Hematemesis in Cats

in Cat

Hematemesis in cats can be extremely dangerous and you may not know where the blood is actually coming from. The blood from this condition can be bright red or can be very brown and almost resemble coffee grinds. It may be a true form of Hematemesis that your cat is experiencing, or it can be a secondary form. If it is the true form, your cat needs immediate attention and may have to be hospitalized.

The color of the blood will depend on the exposure to your pet's gastric juices and the length of time that this blood has been in the stomach. If it has been in the stomach for over two hours and digested, this is where it gets the coffee ground appearance.

If it is fresh blood it indicates that there is a new problem such as a hemorrhage and the blood has had no contact with the juices, therefore it will be red.

Hematemesis is the vomiting of blood by your cat. This condition can be extremely frightening for owners and it will at first be very difficult to identify the actual cause, but it will be extremely important to understand exactly what kind of blood that your cat is vomiting. There are two kinds of Hematemesis; true and secondary.

The secondary form of this condition may be from your cat either sneezing blood, coughing blood, or blood some where in the mouth that has been swallowed. Once it has been swallowed it is exposed to your cats gastric juices before it is vomited back up. Although this is a concern, it is generally not a real serious threat to your pet.

However, the true form is something entirely different. If it has the appearance of flakes, streaks, or blood clots and is reddish in appearance as opposed to brown and granular, it is an indication that your cat has a very serious underlying condition that needs immediate attention.


Hematemesis will produce several symptoms in your cat with the most obvious being blood in the vomit. However, there are other symptoms that you can watch for. Anorexia and diarrhea can be seen in both forms, but is most common in the secondary form as your cat simply does not feel well. Both forms may also show digested dark blood in the feces which is referred to as melena.

However, the more serious symptoms to watch for and may indicate that your pet has the true form will be fresh blood in the feces that is referred to as hematochezia. Along with this symptom you cat may develop a very tender and painful abdomen, as well as very rapid breathing as their condition continues to erode from the loss of blood.

At this point it will be critical to examine your pet's gums; if they are pale, your cat is already in serious trouble.

If the condition worsens even further, your cat may show signs of bleeding in several other parts of their body, become very weak, and could collapse or even go into shock. If it reaches this stage, it may be too late to save your cat.


There are several potential causes of Hematemesis and the most common will be diseases or some type of disorder in their upper gastrointestinal tract. However, it could also be caused by clotting.

The first potential cause may be from bleeding disorders that used to be very uncommon with cats. However, they are becoming more common especially in large urban cities where there is a large amount of warfarin used. This is the major ingredient in rat poison and can be deadly to your cat.

Warfarin is an anticoagulant and what it is doing to your cat is exactly what it was made to do in mice and rats. It is made to prevent the formation of blood clots which causes rodents to bleed to death.

The next common cause will be from gastrointestinal ulcerations or ulcers and can have several causes. These ulcerations could be caused by a foreign object that your cat has ingested, especially if they roam a lot and have eaten bones that may now be lacerating their intestinal tract. Or it could be from a tumor either in their esophagus or stomach.

A tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue that is the result of an uncontrolled and progressive multiplication of cells resulting in a swelling in your cat.

Hematemesis could also be caused by a chronic inflammation of your cat's esophagus. This condition is often referred to as GERD, which is back washing of your cat's stomach acid and bile into the esophagus or the swallowing tube.

It is the result of your cat's stomach inability to keep acid and digestive juices out of the esophagus. The final major causes of gastrointestinal ulcerations could be from metabolic diseases such as kidney failure or liver disease.


Treatments will depend on if the cause is true or secondary. This situation that your cat is facing is very serious and you will need to follow your veterinarian's direction. You will also need to stop any drugs immediately such as corticosteroids or aspirin that you may be giving your cat.

Treatments that will be used for slowing the symptoms may be stopping all food and water for up to 36 hours to allow the gastrointestinal tract to heal. Very bland foods are usually introduced for a short period of time until the vomiting has stopped altogether.

Blood transfusions may also be administered if there has been a lot of blood lost as well as fluid therapy.

Your cat may seek out and eat grass as it is natures way to clean out the vomiting as well as settling their stomach. Licorice extract can also help your cat with this condition as they recover as it has a natural healing process. This herb has been used for centuries as a soothing and coating agent in both pets and humans.

It is also especially effective with gastrointestinal ulcerations, GERD or heartburn from acid reflex, as well as inflammatory disorders.


Your cat vomiting blood is an extremely dangerous condition and it will be very important to identify the type of blood that is being vomited very early. Once identified, getting the correct treatment for your cat will be paramount in stabilizing them and than correcting the underlying cause.

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Frank Will has 1 articles online

I am an avid lover of pets and my wife and I have had several pets throughout our years. We are especially fond of dogs, and we have a 12 year old Dalmatian (our 3rd) and a "mutt" that we rescued when someone threw him away to die in a vacant field.

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Hematemesis in Cats

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This article was published on 2010/03/27