Cat nosebleeds are technically known as epistaxis. It’s when a cat experiences acute hemorrhage from the nasal cavity, nasopharynx or the nostril.
It is very rare for cats to get nosebleeds and if your starts getting them, take it to the vet immediately. It occurs in cats at any age, from any sex or breed.
Most nosebleeds are caused by trauma or infections of the upper respiratory tract. Other causes, however, are acuter and require medical attention.
Symptoms will include:
- Bleeding from the nose
- Nasal discharge
- Pawing at the face or nose
- Bad breath
- Trouble breathing
- Facial swelling
- Dizziness/ confusion
- Prolonged bleeding from injection sites or wounds
- Bleeding gums
Epistaxis causes in cats
Nose bleeding in most cases indicates an infection, injury, disease or disorder. Common nosebleed causes include:
- Nasal injury or Trauma
- Head injury or trauma
- Bacterial Infection
- Rat poisoning or rodenticide
- Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
- Liver or kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
- Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia
- Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)bone marrow disease.
- Fungal disease
- Some medications
- Environmental factors
- Dental abscesses
- Von Willebrand’s disease
Symptoms and diagnosis
Due to the many conditions that cause nosebleeds, diagnosis of the cause will require the vet to carry out different diagnostic methods. Give the vet your cats medical history, their behavior, their daily routine and other symptoms observed.
If your pet has been injured or has been around poisons or toxins, tell the vet. The vet will carry out a full physical examination that focuses on the nasal abnormalities, facial and ocular.
The vet will examine the samples for bacteria and fungus. Blood testing will involve serum biochemistry, blood cell count, clotting test, and electrolyte panel. A urinalysis will also be done. If the cause of the nosebleed is not identified in these examinations, the vet will use diagnostic imaging techniques like an X-ray, to observe nasal passages and other surrounding structures. A tissue biopsy or rhinoscopy (where an endoscope is used to examine nasal cavities) can also be done.
The treatment option you go for will depends on the underlying cause. It can involve simple measures like stopping the bleeding, medications or invasive measures like blood transfusions and surgery. Do not provide medication unless prescribed by a doctor to avoid causing complications. Some of the treatments used include:
This is applied to the nose and face to help stop bleeding. It also helps with any facial swelling. This can be used when bleeding is due to injury or inflammation. The icing helps stop the bleeding. If this does not work, gauze is packed into the nasal cavities to decrease the flow of blood.
In case of an infection, the vet will prescribe medication. This will include antibiotics and medication to eliminate parasites or antifungals. This will depend on what caused the infection and proper dosing will be required to minimize side effects.
This one is used when the cat experiences lethargy or weakness. They help hydrate the animal and restore its electrolyte balance.
The vet will prescribe drugs that reduce blood pressure and help reduce stress levels. The medication will be on a long-term basis.
This may be done to remove tumors or objects in the nasal cavities. Surgery will also be done to cauterize blood vessels or repair damage. This will require hospitalization.
If the cat has anemia or blood disorders, then a plasma or blood transfusion may be necessary. The cat must undergo blood typing and correct transfusion protocol to reduce risks.
Follow your vet’s instructions and treatment correctly by giving proper doses and going for follow-up visits. If the symptoms worsen or return, take the cat to the vet. As the cat recovers, avoid changing their environment or stressing them.
- The Pet Lover's Guide to Cat and Dog Skin Diseases By Karen L. Campbell