Infectious Anemia in Cats

by catfood

Anemia can be caused by hemoplasmas, specialized bacteria that attack red blood cells. Hemobartonella was the previous name for hemoplasmas (a low red blood cell count). Because it is most usually transferred by external parasites that feed on blood (such fleas, ticks, lice, or mosquitoes) or by fighting with infected cats, this illness is most common in cats who spend time outside. A life-threatening anemia that necessitates hospitalization, antibiotic therapy, and blood transfusions can result from this illness when it is severe.


What Is Feline Infectious Anemia?

Cats are susceptible to hemotrophic mycoplasmas, a family of microbes, which cause anemia. Three different infection species can affect cats (Mycoplasma hemofelis, Mycoplasma haemominutum and Mycoplasma turicencis). Mycoplasma hemofelis is the pathogen that causes the most severe form of this sickness.

The bacteria targets the top layer of red blood cells. When the body detects these wounded cells, the immune system attacks them and removes them from circulation. The cat becomes anemic as a result of the immune system’s destruction of these red blood cells.

Symptoms of Cat Hemobartonellosis

Cats with hemobartonellosis may present in a variety of ways. Here is a list of some of the signs a cat might display.

  • Lethargy (increased sleepiness)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Higher breathing rate
  • Clear gums
  • Loss of weight Appetite suppression
  • Changing fevers

Lethargy: The cat is more lethargic because the cells have less energy available to them as a result of the blood’s declining oxygen supply.

Accelerated heart rate: The heart rate accelerates in an effort to give more oxygen to the cells that require it.

Breathing more rapidly: The body breathes more quickly to take in more oxygen.

Less oxygen in the blood may be the cause of pale gums. This is typically the case when cats are ill.

Our appetites decrease when we are ill, which causes us to lose weight. If the cat becomes sick regularly, it may lose weight because this infection lasts so long.

The majority of cats will carry the pathogen in their blood and fight it off up until stressful periods, but some cats may experience sporadic fevers. Because organcan bems stay in the circulation for a long period, the cat will get a fever while the immune system fights off an increasing number of them. When the number of organisms is reduced to a manageable level, the fever will subside.

Healthy cats’ immune systems can only handle a certain amount of germs, therefore they may not show any signs of illness (these cats are called carriers). If these cats experience something stressful, such as another illness, surgery, pregnancy, or starvation, they may begin to show symptoms of the illness.


Aspects of Feline Infectious Anemia

Cats can get infections in many different ways. Most cases are brought on by external parasites that feed on the victims’ blood. These parasites include, but are not limited to, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and lice. Less frequently, a cat may also catch the illness by a bite from another cat, a blood transfusion from an infected cat, or from a mother cat to her unborn kitten.

What Is Feline Infectious Anemia and Can Your Cat Get It?

No, a sick cat cannot transmit feline infectious anemia to a healthy person. It has only ever happened once, and even then it was exceedingly unlikely that the immunocompromised person caught the illness from the sick cat.

How precisely is feline infectious anemia found?

It could be difficult to diagnose feline infectious anemia. After determining that a pet has anemia, a veterinarian may do the following tests to look for the organisms (a low red blood cell count).

A tiny bit of your cat’s blood has smeared across and ruined a slide. The veterinarian then examines the slide under a microscope’s strong lens. Because the bacterium is only identified using this approach in around 50% of sick cats, a negative test does not always imply that the cat is not infected.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay is the most often used diagnostic to diagnose feline infectious anemia. Which of the three organisms is the infection-causing agent will be determined by this test, which looks for the DNA of the mycoplasma species. After the test is sent to an independent laboratory, results might not be available for several days.
If your veterinarian suspects your cat has feline infectious anemia, they might suggest testing for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency viruses (FeLV/FIV). Between 40 and 50 percent of cats with feline infectious anemia also test positive for one of these viruses, according to study.

Treatment for Feline Infectious Anemia

In the case of cats with mild anemia and limited evidence of disease, it is possible to treat them at home with oral antibiotics and/or steroids to lessen the loss of red blood cells caused by the body’s ability to fight illness.

Those who are more badly afflicted will need to be hospitalized in order to get IV hydration therapy, steroids to stop the immune system from attacking red blood cells, and/or blood transfusions.

Prevention of Feline Infectious Anemia

To keep your cat free of fleas, ticks, lice, and mosquitoes all year long, use parasite prevention. Keep your cat inside or only allow them access to the outside when closely supervised to avoid fights. Have your cat tested for FeLV/FIV if it spends any time outside or if it has ever been bitten by a cat.




READ NEXT: Elf Cat: Breed Profile

You may also like

Leave a Comment