Anemia In Cats: Causes And Treatment

Anemia is a pathological condition characterized by a decrease in the level of red blood cells and / or hemoglobin and, as a result, the development of hypoxia (oxygen starvation). First of all, it is important to understand that anemia is rarely a true disease, more often it develops against the background of another independent pathology.

This deviation is accompanied by a decrease in the volume of oxygen concentrated in the hemoglobin protein. Iron oxidation in red blood cells binds oxygen, which is transported by the blood stream to tissues, cells and all body systems. With the development of anemia, oxygen deficiency is formed, which dramatically affects all physiological processes.

The severity of the disease, the duration of the course and the prognosis depend on the cause of the anemia (the underlying disease) and the timely visit to the doctor.

Causes and types of anemia in cats

As it has already become clear, anemia can be considered a pathological condition in which a decrease in red blood cells is laboratory established. Rarely it is an independent disease, but anemia should be treated precisely as a disease. Therefore, there must be reasons for it.

These are two categories of etiological factors. The first affects the production of red blood cells, that is, the body does not produce new cells or produces them in insufficient quantities. The main reasons for this category include:

* Chronic kidney disease (insufficient production of the hormone erythropoietin);

* Chronic inflammation anemia;

* Diseases of the bone marrow;

* Viral infections (VIC, VLC, panleukopenia);

* Polycythemia (a rare disease characterized by increased production of red blood components; however, having reached a certain threshold, hemorrhage or bleeding occurs in any part of the body, and, as a result, anemia, until the next threshold increase);

* nutritional deficiencies (rarely reported as a cause).

The second group is characterized by the destruction of red blood cells in the bloodstream, while the function of producing red blood cells is preserved and even enhanced against the background of their destruction. Therefore, an important step in the diagnosis of anemia is a blood test for reticulocytes, the results must be interpreted by a doctor in conjunction with the history and examination results. This group includes:

* acute blood loss (trauma / surgery / bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract during the use of medications (for example, NSAIDs);

* vector-borne diseases (transmitted through tick bites);

* poisoning with hemolytic poisons, onions (rarely recorded in cats);

* autoimmune hemolytic anemia (a condition in which a cat's immune system produces antibodies against its own red blood cells);

*DIC syndrome.

With such an extensive list of etiological factors, it is natural that only veterinarians should be engaged in identifying the causes of anemia in cats and treating them. What should the owner of the animal do? At the slightest deviation in behavior, with a decrease in energy, appetite - immediately contact a veterinary clinic.

Symptoms of anemia

Basically, the clinical picture with such a pathology is not typical. She has general symptoms that indicate the presence of a disease, but do not characterize it in any way:

* lethargy, unsteadiness of gait;

* loss of appetite;

* drowsiness;

* delayed development and growth in kittens;

* weight loss in adults;

* apathetic state.

In the process of progression, which can happen within a few days or hours (depending on the cause of the anemia), the characteristic symptoms of anemia in cats may begin to appear - a visit to a doctor and treatment in this case should be urgent and urgent. These symptoms include:

* pallor of visible mucous membranes (oral cavity, conjunctiva), sometimes - their cyanosis;

* rapid / shallow breathing;

* tachycardia, increased heart rate;

* decrease in body temperature to 37 degrees and below.

For an accurate diagnosis of the disease, it is also necessary to take into account the history data: according to the owner of the cat, the veterinarian establishes the age, reproductive status, timing of preventive measures, diet, conditions of detention, the likelihood of injury, changes in behavior and other circumstances of the onset of the disease.

Diagnosis of the disease

An important reminder to pet owners: the established symptoms of anemia must be confirmed by a complex diagnostic examination. Moreover, the reliability and correctness of the diagnosis is achieved only by complex measures:

  • clinical examination allows you to determine the characteristic signs, assess the severity of the general condition, compare them with the history data and suggest possible causes, as well as draw up a plan of necessary therapeutic and diagnostic measures;
  • laboratory tests: a general clinical blood test is mandatory, and depending on the results of the examination and anamnesis data, a biochemical blood test may be required, determination of the level of reticulocytes, coagulogram, general urine analysis and narrow specific tests (PCR and ELISA diagnostics to identify diseases preceding the development of anemia );
  • instrumental and hardware diagnostics : its need is determined in each specific case individually, it is designed not for diagnosing anemia, but for identifying the reasons leading to its development (for example, trauma or neoplasms). For such a diagnosis, ultrasound, radiography, computed tomography can be prescribed.

For more credibility in the correctness of the diagnosis, qualified veterinarians use a comprehensive diagnostic method

Treating anemia in cats

Treatment is determined based on the form of the course, the type of disease and its nature. The main condition for complete recovery from anemia is the elimination of the causes. For example, if infectious anemia is diagnosed in cats, then it is required first to suppress the activity of pathogenic microorganisms and eliminate their presence in the body. Thus, the second condition of treatment is formed: it is necessary to take into account the type of anemia. How to treat anemia in cats and cats is determined only by the veterinarian who observed the animal from the very beginning of the disease.

Effective treatments are:

  • Drug therapy (erythropesis stimulants and iron preparations);
  • Blood transfusion (blood transfusion).


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