Are you worried that your cat may be anemic? Here, our Oceanside vets offer an explanation of the causes, signs, symptoms and treatments for anemia in cats.
What is anemia in cats?
Anemia is a medical term that represents a drop in the number of red blood cells and hemoglobin that circulates your cat's body. Anemia isn't a specific disease in and of itself, it is generally 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 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:
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Lethargy or lack of energy
Other symptoms may include:
- Increased heart rate
- Pale or white gums
- Jaundice (yellowish color in eyes, skin or gums if red blood cells have been destroyed)
What should I do if I see signs of Anemia in my cat?
If your cat is showing any of the symptoms above, book an appointment with your vet as soon as possible for an exam. Your vet may take a series of diagnostic blood tests at this time. The most common test used is called a complete blood count (often referred to as a CBC).
Your cat will require an official diagnosis and possibly more testing to identify what kinds of anemia your feline friend has in addition to underlying injuries, diseases or illnesses that are causing these 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 vet's diagnosis will be grounded in a comprehensive assessment of your cat's health history and clinical symptoms in addition to a physical examination. This exam may involve more serious diagnostics such as iron testing, urinalysis and bone marrow testing.
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.