October 15, 2020 By Taylor Froiland, PharmD 0

Blood in Your Cat’s Urine: What Should You Do?

Noticing blood coming from your pet can be very unsettling and scary. But, if we’re being honest, it’s better if you notice the blood coming from them as soon as possible, so you can bring them in to the vet and see what is wrong with them early on. Therein lies the problem when it comes to your cat. It can be difficult to notice cat urine with blood because it often just disappears into the kitty litter along with their urine.

In fact, in most cases, you will only discover blood in your cat’s urine because they also happen to be urinating outside of his or her litter box at the same time. When a cat passes blood with their urine, they are diagnosed with hematuria, which means blood in the urine. Hematuria is not a disease in itself but rather a side effect of some other medical condition that the cat has.

Hematuria can be identified by the presence of pink, red, brown, or black urine, or by the microscopic presence of blood cells. A urinalysis is typically used by veterinarians to help determine if the blood is from a urinary tract disease or the result of a condition affecting coagulation or bleeding. Blood tests are usually needed to verify or exclude a bleeding or clotting disorder. The most common, general diagnosis for hematuria in cats is cystitis.

Common Symptoms

Symptoms of hematuria include, obviously, blood in the urine, a sign in itself. Red-tinged urine, with or without abnormal frequent passage of urine will be evident. In felines with cancer, a mass may be palpated during physical examination. Abdominal pain will be evident in some cats.

Animals with a blood-clotting disorder may develop subdermal skin hemorrhages, conditions known as petechiae and ecchymoses, which appear as bruises. These discolored spots will be indicated by round, purplish, non-raised patches on the skin.

Causes of Cat Urine Blood

There are various health issues or illnesses that can result in cat urine with blood. These can possibly range from parasitic infection, diabetes, endocrine disease, urinary tract cancer, blood clotting disorders, medication side effects, to trauma. However, the most common causes of blood in your cat’s urine are the following three feline health conditions:

·         Cystitis - Cystitis is a general term referring to inflammation in the urinary bladder. This is the most common reason for cat urine blood and will also lead to frequent urination, as well as straining while urinating. Interstitial cystitis is a complex condition that can only be diagnosed after ruling out crysalluria, a urinary tract infection, and urinary tract stones as the cause. Diagnosis involves a urinalysis, a urine culture, and x-rays or ultrasound of the cat’s abdomen.

·         Cat Urinary Tract Infection – Urinary tract infections is another common cause of finding blood in your cat’s urine. This type of infection is even more common in older cats, as their aging kidneys perform less and less effectively. The primary danger of a UTI is that if it isn’t treated using an antibiotic like enrofloxacin, orbifloxacin, or marbofloxacin, the infection can make its way into the kidneys. If a kidney infection develops, the cat will need to be on antibiotic for up to six weeks.

·         Crystalluria – Another common cause of blood in cat urine is crystalluria, a medical condition where crystals are expelled into the urine. Proper identification and interpretation of urine crystals is important for determining a medical strategy for treating the condition, since certain crystal types may indicate an underlying disease. Crystalluria is most dangerous when it comes to younger cats or kittens, because if it is not treated quickly, the crystals can collect and block the urethra. If you cat’s urethra becomes blocked, they won’t be able to pass urine and this will result in kidney failure and death within 48 to 72 hours.

What to Do if You Notice Blood in Your Cat’s Urine

If you see blood in your cat’s urine, it’s important to bring them in to see the vet as soon as possible. Depending on the cause of the blood, hematuria can be a life threatening condition for your pet and it’s critical to get treatment quickly. If possible, make a note of the color of the blood in your cat’s urine, if they are urinating frequently, or if they are behaving abnormally, like urinating outside of their litter box. Any information you can provide to your veterinarian will help them determine what is causing the blood in the urine.

The cause of the blood will determine the course of action and treatment the vet prescribes. For example, if the blood is the result of a bacterial infection, then they will most likely prescribe an antibiotic like clavamox, an anti-inflammatory drug like amitriptyline, and a supplement like cosequin for improving bladder health. If your cat is on certain medications that may be causing the blood, then most likely your vet will attempt to wean them off or switch medications.

Whatever the cause of the blood in your cat’s urine, when the underlying issue or disease is resolved, then the blood in the urine should subside as well.

If your vet determines that the blood is being caused by a treatable infection or medical condition, then remember that you can obtain any medications or supplements they prescribe conveniently online through ExpressVet Pharmacy