Flea Bite Anemia In Pets
Fleas are certainly very common external parasites seen in all areas of the country. When infestation is heavy, especially in young puppies and kittens, there can always be the risk of flea bite anemia. Because fleas are voracious blood feeders, red blood cell counts can drop dramatically especially in these younger animals. Symptoms include lethargy, weakness, pale gums, low body temperature, and in severe cases death may occur.
Treatment of flea bite anemia includes supportive care as well as specific therapy for the flea infestations, such as products like Frontline Plus or Advantage II. Affected pets may be bathed to remove adult fleas. An oral cat and dog flea medication, such as Capstar can be given, which quickly kills adult fleas within a few hours. Warm subcutaneous or IV fluid therapy may be needed, in addition to supportive vitamin therapy. In severe cases, transfusion may be necessary to restore red blood cell counts to normal. Prevention of flea bite anemia involves using specific products to kill and prevent flea infestation such as the products mentioned above.
Health Risks Caused By Fleas:
During the month of March, you can enter into our contest to win a years supply of flea/tick medication with every purchase of flea/tick medication you purchase from Guthrie Pet Hospital for your dog or cat.
With Too Few Red Blood Cells A Cats Body Can Starve
Anemia is the state where a cat has too few red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the tissues. They circulate for 70 to 80 days in cats before being removed from the circulation and replaced by the bone marrow. Since red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients to tissues, a loss of these cells is a serious problem and can be fatal.
Because an anemic body is starving for oxygen, one of the first signs of anemia is lethargy. Affected cats will have little energy to play. If you look at the gums, they may be very pale or jaundiced due to red blood cell destruction. In extreme cases, your cat may have trouble breathing. Respiration and heart rates may be increased as your cat tries to compensate for the lowered oxygen delivery due to a lack of red blood cells.
Depending upon the cause, you may also notice a fever and loss of appetite and/or melena or discolored urine that may suggest internal red blood cell loss/destruction.
Recommended Reading: Natural Paper Pellets Cat Litter
Infectious Diseases Transmitted By Fleas
Tapeworm is a parasitic flatworm that lives in the cats intestines. Dipylidium canium is the most common tapeworm to affect cats. Flea larvae consume egg capsules containing eggs, once inside the flea larvae they hatch into tapeworm embryos which invade the larval flea body. The flea larvae mature into an adult flea which jumps onto your cat and feeds. Some fleas are consumed by the cat during biting or grooming. Once inside the cat, the ingested flea breaks down, and the tapeworm is released. Tapeworms attach to the intestinal wall, feeding off the partly digested food the cat has eaten.
Not all cats with tapeworm will show signs of sickness. When they do, it is usually due to the worm competing with your cat for nutrients.
Symptoms of tapeworm include rice-like grains in your cats feces, anal scooting and a severe infestation can cause weight loss and a ragged appearance to the cats coat.
Tapeworms are treated with anti-worming medication.
Symptoms vary depending on the form of plague your cat has but may include anorexia, fever, swollen and ulcerated lymph nodes , coughing and sneezing .
Antibiotics to kill the bacteria. The cat will stay in isolation during hospitalisation due to the high risk of transmission. Isolation is required during treatment due to the high risk of transmission.
Tularemia treatment includes antibiotics for 14 days as well as supportive care which can include fluid therapy and nutritional support.
Fleas: A Serious Parasitic Infection
As with dogs, an
parasitic infection in cats can cause more or less serious illnesses.
This is particularly the case for the following pathologies:
chronic fatigue, anemia and fever
a parasitic infection of the body after involuntary ingestion of fleas
feline hemobartonellosis: a bacteriological infection that destroys red blood cells in the blood
Cat fleas are also transmissible to humans.
It is an opportunistic parasite that attacks other mammals.
One of the bacteria carried by fleas can transmit to humans, if scratched by an infected cat,
cat scratch disease
This disease, also called bartonellosis, is generally harmless for the animal.
But it can cause joint pain, fever, anemia and skin lesions in humans.
Read alsoCat: 5 symptoms to take seriously
Also Check: Gargamel Cartoon Character
Are There Natural Treatments For Cat Fleas
You can also turn to
to get rid of fleas in your cat.
The mixture of water, essential oil of lavender and vinegar remains particularly effective in getting rid of it.
The use of a neem oil shampoo has insecticidal properties.
Read alsoCat repellents: 5 simple and natural solutions
There are also anti-flea plants, such as spearmint or chrysanthemum.
For flea eggs, which are in the environment and not on the animal, pour diatomaceous earth, baking soda, or even salt on the infested areas .
Do not pass the broom, but use a vacuum cleaner to clean your parts.
Health Problems Fleas Cause In Cats
Spring is just around the corner and with warmer weather arriving, fleas will start to reappear. Fleas are very prolific parasites, in fact, one flea can produce 50-100 eggs/day. Guthrie Pet Hospital recommends preventative measures to prevent infestations. This week Dr. Coffin will discuss health issues in cats caused by fleas.
Also Check: 8 Cat Years In Human Years
Excessive Scratching And Licking
A cat can lick or scratch to relieve the itch of a flea bite. This is why scratching is a good indicator that your cat has fleas. Preventing fleas on your cat starts with knowing the signs to watch out for, which include excessive scratching and licking. You should also know what type of environment you are providing for your pet because cats that live indoors pose an increased risk of getting fleas than those who live outdoors.
Recovery Of Parasitic Blood Infection In Cats
Prognosis for full recovery in most cases of parasitic blood infections is good. It will be especially important to follow veterinarian instructions and administer the full course of medication as many of these parasites may return if not fully eradicated. Once eliminated from your cats system, there are typically no long term side effects. You should also work with your veterinarian to develop an appropriate flea and tick control program, as this will greatly reduce the possibility of most parasitic blood infections that are caused by biting insects.
*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.
Parasitic Blood Infection Average Cost
From 275 quotes ranging from $200 – $1,000
You May Like: Best Sifting Litter Box For Pine Pellets
Understanding Anemia In Cats
An anemic cat has an abnormally low number of red blood cells. Anemia can range from mild to severe, and symptoms can include lethargy, vomiting, decreased appetite, pale gums, open-mouthed breathing, excessive thirst, and weight loss. Left untreated, anemia can be fatal, and unfortunately, many cats dont show symptoms of anemia until the condition has become severe.
Anemia has many causes, including cancer, drug reactions, chronic illness, kidney failure, parasitic infection, feline leukemia, and even toxins. To better understand your cats anemia, your vet will work to identify the root cause so you can treat both the anemia and the condition behind it.
How To Prevent Anemia
Anemia is a symptom of many diseases so preventing anemia is not always possible, but there are some specific things you can do to decrease the risk for your cat.
- Use a monthly parasite prevention product that kills fleas, ticks, lice, and intestinal parasites.
- Keep your cat indoors, or only allow them outside with direct supervision.
- Feed them nutritionally balanced cat food.
- Have them tested for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency viruses as recommended by your veterinarian.
- Prevent access to toxins.
- Take your cat in for veterinary exams at least once per year and have blood tests done every one to three years to determine their normal values.
You May Like: What Is The Name Of Lovecraft’s Cat
Fleas In Cats: Treatments And Remedies
Regardless of its living environment, your cat can be exposed to fleas. While this is a relatively common infection, it requires proper treatment. What are the best flea remedies? Are there easily identifiable symptoms? Explanations.
Whether he lives in an apartment or a house, your cat can become a host of parasites, especially fleas.
True or false: fight misconceptions about the garden
How to teach your dog to recall?
Noninfectious Diseases Caused By Fleas
This is one of the most common skin disorders to affect cats, many of whom have an allergic reaction to the fleas saliva. This causes intense itching andmiliary dermatitis.
Treatment of flea allergy dermatitis is aimed at avoiding exposure to fleas, but may also include steroids to reduce itching, anti-inflammatory injection, and desensitisation.
A heavy infestation of fleas, particularly in young kittens, can lead to anemia, which is a reduced red blood cell count. Serious anemia can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of anemia include lethargy, weakness, pale mucous membranes, rapid heartbeat.
Treatment of anemia in cats involves removing the fleas, and in severe cases, ablood transfusionmay be required.
Recommended Reading: What Was Gargamel’s Cats Name
How Can Cats Get Fleas
Cats have a tendency to pick up fleas from their environments, such as the floor or other pets, and as such, it is not uncommon for peoples homes to also become infested with them. The cat may host these pests in its fur and brush them off onto carpets and furniture, where they will latch onto humans as well as pets.
Transmission of fleas can occur through direct contact with infected animals or their bedding, carpeting, or furniture. Fleas may also be transmitted by inhaling flea dirt which contains the dried blood and feces of an infected animal. Aside from direct transmission, a cat may contract a flea infestation if it spends a significant amount of time outside and comes in contact with other animals that have fleas.
How Are Blood Cell Counts Done
A blood sample is taken and placed in a test tube containing an anticoagulant to stop it from clotting. It is then transported to a laboratory.
The process is generally done using automated equipment. The blood is well mixed and placed on a special rack on the analyzer. This instrument has many different components to analyze different elements in the blood. The cell counting component counts the numbers of red and white blood cells and platelets. The results are printed out or sent to a computer for review by a technician.
Because an automated cell counter samples and counts so many cells, the results are very precise. However, certain abnormal cells in the blood may be identified incorrectly. To be sure the results are correct, a technician reviews the blood smear on a slide and identifies any abnormal cells or blood parasites present.
In addition to counting, measuring, and analyzing red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, automated blood analyzers also measure the average size and the amount of hemoglobin in red blood cells. This information can be helpful when trying to identify the cause of an anemia.
Bone marrow evaluation is typically done for any animal with an unexplained, nonregenerative anemia. Sampling the bone marrow requires sedation or anesthesia.
Don’t Miss: Cat Year Vs Human Years
How Can Anemia Be Prevented
For cats, the most important tool at our disposal is simply to keep them safe. Keep them indoors and keep them clear of fleas and gastro-intestinal parasites, Dr. Carroll says.
Year-round flea and trick control is particularly important, even for indoor cats, and preventive treatment should be used year-round. The best line of defense for anemia from age-related conditions or chronic illness is to take your cat in for regular wellness exams, where your vet can stay on top of potential disease risks.
Help us make PetMD better
Was this article helpful?
What did you find helpful?
- This article had helpful info and advice that I trust.
- Article was somewhat helpful, but could be improved.
What was not helpful?
- Article wasn’t very helpful and needs improvement.
What Is Infectious Anemia
Infectious anemia can be transferred to any cat through fleas and ticks that have fed on an infected animal, however cats with weak immune systems are more at risk. This serious health condition needs to be treated with medication, so if you notice the signs of infectious anemia, bring your cat into a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Anemia is the medical term used to describe a low number of red blood cells in the bloodstream. There are different types of anemia that can affect your cat, including infectious anemia, which is caused by bacterial microorganisms that destroy your cats red blood cells. Some cats may exhibit very few symptoms, while others may have a more severe case of anemia with easily observable symptoms.
Vet bills can sneak up on you.
Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.
From 273 quotes ranging from $500 – $3,000
Protect yourself and your pet. Compare top pet insurance plans.
Also Check: What Are Cat Years To Humans
How Is Anemia Diagnosed
Your veterinarian will take a sample of your cats blood and run several tests as part of a complete blood count. This measures the amount of red and white blood cells, the hematocrit levelthe ratio of red blood cells to white blood cellsas well as the reticulocyte count, or the number of immature red blood cells present in your cats blood. A normal red blood cell count for a cat is 35. At half that, your cat would be seriously ill and at risk of death.
Common Feline Diseases Carried By Fleas
As if the itching and stinging weren’t enough, fleas also transmit other conditions which can have a more deleterious effect on your cat’s health.
- Anemia: Unchecked infestations of fleas can actually cause anemia from blood loss this can sometimes be fatal, particularly in kittens. Pale gums are a red flag for anemia in kittens, and a sign that immediate veterinarian attention is needed.
- Tapeworms: Fleas also carry a parasite called tapeworm which are commonly found in cats that have been exposed to fleas.
- Haemobartonellosis : Fleas can also be vectors for a blood born parasite called Mycoplasma Haemofelis in cats. This bacterium can cause anemia, fever and severe illness. Haemobartonellosis is diagnosed by laboratory tests and treated with antibiotics, and in some severe cases, blood transfusions.
Read Also: Do Cats Vomit When Pregnant
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Anemia In Cats
The veterinarian will need to collect a Complete Blood Count from your cat so it can be tested to tell him or her how many red blood cells, hemoglobin, white blood cells and platelets your pet has. This can also reveal the type of anemia.
Once the type of anemia is found, your vet can recommend other tests depending on your cats symptoms to identify the cause of the anemia. Treatment will depend on the severity of the condition, as well as the underlying cause. In some cases, this may include a change in diet or medication, surgery, blood transfusion or other treatments.
Removing Fleas And Their Eggs From Your Home
Next, you’ll remove fleas and their eggs from your home. This should be an ongoing program while the adult flea treatment is killing the live fleas.
- Wash all bedding thoroughly. While the bedding is free of coverings, vacuum the mattress, particularly in the crevices, where eggs might hide.
- Vacuum carpeting daily and dispose of used vacuum bags.
- Steam-clean carpeting will kill any remaining eggs the vacuum might have missed.
- Most of the time, you do not need to do a flea or insect treatment in the home. Though if you do, we recommend hiring a professional and asking them to use cat friendly products. Flea treatments for the home are truly secondary to cleaning very well and keeping your pet’s on reliable flea prevention consistently throughout the year.
If you follow this cat flea control program scrupulously, fleas will soon be a distant memory in your household, and your kitties will be eternally grateful to you for freeing them from unwanted fleas and the problems they bring.
Read Also: Whats Cat Years To Human Years