Hemorrhage of the Lung in Cats

Pulmonary Contusions in Cats

Pulmonary contusion, or a hemorrhage of the lung, occurs when the cat’s lung is torn and/or crushed during direct trauma to the chest. This then impedes the cat’s ability to breath and pass arterial blood to a capillary bed in synchrony. Cats suffering from capillary damage may also develop pulmonary fluid in the lungs, as well as hemorrhage.

Pulmonary contusion occurs in both dogs and cats and there is no specific breed, age, or gender predilection. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects dogs, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

  • Tachypnea
  • Coughing up of blood or blood-tinged fluid
  • Respiratory distress, or abnormal respiratory effort after a blunt trauma to the chest
  • Cyanotic (blue-tinged) or pale mucous membranes


  • Blunt trauma
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Fall from a great height
  • Physical abuse (i.e., beating)
  • Coagulopathy (coagulation/clotting disorder)


You will need to give a thorough history of your cat’s health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have precipitated/preceded this condition.

Your veterinarian will then perform a thorough physical exam on your cat, including blood tests, a urinalysis, and chest X-rays. If there are rib fractures, for example, they will show up on X-ray.

Your doctor will also perform coagulation (clotting) tests, and may culture cells from the trachea.


The windpipe; it carries air from the bronchi to the mouth


An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness


Something that is related to the whole body and not just one particular part or organ


Pertaining to the lungs

mucous membrane

A special type of tissue that exudes mucus


Extreme loss of blood

respiratory rate

The number of respirations per minute; one respiration equals an inhalation and exhalation

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