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Anemia in Cats

Do you suspect that your cat is anemic? Our Morton veterinarians provide information on the causes, signs, and symptoms of anemia in cats, as well as treatment options.

What is anemia in cats?

Anemia is a medical term that refers to a decrease in the number of red blood cells and hemoglobin in your cat's blood. Anemia is not a disease in and of itself; rather, it is 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.

What causes anemia in cats?

Anemia in cats can be caused by a variety of factors, including underlying diseases such as kidney disease, cancer, or autoimmune disorders. Parasitic infections like fleas, ticks, and hookworms can also lead to anemia by causing blood loss or destroying red blood cells.

Additionally, nutritional deficiencies in a cat's diet, particularly of iron, vitamin B12, or folic acid, can result in anemia. Chronic conditions that affect the bone marrow's ability to produce red blood cells, such as certain types of cancers or bone marrow disorders, can also contribute to anemia in cats.

What are the symptoms of anemia in cats?

The underlying cause of illness, as well as its severity and duration, determine which symptoms of anemia your cat will exhibit.

The most common symptoms can include:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lethargy or lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite

Other symptoms may include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Jaundice (yellowish color in eyes, skin, or gums if red blood cells have been destroyed)
  • Pale or white gums
  • Weakness

What should I do if I see signs of anemia in my cat?

If your cat exhibits any of the symptoms listed above, schedule an exam with your veterinarian as soon as possible. A series of diagnostic blood tests may be performed by the veterinarian. This is commonly referred to as a complete blood count (CBC).

Your cat will need an official diagnosis and potentially more tests to identify which type of anemia your cat 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.

How is anemia treated in cats?

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 thorough examination of your cat's medical history and clinical symptoms, as well as a physical examination. Bone marrow testing, a complete blood cell count, iron testing, and urinalysis may all be part of the exam.

Non-regenerative anemia in cats can typically be resolved by diagnosing and treating the underlying disease.

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.

If your cat is displaying signs of anemia or other symptoms that you are concerned about, contact our Morton vets right away to book an examination for your kitty.

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Stoney Creek Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals in Morton and surrounding areas. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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