Today our Pine Grove veterinarians at Pine Grove Animal Clinic explain the causes of anemia in cats as well as the signs of anemia to watch for and the treatment options that are available for cats.
Anemia & Your Cat's Health
Anemia is a medical term that represents a drop in the number of red blood cells and hemoglobin circulating in your cat’s body. Anemia is not a specific disease in itself, it’s typically a symptom of another disease or condition.
If you notice that your cat has been acting more lethargic than usual, seems uninterested in treats or other food, or is breathing rapidly even when lying still, they may be suffering from anemia.
Signs of Anemia in Cats
The underlying cause of illness, as well as its severity and duration of your cat's illness, determine which symptoms of anemia your cat exhibits. Some of the most common signs of anemia in cats include:
The most common symptoms can include:
- Rapid breathing (panting)
- Shortness of breath (labored breathing)
- Lack of energy
- Reduced appetite
Other symptoms of anemia in cats include:
- Increased heart rate
- Jaundice (yellowish color in eyes, skin or gums if red blood cells have been destroyed)
- Pale or white gums
What To Do If Your Cat Shows Signs of Anemia
If your cat is displaying any of the symptoms above, book an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible for an exam. The vet may take a series of diagnostic blood tests. This is often called a complete blood count (CBC).
Your cat will need an official diagnosis and potentially more tests to identify which type of anemia he has, as well as the underlying injury, illness or disease that’s causing symptoms.
If you discover blood in your cat’s feces or vomit, this is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention from your vet.
Treatment for Cats with Anemia
The severity of the underlying condition responsible for the anemia will determine what treatment plan is best.
Your veterinarian’s diagnosis will be based on a comprehensive assessment of your cat’s health history and clinical symptoms, in addition to a physical examination. The exam may involve bone marrow testing, a complete blood cell count, iron testing, and urinalysis.
Non-regenerative anemia in cats can typically be resolved by diagnosing and treating the underlying disease.
For secondary AIHA, the goal will be to treat the underlying cause, potentially with toxin antidotes or numerous antibiotics.
Your vet may also recommend changes to medication and diet. If your cat is diagnosed with severe anemia, a blood transfusion may be required.Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.