6 Emergency Reasons Why Your Cat’s Nose is White
Has your cat’s nose suddenly turned white? Is this a recent change, or has his nose always been white? What does this mean, and is it something that should worry you?
If your cat’s nose has always been pale, then this isn’t anything to worry about. It is likely just part of his natural coloration! However, if your cat’s nose has suddenly turned white or has become paler over time, this may indicate an emergency situation. Read through the list below to find some of the most likely emergency reasons why your cat’s nose may be turning white.
Anemia is the general term for any loss of red blood cells in the body. This may occur from a bleeding disorder, some types of cancers, malnutrition, bone marrow disorders, kidney disease, and a wide range of other serious underlying causes. If you notice a white nose along with severe fatigue, anemia could be the culprit.
No matter the cause of your cat’s anemia, you need to have it diagnosed by a vet. From there, the vet can help you determine the best course of action for treatment or management, depending on the cat’s health.
Dehydration is by far the most common cause of white noses in cats. Cats who do not have enough fluids will quickly reach the dehydration stage and may move into the severe dehydration phase in a short time, too. As this happens, the cat’s nose will turn paler or may become entirely white.
Mild to moderate dehydration likely won’t result in a white nose. If your cat’s nose is white and you know or suspect he hasn’t had enough fluids, go to the emergency vet. He may need IV fluids to help rehydrate his body and help get him back to good health once again.
Hypothermia or Frostbite
Hypothermia refers to any situation in which a cat’s body temperature reaches a dangerously low level. This could happen from illness, or it may happen from exposure to harsh outdoor elements, instead. A cat in very dangerous stages of hypothermia may have a white nose along with many other symptoms.
Frostbite more often causes cats’ noses to turn bright red, blue, or gray. However, depending on the original color of your cat’s nose, it may turn white as a result of frostbite. If this happens, go to the emergency vet before the frostbite has a chance to worsen more.
Skin cancer is much less likely to cause a white nose in cats than most of the other points on this list. However, there is still a chance that a cat who has skin cancer on or around the nose or face may have a white nose.
Other types of cancers may contribute to a white nose as your cat grows sicker, too. If your cat’s pale nose is associated with other serious symptoms, such as an extreme loss of weight or severe lethargy and weakness, talk to your vet about the possibility of cancer in your pet.
Feline leukemia is a serious health problem that is fatal in most cats who contract it. It encompasses many symptoms during the last couple of years of a cat’s life, but a white nose is among the possible signs.
Cats who have feline leukemia may bleed more easily than those who don’t. Additionally, they may not have enough red blood cells in their bodies. Both of these factors contribute to an increased risk of a white or pale nose in cats who are suffering from this condition. Talk to your vet about managing your cat’s feline leukemia.
Although any type of dehydration can potentially cause a cat’s nose to turn very pale or white, diabetes significantly increases this risk. Cats with unmanaged diabetes may have excessive thirst and may also excessively urinate, contributing to a dehydrated state.
A pale nose is often one of the first warning signs cat owners have when it comes to feline diabetes. For this reason, it’s important to take your pet to the vet as soon as possible if you suspect he could be diabetic. The sooner you begin managing this condition, the better off your pet will be.
Contact a Vet or Emergency Vet if Your Cat’s Nose is White
Any significant and sudden changes in the color of your cat’s nose require a trip to the vet. However, if your cat’s nose is turning white, this may be more of a serious emergency than other potential color changes. Go to the emergency vet if the change is sudden, or schedule a visit with your regular vet right away if the change is gradual.
The sooner you respond to changes in your cat’s nose color, the more likely you and your vet will be to get the problem under control. Many of these emergency situations can be treated or reversed with prompt vet care.
Contact VEG if you notice that your cat’s nose is white. We have locations all over the country, which are all open 24/7, including holidays. When you call VEG, you’ll talk to an emergency veterinarian who will help guide you in the best direction and offer advice on what to do next for your cat.
Dr. Jason Labes Medical Director, VEG Newton
BVetMed – The Royal Veterinary College, University of London, 2014
VEG is a network of Emergency Veterinarians located across the country. We are dedicated to helping people and their pets when they need it most. If your pet is ever in an emergency situation, use the link below to find our nearest location so we can get your pet the help they need.