If your cat gets something stuck in their nose, it could irritate their nasal cavity to the point of bleeding. Anything from a blade of grass to a piece of litter can irritate your cat’s nose and cause it to bleed.
- Periodontal disease: Severe dental disease in cats can cause fractured teeth and infections that affect the nasal cavity, causing bleeding and swelling. If your cat has bad breath or pain while eating, they may have a tooth root abscess that can cause inflammation and decreased appetite.
It’s important to remember that your cat’s nose is bleeding as a symptom of a primary condition. In most cases, the bleeding will accompany other symptoms, so it’s important to monitor your cat and report any unusual behaviors to your vet to help them complete their diagnosis.
What To Do If Your Cat’s Nose Is Bleeding
Since there are so many potential causes of cat nose bleeds, you should consult a vet as soon as possible. Diagnosing the cause of your cat’s nose bleed as early as possible can help prevent serious underlying diseases from worsening. When you take your cat to the vet, you should discuss any other symptoms they’ve been experiencing and any changes in their daily routine or behavior. For example, if your cat recently got into a fight with another cat, you should let your vet know to help them determine which diagnostic methods to use to determine the underlying cause of the nose bleed.
Your vet will complete a physical examination to help them understand your cat’s current health status. Depending on what they believe to be the cause, they can use several diagnostic methods to determine the underlying health condition, including blood testing. Your vet will likely also take a nasal swab to look for signs of bacteria or fungus that may contribute to their nose bleed. In addition, they’ll perform a coagulation profile, which will tell them if your cat is experiencing a blood clotting problem contributing to the nose bleeds.1
Unfortunately, some causes of cat nose bleeds are unknown, so your vet will try to rule out serious underlying illnesses first.
Cat Nose Bleed Treatments
Overall, your cat’s bloody nose treatment will depend on the vet’s diagnosis, and treatments can range from prescription medications to surgery for more severe cases. In most cases, your vet will aim to treat the underlying condition causing the bloody nose. For example, if your cat is found to have cancer, your vet will discuss treatment methods, and treating cancer should reduce the occurrences of nose bleeds. Some common treatments for cat nose bleed include the following:
- Ice and pressure therapy: Ice and pressure therapy can treat acute cases of nose bleeding in cats due to trauma or inflammation from allergies.
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics will prevent or treat nose infections, depending on the cause of the infection.
- IV fluids: If cats are experiencing other secondary symptoms like lethargy, they may be put on IV fluids to improve hydration while your vet continues to diagnose the underlying cause.
- Anxiety medications: Stress can increase the risk of nose bleeds in cats. If your vet can’t determine an underlying health issue, they may suggest anxiety medication to reduce your cat’s stress and lower their blood pressure.
- Surgery: If your cat has a foreign body stuck in their nose and the vet cannot remove it safely, they may suggest sedation and surgery to remove the object and repair the nose. This method is also used if your cat has a tumor that must be removed to restore their breathing and prevent future nose bleeds.1
- Allergy medication: Allergies can lead to dry nasal passages and sinus issues that cause your cat’s nose to bleed. If your vet determines your cat has allergies, they may prescribe allergy medication or cat vitamins and suggest removing potential allergens from your home.
Preventing Cat Nose Bleeds
Unfortunately, you can’t always prevent cat nose bleeds. However, you can take proper care of your cat’s health by ensuring they have a safe play space, eat a healthy diet, and get enough exercise. Your cat’s prognosis will depend on the underlying cause of their nose bleed. For example, a cat experiencing nose bleeds due to allergies may receive medication to prevent nose bleeds and reduce other allergy symptoms. Meanwhile, a cat with a tumor in their nose will need surgery, which carries risk.
As with any illness, the sooner you get treatment, the better your cat’s prognosis. Therefore, as soon as you notice your cat’s nose is bleeding, you should make an appointment with your vet for diagnosis and treatment. Unfortunately, it may take multiple tests to determine the underlying cause of your cat’s nose bleed, but your vet can walk you through the process and the different tests they’ll perform to diagnose your cat and provide them with the best treatment.
Your cat’s nose is naturally wet and feels cool to the touch. However, it can tell you a lot about their health. For example, if your cat is bleeding from the nose, it may indicate a serious underlying health concern. Don’t hesitate to consult a vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.
Dutch’s telemedicine for pets can help diagnose and treat your cat’s bloody nose. Once we determine the underlying cause, we can find the best treatment plan for your cat based on their health and options. Ready to learn more about what your cat’s nose is trying to tell you? Try Dutch today.
“Nose Bleed in Cats.” PetMD, https://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/respiratory/c_ct_epistaxis.