Nose Bleed in Cats: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment What Does Nose Bleed In Cats Mean and How To Treat It

Nose Bleed in Cats: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Nose bleeds in cats, also known as epistaxis, can be a source of concern for pet owners, but they are usually treatable. Learn more in this article.

Nose bleeds in cats, also known as epistaxis, can be a concerning but often manageable issue for pet owners. Though not always indicative of a serious underlying health problem, it's important to understand what causes nose bleeds and when to seek veterinary care. 

In this article, we'll explore the various reasons for nose bleeds in cats, including environmental factors, infections, and underlying medical conditions, as well as the symptoms to watch for and steps you can take to help your feline friend feel better.

What Can Cause Nose Bleeds In Cats?

Nose bleeds in cats can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Environmental factors: Dry air, exposure to chemical irritants or pollutants, and changes in air pressure can all lead to nose bleeds.

  • Infections: Upper respiratory infections, such as the feline herpes virus, can cause inflammation and bleeding in the nose.

  • Trauma: Cats that have been in a fight or experienced some kind of injury to the face or head can experience nose bleeds.

  • Dental disease: Dental problems, such as gum disease or abscesses, can lead to nose bleeds as well.

  • Tumors: Nose tumors can also cause epistaxis in cats.

  • Blood clotting disorders: Certain medical conditions, such as feline leukemia, can affect the ability of a cat's blood to clot, leading to frequent nose bleeds.

  • Idiopathic causes: In some cases, the cause of a cat's nose bleeds may be unknown, making it difficult to determine the underlying cause and treat it effectively.

While some causes of nose bleed in cats are minor and easily treated, others can be more serious and require prompt veterinary attention.


The most typical symptoms of nosebleeds in cats are:

  • Blood leaving one or both nostrils

  • Sneezing

  • Obvious nasal discharge

  • Pawing at the face or nose

  • Swelling and redness around the nose

  • Difficult breathing

  • Loss of appetite


  • Physical Examination: The veterinarian will examine the cat's nose, head, and neck for any signs of injury, swelling, or redness.

  • Medical History: The veterinarian will ask about the cat's medical history, including any recent illnesses or changes in behavior.

  • Laboratory Tests: To ascertain if there are any underlying medical conditions that could be causing the nosebleeds, the veterinarian may run laboratory tests such as a complete blood count (CBC), blood coagulation panel, and biochemistry profile.

  • Radiology: Radiographs (X-rays) or computed tomography (CT) scans may be taken to evaluate the nasal passages and sinuses.

  • Endoscopy: The interior of the nose can be viewed, and the source of the bleeding may be identified using an endoscope, a flexible tube containing a light and a camera.

  • Biopsy: A biopsy may be taken of any abnormal tissue in the nose to determine if there is a tumor or other growth.

Based on the results of these tests, the veterinarian will make a diagnosis and determine the best course of treatment for the cat.

How to Treat and Recover From Feline Nose Bleeds

The treatment of feline nosebleeds depends on the underlying cause. The following are some common treatments:

  • Medications: Anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medications may be prescribed to reduce swelling and discomfort. Antibiotics may be prescribed if an infection is present.

  • Oxygen Therapy: Cats with severe nosebleeds may require oxygen therapy to help them breathe.

  • Surgery: If a tumor or growth is causing the nosebleed, surgery may be necessary to remove it.

  • Blood Transfusions: In severe cases, cats with nosebleeds may require a blood transfusion to replace lost blood.

  • Environmental Changes: Making changes to the cat's environment, such as reducing exposure to dry air or irritants, may help reduce the frequency of nosebleeds.

  • Treatment of Underlying Conditions: Treatment for the underlying condition may be required if it's causing the nosebleeds, such as high blood pressure.

When treating a cat's nosebleed, it's crucial to adhere to the veterinarian's recommendations and return the cat for any necessary follow-up checks.

Prevention Tips

Here are some ways to prevent nosebleeds in cats:

  • Maintain a Healthy Environment: Keep the cat's environment free of irritants and allergens, such as dust, tobacco smoke, and strong odors.

  • Provide Adequate Hydration: Ensure that the cat has access to clean water at all times, especially in dry climates.

  • Maintain Good Health: Nosebleeds can be avoided with routine veterinarian examinations and timely treatment of any infections.

  • Avoid Trauma: Prevent the cat from sustaining any injury to the face or nose, as this can increase the risk of nosebleeds.

  • Control Blood Pressure: If the cat has high blood pressure, work with the veterinarian to control it, as high blood pressure can increase the risk of nosebleeds. Medications such as SALIX and BENAZEPRIL may be prescribed to control any cases of high blood pressure in your cat.

  • Manage Respiratory Problems: Treat any respiratory problems, such as nasal infections or sinusitis, promptly to prevent nosebleeds.

Be aware that certain cats may have a genetic predisposition to nosebleeds or other underlying medical conditions. However, routine veterinary exams can aid in identifying and stopping cat nosebleeds.

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