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Feline Infectious Anemia Symptoms and Treatments
8 years ago

There are two main types of anemia in the feline:

Feline infectious anemia
This is caused by a bacterial parasite thought to be carried by fleas and ticks and sometimes contracted from bite wounds. The bacterium Hemobartonella felis, of which there appear to be two strains, attaches itself to the surfaces of red blood cells, which then compromises their ability to carry oxygen to the tissues. The immune system detects this bacterial invasion and destroys the red blood cells which results in the anaemia. It is particularly prevalent in cats with feline immunodeficiency virus and the feline leukaemia virus since their immune response is already compromised and under stress.

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8 years ago

The bacterium often exists in the bloodstream of normal healthy cats without any signs or symptoms of illness and it appears that it is a weakness in the autoimmune system which leads to the cat succumbing to the bacterium.

Since it is a bacterium which causes the anaemia the treatment is systemic antibiotics. However as this may not always eradicate the bacterium, treatment can be supplemented with good feeding and possibly a blood transfusion if the cat is very weak.

8 years ago

Feline anemia
There are several diseases and conditions which lead to a loss of red blood cells, or a loss of their function.

Bleeding or severe blood loss - either through accidents involving haemorrhage, gastric ulcers, or severe flea or other parasite infestation leading to continual blood loss;

8 years ago

Systemic infections which lead to the destruction of red blood cells;

Vitamin B deficiency which compromises production of red blood cells in the bone marrow;

Hyperthyroidism in conjunction with its treatment and which may suppress the bone marrow;

Renal or hepatic disease which results in damage to red blood cells;

8 years ago

Chronic renal failure in which the kidneys do not produce erythropoeitin to stimulate the bone marrow to produce red blood cells;

Leukaemia - leading to bone marrow suppression and disruption of red blood cell production.

Treatment for anaemia involves identifying the underlying cause of the anaemia and administering appropriate treatment. Blood transfusions are possible especially in cats with severe blood loss but these are not always successful unless careful blood typing is carried out. Monitoring the cat's diet will be very important in re-establishing a healthy immune system and you should talk to your vet about supplements or additions to their diets to help them regain their health.

8 years ago
Where erythropoeitin production has been compromised the bone marrow will either have to be stimulated with steroids to manufacture it again or it will need to be administered independently.
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