This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.

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Autumn *In- Loving- Memory*

Not Forgotten
Purred: Mon Jun 25, '07 5:22pm PST 
I was recently diagnosed with anemia. It came from nowhere. My mom doesn't know what caused it. One day I stopped eating and playing. The next day she noticed the tell-tell signs of the white gums. Today she took me to the vet. I am still at the vet actually. When she talked to the vet earlier, she said I didn't have feline leukemia or FIP. That's good news. Even though the other cats annoy me sometimes, I wouldn't want to make them sick. The vet told her they wanted to keep me overnight to keep an eye on me. They would have to send my bloodwork to a lab for the results. Mom wants to know if anemia is always a sign of another disease or if it is a disease in and of itself? What is expected for anemic cats? Will she need to give me supplements everyday for the rest of my kitty lives or will this go away after I take the antibiotics?


Lazy, Lazy, Lazy
Purred: Mon Jun 25, '07 8:33pm PST 
The many possible causes of anemia can be divided into three categories. Blood loss anemia is caused by the leaking of blood out of the vascular system. Hemolytic anemia is the result of the destruction of red blood cells circulating within the blood stream. Nonregenerative anemia refers to a decrease in erythrocyte production.

An in-hospital test called a "packed cell volume," or PCV, will approximate closely the percentage of red blood cells present. However, the veterinarian will typically opt to perform a complete blood count or CBC, which not only provides a more exact count of the red blood cells, but also measures the white blood cells and the platelets.

A CBC will tell the veterinarian whether the anemia is regenerative or nonregenerative. A regenerative anemia is one in which the bone marrow has released new red blood cells into the circulation in an attempt to replace the ones that were missing. If the initial CBC results suggest a nonregenerative anemia, it is possible either that the bone marrow has not had adequate time to react to the anemia or that the bone marrow is not able to produce the new red blood cells for some other reason. CBCs are usually run periodically until the patient's red blood count is stable and has returned to normal. If an animal has a true nonregenerative anemia, it will be necessary to determine the cause by means of further diagnostics. These may include fecal examination for blood parasites, urinalysis, serum chemistry, or bone marrow aspiration.

Animals get anemia for many different reasons. The most common ones are drug or toxin reaction, disease, and blood loss. Many common household products pose a serious toxic threat; acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, is among the deadliest. Onions, whether cooked, raw, or dehydrated, are also especially dangerous. Other anemia-inducing substances include anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin, zinc, and propylene glycol, which is sometimes found in canned food.

Certain infectious diseases that animals contract are immune-mediated -- that is, the body begins killing its own red blood cells, resulting in hemolytic anemia. These diseases are more common among dogs. Other infectious diseases that can lead to anemia include the feline leukemia virus, feline immunodeficiency virus and blood parasites such as Haemobartonella and Babesia. Cancer and kidney failure, as well, can make a cat or dog anemic.

Blood loss, of course, means fewer red blood cells, so animals that have lost blood through trauma often become anemic. Fleas are literally bloodsuckers and are especially threatening to kittens and puppies, which are smaller and have less blood than adult animals.

Treatment varies according to the underlying cause of the anemia. With severe anemia, a blood transfusion is needed to replace the lost blood. In order to treat the underlying disease that is causing the anemia, intravenous fluids and certain medications may also be necessary.


Some specific anemia conditions include:

* Kidney failure. Anemia of chronic failure is primarily associated with reduced stimulation of bone marrow to produce red cells due to low production of the hormone erythropoietin
* Hemoglobin oxidation. Hemoglobin carries the oxygen inside the cell so reduced function of the hemoglobin leads to Heinz body anemia or methemoglobinemia. Oxidation interferes with red cell function.
* Blood parasites (such as Mycoplasma haemofelis and Mycoplasma haemominutum, formerly called Haemobartonella felis)
* Blood type incompatibility hemolytic anemia; where red cells burst (neonatal isoerythrolysis, transfusion reactions)
* Virus-associated or drug-related bone marrow disorders (aplastic anemia, or larger than normal red blood cells produced in FeLV-infected cats)
* Parasites. Hookworms or fleas (heavy infestations, especially in kittens)
* Trauma blood loss (hit-by-car, deep penetrating wounds)
* Abnormal red cell production due to inherited conditions (osmotic fragility syndrome, Pyruvate Kinase deficiency, congenital porphyria)
* Uncommonly, see iron deficiency anemia of kittens (5-10 weeks old; is transient


The 5lb Miracle- Cat
Purred: Mon Jun 25, '07 8:44pm PST 
You poor Baby!

My doggie pal Ranger was anemic. But he was on fluids for awhile and was fine after that, he doesn't need any supplements.

Some anemia triggers are kidney and liver failure. Fleas and other parasites also can cause major anemia. Hartz Cat Shampoo causes anemia (yes, it does, I've seen it myself, I do not like HARTZ at ALL). Cancer and tumors also cause anemia.

After the vet, you might have to take pills if the cause is very bad. If you're just really dehydrated like Ranger, make sure you drink ALOT of water and I recommend that you eat 1/2 canned food, 1/2 dry, a perfect balance for the kidneys, if not more canned food. You might even want to go on a special urinary tract food.

Foods I recommend:
FancyFe ast

I wouldn't recommend any grain-free foods, they would be too high in protein for your kidneys.


Oliver ~ An- Angel- (06/20/2007)

Biscuiteer- Extraordinaire
Purred: Mon Jun 25, '07 10:58pm PST 
Oh sweetie - We hope you get better soon! Be aggressive in monitoring and treating the anemia, as it can indicate a more serious underlying condition, as it did in my case (final diagnosis still pending). We don't want to scare you or make you worry - we just want to make sure you get well.kitty

Autumn *In- Loving- Memory*

Not Forgotten
Purred: Tue Jun 26, '07 6:03am PST 
Well the vet called my mom last night. I was doing well. I wouldn't eat but mom didn't expect me to since I wasn't eating at home. My anemia is moderate to severe. They had to send my bloodwork to a lab. Hopefully the results will come back today. The vet said she thought my body was destroying my red blood cells because there was no trauma and I do not have fleas or anything. They said my PCV (?) was 11.5 when it should be around 40 or 50. They found it amazing I was still semi-alert and conscious. The vet also told mom that I had a heart murmur. They found an enlarged mass in my stomach. The vet said it was either an enlarged spleen or an enlarged liver. I'm sure mom is worried about me. She is such a worry wart when it comes to us four-leggers. They want to keep me a few more days to keep an eye on me.

Mom doesn't buy any Hartz products except toys for the dogs, and it's rare she even buys them these days. She stopped using Hartz products before she even got any of us kitties. We eat Science Diet, but once us younger kitties switch to adult food she was planning on changing it. Since 2 of us came from shelters and that was what they were feeding us, she kept it. I am the only one that likes canned food so she buys it especially for me.

Edited by author Tue Jun 26, '07 6:12am PST



The 5lb Miracle- Cat
Purred: Tue Jun 26, '07 6:55am PST 


Not a Croc
Purred: Tue Jun 26, '07 7:44am PST 

Our purrers are with you. Please keep us posted and get well real soon.

Gator, Buttons, and Slickcheer

Autumn *In- Loving- Memory*

Not Forgotten
Purred: Tue Jun 26, '07 8:27pm PST 
Well the vet called mom again today. More bad news. But some good. I ate well today. And my PCV went up. The vet said she didn't understand this because there were many abnormalities in the report they got back today. My protein is really high. They think I have nonregenerative anemia. My liver is messed up. They said I may have leukemia or FIP in my bone marrow. It could be bone cancer. It's just a number of things. There's another report they are waiting on that hasn't returned yet. Hopefully it will come tomorrow. They put me on some new medication. So I am taking antibiotics, steroids, and a new medicine for my liver. They still are not sure when I will be able to come home. I miss my comfy bed! As mom hears more, she'll let everyone know.


Little Tyke
Purred: Thu Jun 28, '07 7:23am PST 
Hi Autumn! I saw your story and just had to post. I went through something very similar a few months ago. My mom and dad went away for Christmas vacation, and even though they had a nice lady checking in on me, I still didn't feel or act right when they got home. I wasn't hungry at all, and I was so tired I could barely move. When they took me to the doctor, she said I had severe anemia and needed something called a blood transfusion right away. I had to stay at the hospital for five days, but after they found a nice cat to donate blood, I felt a lot better. I had to take steroid pills every day for three months, and have my blood checked every week. But, eventually, the doctor told my parents that whatever caused my anemia had gone away. I was so glad, because I hated having to take pills when I felt just as fine as ever! It was a scary time for all of us though. Ever since I've felt great, and am back to my old tricks (and even learned a few new ones, like stealing treats from the cupboards!). I sure hope that you feel better soon, too. I know your mommy must be terribly worried.

Autumn *In- Loving- Memory*

Not Forgotten
Purred: Thu Jun 28, '07 8:31am PST 
Thank you everyone for your kind words. The vet called not so long ago and told me I had to put Autumn down. She has FelV in her bone marrow. I knew the prognosis wouldn't be good because I searched for other catsters that had anemia. Of all that I had read, only one or two had survived. I have to go later and have her put to sleep.

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