Epistaxis in Cats (Nose Bleeds)
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Epistaxis in Cats (Nose Bleeds)

Cats
Health & Safety

Cats can develop nose bleeds for several reasons and when they do their condition is referred to as epistaxis. One reason why they might develop a nose bleed is because they are suffering from a condition known as coagulopathy which is when their blood does not clot correctly. Other reasons could include injury or a wound, but more serious health issues can cause epistaxis in cats too and this includes leukemia and other forms of cancer.

Signs to Watch Out For

The most obvious sign of there being something wrong with a cat is when they constantly have nose bleeds even when they have not been injured or wounded in any way. Other signs of there being something wrong with a cat that's suspected of suffering from the condition could include the following:

  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums and mucous membranes
  • Collapse

Diagnosing the Problem

A vet would need to examine a cat thoroughly and would typically recommend carrying out several tests to confirm a diagnosis which would also help rule out any other reasons why a cat might be suffering from epistaxis. The tests a vet would usually want to carry out could include the following:

  • A complete blood count
  • A blood chemical profile
  • A urinalysis
  • A coagulation profile
  • X-rays
  • CAT scan

Treatment Options

If the vet finds that a cat is suffering from coagulopathy which is the root cause of their nose bleeds, the cat would need to hospitalised so their condition can be closely monitored while they are being initially treated. Coagulopathy can be caused by liver disease and this would need to be treated as a matter of urgency.

Should the vet find the underlying cause of a cat's condition is due to them suffering from a blood clotting abnormality (haemophilia), they would need to give a cat blood transfusions to stabilise their condition. Should the cause of the nose bleeds be due to a platelet issue, then a vet would typically prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to correct the problem.

Sometimes cats can develop epistaxis as a result of them suffering from a bacterial infection in which case a vet would typically recommend putting them on a course of antibiotics and it's important to complete the course of the treatment for it to be effective. Should the nose bleeds be due to some sort of bone marrow growth, a vet might recommend chemotherapy or radiotherapy, but only after the cat has been examined by a veterinary oncologist.

Should the vet find that a foreign object has got lodged in a cat's nose passages which has caused the nose bleeds, they would need to remove it and then decide whether an infection might flare up in which case they would then recommend the best way of treating the condition which could include prescribing specific nasal sprays.

Living with a Cat with Epistaxis

Once a cat has been treated for the underlying cause of their nose bleeds and allowed to go home, it's important they be kept in a quiet environment during their recovery time which helps prevent any excitement which could result in more haemorrhaging. Cats need a lot of supportive care which helps speed up their recovery time and they would need to have follow-up visits to the vet who would want to check their progress after having suffered from epistaxis.

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