As cat owners, we’re dedicated to providing the best care and attention to our feline companions at all times. However, it can be distressing to discover blood in your cat's stool. Blood in the stool, also known as hematochezia, is a concerning symptom that should not be ignored.
It can be an indication of underlying health issues that require prompt attention and veterinary care. Understanding the potential causes of blood in cat stool is crucial for cat owners, as it can help in identifying and addressing the problem effectively.
In this article, we’re here to discuss the causes of blood in a cat’s stool from food allergies to infections, infestations, medications, and stress. As a side note, it’s important to never self-diagnose or attempt to treat the issue at home.
Blood in stool is a serious issue that requires a thorough examination and diagnostic tests. Early intervention is the best way to ensure your cat's well-being. If you’re a Waggel member you can seek immediate veterinary care with Joii, an online vet care provider offering 24/7 consultations for free.
Blood in cat stool can occur for various reasons. Though it is often associated with irritation or inflammation of the digestive tract. As a cat owner, it’s your responsibility to be clued up on the different conditions that can lead to blood in cat stool as observing signs of illness early on can help your vet make a diagnosis sooner rather than later.
For instance, you might observe a streak of blood or blood spots in a normal stool, or the stool might be loose. Loose stool coupled with blood can indicate a serious issue.
However, we understand that it can be difficult trying to understand why blood has suddenly appeared in your cat’s poop and are here to help. Below we list the most common reasons for blood in cat stool.
Medication side effects
Anal gland issues
It’s important to observe new symptoms and always consult with your veterinarian for an official diagnosis. Whilst it can be tempting to look for answers online, only a professional can draw up a safe and effective treatment plan.
So, we’ve listed the different conditions that can cause blood in cat stool but what do they really mean? Fortunately, we take a closer look below.
Food allergies: Cats can develop allergies to certain ingredients in their diet, such as proteins or grains. These allergies can cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to blood in the stool. Moreover, food intolerance may also be mistaken for a dietary allergy and can similarly result in blood in cat poop.
Infections: Bacterial or viral infections can affect a cat's intestinal tract and result in bloody stools. Common culprits include bacterial gastroenteritis or viral infections like panleukopenia.
Parasites: Parasitic infestations, such as worms (e.g., roundworms, hookworms) or protozoa (e.g., Giardia, Coccidia), can irritate the intestinal lining, causing bleeding in the stool. The intestinal tract has delicate blood vessels, which can rupture when inflamed.
Medication side effects: Certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids, may have side effects that include gastrointestinal irritation or bleeding, leading to blood in the stool.
Anal gland issues: Anal gland problems, such as impaction or infection, can cause discomfort and inflammation in the rectal area, leading to bloody stools. In some cases, this inflammation can be severe enough to cause blood clots to appear in the stool.
Colitis: Colitis refers to inflammation of the colon, which can result from various factors, including infections, stress, dietary changes, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Colitis can present with stools with blood.
Stress: Cats are funny, sensitive little creatures and stress or anxiety can have a significant impact on their digestive system. Chronic stress can lead to inflammation and gastrointestinal issues, including bloody stools. Stress can be caused by things such as moving house, a new addition to the family, or fireworks season, for example.
Besides the above-mentioned causes, other factors like kidney disease or toxin exposure could also result in bloody stools. Kidney disease may affect the volume of blood filtered through the kidneys, and this might somehow present as blood in the stool. Toxin exposure, especially if your cat ingests something it shouldn't, can cause irritation and bleeding in the digestive tract.
We know blood in your cat’s stool can be a scary thought but it’s best to be clued up on the signs and symptoms rather than hoping it’ll go away on its own.
The following list includes symptoms to look out for:
Presence of blood in stool, no matter how small
Changes in stool consistency
Changes in appetite
Changes in behaviour
Monitoring your cat’s symptoms is very important and will help your vet to determine a cause and subsequent treatment. Leaving the issue untreated could place your cat in a very dangerous situation, which none of us, as pet owners, want to see.
If you observe blood in your cat's stool, it is crucial to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. While it may be concerning, reaching out to a professional is the best course of action to ensure your cat's health and well-being.
At a veterinary visit, your cat will most likely undergo a physical examination first. To do this, they will palpate the abdomen and check for signs of pain or discomfort. This examination helps your veterinarian gather important information about your cat's overall health and identify any abnormalities.
The veterinarian will also inquire about your cat's medical history, including previous health issues, vaccinations, and any recent changes in behaviour (such as drinking, sleeping or appetite. Providing accurate information about your cat's past and current medical conditions is essential for an accurate diagnosis.
You will be asked to describe the observed blood in your cat's stool, including details such as the frequency, consistency, and colour of the blood. It is important to be as specific as possible to help the veterinarian in their evaluation, so if you need to, take some written notes with you.
Based on the physical examination and medical history, the veterinarian may recommend diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of the blood in your cat's stool.
These tests may include:
Faecal analysis: A stool sample will be collected and examined for the presence of parasites, bacteria, or other abnormalities.
Blood tests: Blood work may be conducted to assess your cat's overall health, check for signs of infection or inflammation, and evaluate organ function.
Imaging: In some cases, imaging techniques like X-rays or ultrasounds may be used to visualise the gastrointestinal tract and identify any structural abnormalities or masses.
Dietary evaluation: The veterinarian may discuss your cat's diet and may suggest changes or modifications to identify potential dietary factors contributing to the blood in the stool.
Additional tests: Depending on the specific circumstances, additional tests such as biopsies, cultures, or specialised tests may be recommended to reach a definitive diagnosis.
During the examination, it is important to provide accurate information about your cat's diet, including any recent changes or new foods introduced. Inform the veterinarian about any potential exposure to stressors, such as changes in the household, new pets, or environmental disturbances. These details can help in identifying possible triggers or contributing factors.
The treatment options for blood in a cat's stool will vary depending on the underlying cause identified through veterinary examination and diagnostic tests. Addressing the root cause is crucial for effective treatment. Some potential treatment approaches that may be recommended by your vet include:
Dietary changes: If a food allergy or intolerance is suspected, your veterinarian may recommend switching your cat to a hypoallergenic diet. This involves eliminating potential allergens and introducing a new diet that is less likely to trigger gastrointestinal inflammation and bleeding.
Medications: Depending on the underlying condition, medications may be prescribed to address inflammation, fight infections, or manage specific gastrointestinal issues. These may include anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, or medications to regulate bowel movements.
Parasite control: If parasitic infestation is identified as the cause of blood in the stool, your veterinarian will prescribe appropriate deworming or anti-parasitic medications to eliminate the parasites and prevent further complications.
Stress reduction techniques: If stress or anxiety is believed to contribute to gastrointestinal issues, your veterinarian may recommend stress reduction techniques such as environmental enrichment, behaviour modification, or pheromone therapy to help alleviate stress and promote better digestive health.
Anal gland expression: If anal gland problems are identified, your veterinarian may perform anal gland expression to relieve impaction or treat any infection present. This can help resolve the underlying issue and prevent further irritation and bleeding.
It is crucial to follow your veterinarian's recommendations and complete the prescribed treatment plan diligently. This includes administering medications as directed, adhering to dietary changes, and following any additional instructions provided. It may take time for the treatment to take effect, so it is important to be patient and give your cat the necessary care and attention they need.
We also recommended scheduling any follow-up appointments or rechecks as advised by your veterinarian. This allows them to monitor your cat's progress, make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan, and ensure that your cat's condition is improving.
In conclusion, blood in a cat's stool is a concerning symptom that shouldn’t be ignored. The various potential causes, including food allergies, infections, parasites, medication reactions, anal gland issues, colitis, and stress, highlight the importance of seeking veterinary care for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
By speaking to a veterinarian promptly whether in person or online when you first notice symptoms, your cat can receive a thorough examination followed by a review of medical history, and potentially diagnostic tests to identify the underlying cause. Treatment options will depend on the specific cause and may include dietary changes, medication, parasite control, stress reduction techniques, or anal gland expression.
By taking proactive steps and working closely with your veterinarian, you can address the issue of blood in your cat's stool and provide the necessary care to support their well-being.
Remember, each cat is unique, and the treatment approach may vary. Your vet is always the best resource for providing tailored recommendations based on your cat's specific needs and circumstances. By following their guidance and completing the prescribed treatment plan, you can maximise the chances of a successful outcome and help your cat reach optimal health.
As always, our blog is on hand to address more of your pressing questions and concerns such as ‘do cat whiskers grow back?’ and ‘why is my cat sneezing?’. We’ve also got a handy guide on cat eye problems that will save you trawling through page after page of search results. You’re welcome.
If you notice blood in your cat’s stool, speak to your vet. Blood in a cat’s stool can be a sign of a wider illness or health condition and is very serious.
Yes, living in a stressful environment can cause blood in a cat’s stool. Chronic stress can lead to inflammation and gastrointestinal issues, including bloody stools.
The cause of blood in a cat’s stool is diagnosed through a series of tests including physical examinations whereby your vet will palpate the abdomen and check for signs of pain or discomfort. Your cat may also need to undergo faecal tests to check for parasites, blood tests, dietary changes and additional tests to determine an accurate diagnosis.
Adding more fibre to your cat’s diet can help make stools easier to pass. However, if you notice blood in your cat’s stool, we urge you to contact a vet immediately for professional treatment.
The time it takes for a cat with blood in their stool to heal depends on your cat’s specific diagnosis. Therefore, it’s difficult to offer an estimate. For a more accurate timeframe, we suggest you contact your veterinarian directly.
Need more help? You're in luck if you're a Waggel Pet Insurance member. Along with our excellent coverage, we offer access to a 24/7 online vet to answer all your sticky questions, especially if you need grooming assistance.
Not a member? Why not get a quote now and cover your furry friend for a range of illnesses, all while enjoying our amazing perks and rewards.
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