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.
How To Prevent Anemia In Cats
Not all types of anemias can be prevented in cats, however keeping up with monthly flea prevention as recommended by your veterinarian and keeping cats indoors are two good practices to put in place.
Cats that are on consistent monthly flea prevention are unlikely to develop flea infestations or flea-bite anemia as a result. Indoor cats are less likely to be exposed to trauma such as getting hit by cars and wildlife attacks, which could lead to blood loss and more severe injuries.
Keeping up with annual veterinary visits and blood work can also be helpful in monitoring your pets blood levels.
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.
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What Are Good Sources Of Iron For Cats
If your cat is found to be iron deficient, you can help improve his iron count by adding iron-rich foods to her diet, in addition to cat food brands high in iron. Iron supplements can also help.
Iron-rich foods include lean meat such as turkey, pork, beef and chicken . Fish also makes the list, as do eggs .
Always get your vets okay before adding any new food to your cats diet, in case more serious medical treatment is required or he has a food allergy.
If you notice signs of anemia in your cat, make an appointment with your vet right away. They can perform tests and develop a custom treatment plan, which may include actions you can take at home to help him recover.
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.
Diagnosis Of Anemia In Cats
Prior to a blood transfusion, a blood test will allow your veterinarian to
A CBC provides not only a red blood cell count, but also counts of white blood cells and platelets . This can be done automatically by a machine, or by hand using a microscopeor sometimes both.
Looking at a blood smear under a microscope also provides information about RBC size and appearance and allows visualization of blood cell parasites.
Another common testcalled PCV or hematocritmeasures RBCs as a percentage of total blood volume. This test can be done in a matter of minutes and only requires a small quantity of blood. For that reason, its helpful when results are needed quickly, or when frequent RBC checks are required to monitor progress during treatment.
A normal PCV range for an adult cat is 25-45%. Readings below 25% indicate anemia, and below 15% is considered severe anemia.
Its also important to diagnose the underlying disease that caused the anemia because addressing the underlying cause is a key component of anemia treatment.
A veterinarian may use the following methods to determine the underlying cause:
Your vet may start with just a couple of tests, or they may recommend a full health workup. The diagnostic plan depends on your cats medical history, the severity of their anemia, other symptoms, and the suspected underlying cause.
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Check Your Cat For Fleas Regularly
The sooner you can discover fleas on your cat, the better. Catching fleas early will make their eradication easier. Daily inspection for fleas is ideal, but even checking once a week can catch an infestation before it becomes severe.
Unfortunately, fleas can be difficult to find on cats. Most cats with fleas have minimal scratching and they can remove many fleas by grooming. This is why regular flea inspections are so important as other animals in your home can become infested.
Flea checks are quick and easy to do once you have some practice. The simplest method is to reverse rub your kitty lifting the hair from tail to head to give a good look at the skin underneath.
Fleas are likely culprit if you find:
- Small flat parasites moving away from you
- A salt and pepper appearance with small dark or light specks
- Red, inflamed welts or scabs
For a more careful inspection, use a fine-toothed flea comb. Run this comb through the cats fur over the base of its tail 10-15 times and pull the contents out onto a white surface, or paper towel. Once again, look for fleas or the salt and pepper dirt.
You can put a drop of water on a dark speck, and it may develop a red ring around itproof of flea feces, with the blood that was drank from your cat.
When you perform regular skin checks on your cats, inspect each cat in the household, because one cat may be a better groomer and remove more of the fleas than the others.
Topical Cat Flea Treatments
Spot-on cat flea treatments contain a small amount of liquid that is applied to your cats skin once a month. Many claim to be waterproof, but if the medication resides in the skin, frequent bathing can reduce their effectiveness. They may also be rubbed or groomed off when wet, so it is best to keep an eye on your cat and avoid petting them until the liquid dries.
Sprays, Dips and Shampoos
Once a major part of flea-control programs, sprays, dips and cat flea shampoos only work at killing fleas on the cat at the time of application, but do almost nothing for the hatchling fleas coming from the environment post-treatment. Many different products are available, so it is important to make sure the one you use is safe for cats.
Cat Flea Collars
A cat flea collar can be an attractive option for some pet owners. They are easy to use and typically have few side effects. However, old-style flea collars may not be very effective, especially in areas of the body farthest from the collar. Some of the newer products cost more but have data to support better efficacy.
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What Diseases Cause Blood Loss
The main causes of blood loss in cats include:
- trauma or injury to blood vessels or internal organs resulting in bleeding
- severe parasitic infestations with fleas, ticks, or hookworms
- tumors of the intestinal tract, kidneys, and urinary bladder that begin to bleed
- diseases that prevent proper clotting of blood
How Is Anemia In Cats Diagnosed
Anemia in cats is diagnosed with a combination of physical examination findings and laboratory testing. Anemia is detected on a blood test called a complete blood count, which does just that: counts all the blood cells. Anemia can also be detected on a blood smear, and if there are any parasites or other red blood cell defects causing the destruction of red blood cells, those can be seen as well. Baby blood cells can also be seen on a blood smear, telling a veterinarian or a pathologist whether or not the cat is making new blood cells.
Because anemia in cats is a secondary problem, it’s also necessary to run tests to determine what is causing the anemia. These tests can include any or all of the following: blood work, testing for infectious disease, urine tests, X-rays or other imaging studies, biopsy of abnormal organs or tumors, and more. Each case is unique, and your vet will be your best guide on what tests need to be run.
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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.
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.
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 .
Is Anemia In Cats Dangerous
and drink animals blood to live and reproduce. When cats are heavily infested , they can lose so much blood to these biting pests that they become anemic. In some cases, the condition is so severe that the cat can die.
Hookworms, like fleas and ticks, drink blood from cats. Differing from fleas and ticks, hookworms live inside the cats intestines they use their sharp mouthparts to attach to the intestinal wall and consume blood. Heavy infections can cause rapid blood loss and even death.
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Testing For Mycoplasma Infections
The anemia associated with
species infections is generally macrocytic and normochromic but may be macrocytic and hypochromic if coinfections leading to chronic inflammation exist. Neutrophilia and monocytosis have been reported in some infected cats. Diagnosis is based on results of PCR assay or blood film examinations showing the organism on erythrocyte surfaces. Because organism numbers fluctuate, blood film examination can be falsely negative up to 50% of the time.39 The organism may be difficult to find cytologically, particularly in the chronic phase. Thus, the more sensitive PCR assays are the test of choice. Primers are available that amplify a segment of the 16S rRNA gene common to both
species.39 Real-time PCR assays that quantify mycoplasmal DNA have now been titrated and can be used to monitor treatment responses.40 Clinically ill cats that are positive for either
species should be treated with a drug with presumed anti-
species infections and primary immune hemolytic anemia are difficult to differentiate, both antibiotics and glucocorticoids are often used to treat cats with severe, regenerative hemolytic anemia.
Symptoms Of Anemia In Cats
Anemia causes a wide variety of symptoms. The pictured cat shows signs of jaundice, which occurs in very severe cases of anemia. Usually, this is only seen with sudden rupture of large numbers of RBCs.
If the anemia is mild, a cat might not show any obvious symptomsespecially if the anemia is chronic and their body has had a chance to adjust and cope. Or they may show some of the milder symptoms listed below.
With moderate anemia, symptoms are often non-specific, meaning they could be due to a number of different diseases and dont specifically point to anemia. Common symptoms include:
As anemia progresses and becomes severe, a cat might show these symptoms:
- Weakness or severe lethargy.
- Very pale or white gums.
- Jaundice . Usually, this is only seen with sudden rupture of large numbers of RBCs.
- Open-mouth breathing.
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What Are The Signs Of Anemia
The most easily observed and common clinical sign of anemia is a loss of the normal pink color of the gums they may appear pale pink to white when examined.
“Pale gums and lethargy indicate the need to perform blood tests.”
Anemic cats also have little stamina or energy so they seem listless or tire more easily. Anemic cats may have signs of blood loss . Pale gums and lethargy indicate the need to perform blood tests.
How Can You Prevent Anemia In Cats
There are many ways you can protect your cat from things that cause anemia. Keeping your cat indoors or taking your cat outside only for supervised fun will help protect your cat from trauma and infectious disease. If your cat does spend time outside, staying up-to-date on external and internal parasite prevention like flea control and regular deworming will keep anemia-causing parasites away. Knowing what toxins cause anemia in cats and barring your cat access to those toxins is also important, as well as visiting your vet yearly to catch any anemia-causing disease processes early to ensure a better outcome.
While anemia may be life-threatening, there are many things you can do to minimize your cat’s risk of anemia. All in all, cats are tough creatures, and with a little care from you and your veterinary team, they often recover and live full lives even after having a bout of anemia.
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Anemia In Cats: Causes Treatment & Prevention
Anemia in cats occurs when there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to their body’s tissues, making the cat tired and weak. There are two main causes of anemia in cats: Either they don’t make enough red blood cells or something is destroying red blood cells faster than they can replace them.
Anemia can be a temporary, one-time problem, or it can be a long-term condition. Further, anemia can range from mild with no noticeable clinical signs to severe enough to be life-threatening. Because of this, cat anemia treatment varies depending on the severity and cause. Let’s take a closer look as to what causes a cat to be anemic.
Cats At Higher Risk For Flea Anemia
Elderly cats, kittens or cats who are sick are more at risk for developing anemia if infested with fleas. Because their immune systems are weakened , they are more susceptible to the effects of blood loss from flea bites. Cats who have suffered a severe injury resulting in blood loss, or cats that have recently undergone surgery and required a blood transfusion, are also at greater risk of developing flea anemia.
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What To Do If Your Pet Has Flea Anemia
If your pet is exhibiting any of the signs mentioned above, you should take your pet to the veterinarian immediately. Dark poop, or blood in the poop or vomit is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical intervention.
Severe cases of anemia may require a blood transfusion. There is also a need to eradicate the fleas on your pet and in your home. After a blood meal, adult fleas lay eggs in nooks and crevices, which will eventually hatch under favorable conditions. Even if all the fleas on your pets body have been killed, if you dont undertake measures to eradicate all the life stages of fleas in and around your home, re-infestation can easily occur.
While many flea medications are available without a veterinarians prescription, heavy infestations require that you consult your vet for a product that will target all the life stages to minimize the risk of rapid re-infestation.
In cases when a dog or cat has become critically ill because of a heavy flea infestation, treatment can be problematic. The patient may be too young or small for available flea medications or too ill to tolerate being given a bath. Your vet will be able to determine the safest way to remove the fleas without further endangering the animals life.
The best way to deal with fleas and their damaging effects on pets is to work with your vet in creating a comprehensive health program that will include regular anti-flea medication to give your pet year-round protection against fleas.
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.
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Parasitic Blood Infection Average Cost
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