Blood in cat stool is also known as Hematochezia which is a medical term that indicates the presence of bright red (fresh) blood in the stools. If your cat passes out a bit of bloody stool once in a while, this is rarely cause for concern. However, if the amount of blood being passed out is a lot or if the sightings of blood are more regular, this normally indicates a serious underlying medical condition.
The presence of bright red (fresh) blood in the stool is indicative of bleeding in the lower intestinal areas such as the colon or rectum. This is likely due to a symptom of an underlying medical condition which can be a minor issue or potentially more serious, and not a disease by itself.
Causes of bloody stools
Bloody stools or hematochezia can be caused by a number of reasons, though it is mostly attributed to problems with the gastrointestinal tract. It is important to determine the cause of blood in your cat’s stool in order for your vet to determine the best course of treatment for your cat.
Bacterial Infections – Certain bacterial infections such as e.coli or salmonella can cause the colon to get inflamed (colitis) resulting in hematochezia.
Blockage in the colon/rectum – Foreign objects such as hairballs or feces may get stuck in the colon or rectum area.
Blood clotting disorders – Also known as coagulopathy, this refers to the inability of the blood to clot, causing excessive bleeding.
Cancer – Cancerous tumors or growth in in the anus, colon or rectum may cause bleeding and result in hematochezia.
Colitis – Inflammation of the colon may lead to bleeding, resulting in hematochezia. Causes of colitis include cancer, dietary intolerance, infections, pancreatitis and stress from bacterial infections.
Constipation – Dehydration, lack of water will cause your cat to have difficulty passing out feces, which are dry and hard. When attempting to defecate, it may lead to some bleeding.
Dietary Issues – Allergy or intolerance of certain food or substances may lead to inflammation of the colon and lower bowel with hematochezia. Overeating and ingestion of foreign objects such as hard bones may lead to hematochezia as well.
Injuries to the anus or bowel areas – Injuries or trauma to these areas may cause internal bleeding, resulting in hematochezia.
Intestinal parasites – Parasites worms such as hookworm or roundworm feed off the blood at the intestinal walls leading to blood found in the stools.
Intussusception – When one part of the bowel is force to another part of the bowel by force, foreign bodies or tumors, it may lead to hematochezia.
Poisoning – Ingestion of certain poison such as rat poison, it can lead to hematochezia.
Polyps – Noncancerous tumors or growths in the anus, colon or rectum may cause bleeding and result in hematochezia.
Symptoms to look out for
It is important to look out for other symptoms that your cat may be having besides blood in the stools. The more information that you are able to provide your vet, it will be easier for your vet to diagnose the main cause. Below is a list of symptoms you should look out for.
- Blood found around the anus
- Drinking more water than usual
- Hard and dry feces
- Having problem defecating
- In pain when defecating
- Inactive and lethargic
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in the abdominal region
- Urinating more often than usual
- Weight loss
What should you do
If the frequency and amount of blood in the stools are increasing, you should bring your cat at the vet as soon as possible for a checkup. Your vet will perform a series of tests to determine the underlying cause and prescribe the most appropriate treatment for your cat. Otherwise, if the symptom is not as frequent but you are still concerned, you can bring a fecal sample to your vet for a diagnosis to make sure everything is alright.
Over at the clinic, your vet will check with you on your cat’s complete medical history. Your vet will physically examine your cat thoroughly in order to determine the most appropriate diagnostic tests. The following diagnostic tests may be performed on your cat to determine the real cause of blood in the stools.
- Abdominal ultrasound
- Abdominal X-rays (radio-graphs)
- Biochemical profile
- Coagulation profile
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Fecal examination
- Rectal examination
Treatment for Hamatochezia in cats
Once the diagnostic results are out, your vet will be in a better position to advise you on the most appropriate treatment for your cat. Suitable treatments may include giving your cat laxatives or stool softeners to ease constipation.
Surgeries will be required to remove tumors or polyps. Antibodies will be given for bacterial infections while deworming medications are given in the event of intestinal parasites. If the cause is suspected to be food related, your vet may advise you to change your cat’s diet. The use of IV fluids is normally used for supportive care for those that suffers from dehydration.
Finding blood in cat stool is always a worrying issue for cat owners. Rather than waiting out the problem, it is better to visit your vet to verify there is no serious underlying issues. Many cases of hematochezia can be managed and fully treated. In certain cases, which are more serious, ongoing treatment may be required.