Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy



or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

PetMD Seal

Blood in the Chest in Cats

Hemothorax in Cats

 

Hemothorax is the medical term used to identify a condition in which blood has collected in the chest cavity, or thorax. This condition may occur suddenly or over a long period of time, and it can occur for a variety of reasons. There does not appear to be a particular age, gender, or breed of cat that is more predisposed to this condition than another.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

Acute onset:

  • Symptoms of decreased blood volume usually occur before sufficient blood volume accumulates in the pleural space (lining of the chest cavity)
  • Impaired respiration/respiratory distress
  • Pale membranes
  • Weakness and collapse
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Breathing sounds become dull

 

Associated with a causative factor:

 

Causes

 

  • Trauma
  • Bleeding from any artery or vein of the thoracic wall or spine, damaged heart, lungs, thymus (a small glandular organ that is situated behind the top of the breastbone), and diaphragm
  • Rodenticide ingestion is a common cause
  • Herniated liver or spleen
  • Tumor
  • Coagulopathies (clotting disorders)
  • Clotting factor defects are more common than platelet abnormalities
  • May be congenital or acquired
  • Liver failure
  • Cholangiohepatitis (inflammation of the gallbladder and bile ducts) with concurrent small bowel disease
  • Lung lobe twisting
  • Acute thymic hemorrhage in young animals (i.e., thymus: gland at the base of the neck)

 

 

 

Diagnosis

 

Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam on your cat, including a standard blood chemical profile, complete blood count, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis so as to rule out other causes of disease. You will need to give a thorough history of your cat's health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have preceded this condition. Clotting profiles should be performed on a blood sample to verify for delayed clotting times.

 

The packed cell volume, hemoglobin and platelet count will be lower than normal. The blood chemical profile may show signs of liver failure (which would cause bleeding into bodily cavities since clotting factors would not be produced).

 

The fluid in the chest should be sampled and analyzed at a laboratory for a comparison with peripheral blood. Platelets are often found in chest fluid samples.

 

X-rays are crucial for visualizing the extent of the fluid build-up in the chest, the collapse of lung lobes, and any masses which might be present in the chest cavity. An ultrasound of the chest can reveal a diseased condition with an even greater sensitivity than an x-ray image would.

 

Treatment

 

Patients suffering from hemothorax should be treated on an inpatient basis. They must receive fluid therapy to correct their blood loss into the chest cavity. If the cat also has air free (outside the lungs) in the chest cavity, this must be immediately corrected. If the lungs are bruised, ventilator support may be necessary. These patients often also need oxygen therapy, and will need to be kept warm to prevent shock. If the cat's blood sample has a delayed clotting time, then a plasma or blood transfusion may be needed to restore clotting factors or to provide red blood cells for oxygen transport. Severe or recurrent thoracic hemorrhage may require surgical exploration.

 

Living and Management

 

While your cat is recovering from hemothorax, it is probably best to avoid giving it any aspirin or other over the counter medications that might decrease clotting. Your veterinarian will schedule follow-up appointments as necessary to treat your cat's underlying condition. If your cat shows signs of a recurrence of hemothorax, notify your veterinarian immediately; surgery may be necessary for correcting recurring cases.

 

 

Related Articles

Heart Failure, Congestive (Right-sided) in ...
Right-sided congestive heart failure occurs when the heart fails to pump blood at...
READ MORE
Heart Disease of the Sinus Node in Cats
The sinoatrial node (SA Node, or SAN), also called the sinus node, is the initiator...
READ MORE
Irregular Heartbeat in Cats
Arrhythmia is caused by an abnormal variation in the cycling of impulses that regulate...
READ MORE

Do you have a plan for your pet(s) in case of natural disaster or emergency evacuation?

  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»
Search cat Articles

 

 

Around the Web
MORE FROM PETMD.COM