Why Is There Red Blood in a Cat's Stool?

By Naomi Millburn

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If you observe red blood in your cat's bowel movements, it could signify anything from food allergies and inflammatory bowel disease to cancer and clotting disorders. Since blood in the stools can sometimes denote serious medical conditions in felines, prompt veterinary attention is critical.

Hematochezia Basics

If your cat's fecal matter contains blood that's bright crimson in color, that describes a condition called hematochezia. Hematochezia typically happens in conjunction with lower intestinal bleeding -- think bleeding of the rectum or the colon. Bright red blood in stool matter can indicate slight health woes in cats. It also, however, can point to possible severe conditions. If you notice blood in your cat's stools just once, it could be a fleeting issue. If you regularly notice blood in her stools, however, that could signify a bigger health concern. Play it safe and notify your veterinarian as soon as you detect any blood in her stools.

Possible Causes

Many causes can bring on bright red blood in cat's feces. If your cat is elderly, there's a significant chance the red blood is caused by cancer. If she's on the younger side, there's a strong chance it was triggered by intestinal parasites.

Other potential causes of bright red blood in feline bowel movements include constipation, prostate disease, lower bowel region injury, anal injury, a fractured back leg, a fractured pelvis, lower bowel cancer, colon irritation, colitis, rectum polyps, colon polyps, perineal hernias, food intolerance, coagulopathy and intussusception, an ailment that's characterized by intestinal tract sliding. If your cat's stools are loose and runny with red blood, colitis could be the culprit. Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease frequently caused by stress and anxiety in cats.

Other Key Symptoms

If your cat has red blood in her feces, you might pick up on other key symptoms of hematochezia. Other symptoms to look out for include straining or whining during bowel movements, unusually frequent bowel movements, diarrhea, hard stools and bumps surrounding the anus. If your pet has hematochezia, you might observe that her anus is obstructed by clumps of either stool matter or fur. Some cats with hematochezia even exhibit classic systemic indications of sickness including immoderate urination, inordinate water intake, reduced appetite, loss of energy, weight loss and vomiting. If you see any of those symptoms in your feline, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Veterinary Evaluation

If your cat has red blood in her feces, the veterinarian can analyze the cause by performing various diagnostic tests. She might conduct tests including urinalysis, rectal assessment, fecal assessment, abdominal radiograph, complete blood count, colonoscopy, coagulation profile and biochemical profile. Depending on the specific cause of the condition, your veterinarian might opt to manage your cat's bloody stools problem through fluid therapy, diet modifications, administering motility modifying medicines, antibiotics and deworming drugs. If intestinal parasites are responsible for your cat's hematochezia, deworming drugs can make an effective management option.

If your pet's stools contain dark rather than red blood, it could mean that she has melena. Melena is characterized by the emergence of digested blood within the stools. This condition can be fatal to felines and requires urgent veterinary care. Blood consumption, cancer and bleeding ailments are all potential causes of melena in felines.

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