Health & Care
Cat with mouth open, maybe sneezing.

Is Your Cat Sneezing Blood? What Could It Be?

“Achoo!” What do you do when your kitty’s typical sneezes are accompanied by blood? We turned to the experts for advice about a cat sneezing blood — why it happens and what to do about it.

Jackie Brown  |  Jun 20th 2018

The sight of your cat sneezing blood can be alarming to say the least. Some of the causes of a cat sneezing blood can be serious, while others are easily treated. Many different things can lead to a cat sneezing blood from her nose.

First, why is your cat sneezing blood?

Cat sneezing or making sound with mouth open on a blanket.

A few different things can cause a cat to sneeze blood. Photography ©AlanCRdT | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

“Epistaxis (bloody nose) can be caused by trauma (injury), foreign body, chronic and/or forceful sneezing, high blood pressure, blood clotting disorders (including liver disease and rodenticide toxicity), fungal infections and even cancer,” says Aimee Simpson, VMD, medical director of VCA Cat Hospital of Philadelphia. Certain viral infections can also cause a cat to sneeze blood.

What to do about a cat sneezing blood

If you notice your cat sneezing blood, get her to a veterinarian right away. Some of the causes of a cat sneezing blood, like a foreign object stuck in the nasal cavity, can be painful or uncomfortable. And some things that cause a bloody nose in cats, like rodenticide poisoning, can be deadly if not treated quickly.

If your cat is bleeding profusely from the nose, try to keep her calm and, if she will allow, gently hold an ice pack against her nose to try to slow the bleeding. If your attempts to use an ice pack cause her to become stressed and struggle, skip the ice pack and just get straight to the vet.

Diagnosing a cat who’s sneezing blood

Orange and white cat sneezing or making a face.

How does a vet determine what’s causing your cat to sneeze blood? Photography ©Clement Peiffer | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Your vet will do a complete physical exam and ask you a lot of questions about your cat’s lifestyle, how long you have been seeing symptoms, and whether your cat could have gotten into something toxic like rat poison (this includes catching and eating a rodent that had eaten poison), pesticides or certain medications. Finally, the vet will likely run some tests to try to narrow down the cause of the bleeding.

“A blood-pressure screen can quickly rule out hypertension,” Dr. Simpson says. “Blood work should include a chemistry screen, complete blood cell count (CBC) and coagulation (clotting) profile. FeLV/FIV testing and a Cryptococcus (fungal) titer may also be recommended. To rule out cancer, imaging of the nasal passages with radiographs (x-rays), CT scan or rhinoscopy can be done and biopsies can be taken.”

Treatment for a cat sneezing blood

The treatment for a cat sneezing blood depends on the cause of the bleeding. The most important thing to keep in mind if you ever see your cat sneezing blood is don’t take a wait-and-see attitude. Always get your cat to a veterinary clinic or emergency hospital as quickly as possible in case the root cause of the bleeding is something that requires urgent medical treatment.

Thumbnail: Photography ©cc-stock | iStock / Getty Images Plus. 

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