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Hematuria (Blood in Urine) in Cats

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Hematuria is the presence of red blood cells in the urine. It may be gross (visible to the naked eye) or microscopic. Possible causes of hematuria include:

  • Bacterial infections of the urinary and genital tracts such as cystitis (bladder infection) or vaginitis

  • Cancer of the urinary or genital tracts

  • Calculi (stones) in the urinary tract

  • Congenital urinary tract abnormalities (those present at birth)

  • Rare parasites of the urinary tract

  • Clotting (bleeding) disorders including anti-coagulant rat poison (warfarin)

  • Trauma

  • Medication-induced (e.g., cystitis caused by cyclophosphamide, a drug used to treat some types of cancer and immune-mediated diseases)

  • Benign idiopathic ("of unknown cause") hematuria originating from the kidney

    The effect of hematuria on the pet may range from no obvious effect to severe. Severe bleeding into the urinary tract may cause the cat to become anemic and may cause weakness or collapse.

    Other symptoms that commonly accompany hematuria include:

  • Painful or difficult urination

  • Straining to urinate

  • Frequent passage of small amounts of urine

  • Abdominal pain

    You should have your pet examined by your veterinarian if you observe hematuria or any of these other symptoms.

    Diagnosis

    Your veterinarian may recommend one or more of the following tests to evaluate your pet for hematuria:

  • Urinalysis
  • Urine culture and sensitivity
  • Microscopic examination of vaginal smears
  • Complete blood count
  • Serum biochemistry tests
  • Clotting profile including platelet count
  • Plain abdominal X-rays
  • Contrast dye X-ray studies
  • Abdominal ultrasound examination

    Treatment

    Treatment depends upon the diagnosis. Your veterinarian may prescribe one or more of the following treatments for your cat:

  • Antibiotics for possible bacterial infection of the urinary or genital tracts
  • Dietary changes for certain types of calculi (stones)
  • Fluid therapy for dehydration
  • Vitamin K for consumption of anti-coagulant rat poison

    Home Care

    The presence of blood in the urine (hematuria) is abnormal. If you observe hematuria, you should take your cat to your veterinarian for evaluation.

    Observe your cat closely for any of the associated clinical signs such as pain or straining when urinating. If possible, obtain a voided (free-catch) urine sample from your pet and take it with you when you visit your veterinarian.

    Administer all prescribed medications as directed by your veterinarian. Promptly bring any unexpected changes in your pet's condition to the attention of your veterinarian. Evaluate your pet's environment for the presence of possible toxins. (specifically, anti-coagulant rat poison).

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