A grey cat stands outside a blue litter box and looks up at the camera.

Hematemesis (Vomiting Blood) in Cats

Hematemesis is the act of vomiting blood. Hematemesis may involve the vomition of new or recent blood, which is bright red. It can also involve the vomition of old, partially digested blood, which has the appearance of brown coffee grounds. There are a variety of causes of vomiting blood in cats and the effects on the cat are also variable. Some are subtle and minor ailments, while others are severe or life threatening.

Causes of Hematemesis (Vomiting Blood) in Cats

There are many potential causes for hematemesis. The most common causes are usually diseases or disorders of the upper gastrointestinal tract, although in some cases, clotting disorders (coagulopathies) may result in bleeding even though the gastrointestinal tract is essentially healthy.

Diagnosing Hematemesis in Cats

Obtaining a complete medical history and performing a thorough physical examination are necessary in order to create an appropriate diagnostic plan for the patient with hematemesis. A history of recent toxin exposure or administration of certain medications may be of paramount importance. Your veterinarian may also recommend the following tests:

Your veterinarian may recommend additional tests to ensure optimal medical care. These are selected on a case-by-case basis:

Treating Hematemesis in Cats

Treatment of severe clinical signs is necessary while diagnostic testing is underway. The following nonspecific (symptomatic) treatments may be applicable to some pets with hematemesis. These treatments may reduce the severity of symptoms or provide temporary relief. Nonspecific therapy is not a substitute for definitive treatment of the underlying disease responsible for your pet’s condition.

Follow-Up Care for Cats Who Vomit Blood

Optimal treatment for your pet requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up evaluations are critical, especially if your cat does not rapidly improve.

Administer all prescribed medications as directed and alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your cat. Also, discontinue or avoid any medication or substance that may be irritating to the stomach lining, especially corticosteroids and aspirin. Return to your veterinarian for follow-up testing as directed.