There are plenty of factors which might be the cause behind feline anemia. In case you are able to detect feline anemia at an early stage, then there’s a huge possibility that your kitty can be cured very quickly. Anemia is caused in the cats due to less number of red blood cells in the body. Red blood cells have a major role in carrying oxygen to all the tissues in the body of the cat. When there is a lack of red blood cells, then less oxygen gets delivered to the body resulting into symptoms like lethargy and weakness. Some other reasons which might be the cause of feline anemia are immense blood loss during trauma, immune-related ailments, genetic defect, bone marrow disease, infectious disease, kidney-related diseases, cancer, etc. Most cats have the risk of getting anemia due to one reason or another. For instance, if your kitty is suffering from a parasitic infestation, then it might be lead to excessive blood loss along with anemia. Some of the medications like drugs given during cancer-therapy can also lead to anemia in cats.
There are two types of feline anemia, regenerative anemia and non-regenerative anemia. Irrespective of the type of feline anemia or the cause of feline anemia, the cat will feel lousy and tired. The overall health of your kitty will always be at risk if it is suffering from any type of feline anemia. Most of the cats suffer from feline anemia as a side-effect of one of the many age-related problems. The organs of an older cat tend to stop functioning and get prone to ailments such as feline anemia. A non-regenerative anemia is caused in cats due to ailments related to kidney, bone marrow or immune. Leukaemia is one of the major ailment which lead to feline anemia. The major cause of regenerative anemia in cats is the blood loss due to parasite infestation such as flea or ticks. If there are a lot of fleas on the body of the kitten, you must take the kitten to a vet to get examined properly as soon as possible. According to research, a parasite infestation such as flea does not damage the red blood cells of the cat but puts the cat’s life at risk due to excessive blood loss sucked by the flea.
What are the symptoms of anemia?
Red blood cells help in carrying oxygen as well as nutrients in the body of the cat. Not only this, red blood cells are most important for maintaining the smooth functioning of the organs in the body. Some of the most common symptoms of feline anemia are lethargy and reduced appetite. The gums of a cat suffering from feline anemia turn completely pale. It’s not easy to know if a cat is suffering from feline anemia if it is the early stage or mild anemia. Even if you get a blood test done, mild anemia is undetectable. You must pay a visit to your vet if you feel that the cat is not feeling well. A lot of vets prefer doing a blood test named as packed cell volume (PCV) to detect feline anemia. With the help of PCV, the vets determine the percentage of red blood cells in the body of the cat. Your cat will be suffering from feline anemia only if the PCV shows a lower level compared the normal range. There are plenty of blood tests which might bring forth a lot of information regarding feline anemia. It is necessary to know whether the cat is suffering from regenerative anemia or non-regenerative anemia, so that the cat can get the proper treatment. The CBC level or the complete blood cell count plays a major role in evaluating the status of each and every component in the blood of the cat. A decrement in the level of red blood cells in the cat body can lead to the symptoms which are mentioned below.
- Excessive intolerance
- Pale gums
- Reduced appetite
- Black stools
- Jaundice (mucus membrane and the inner side of ears turn yellow in colour)
- Pica (excessive craving to consume elements which are inappropriate)
- Tachycardia (an increment in the heart rate)
- Tachypnoea (an increment in the respiratory rate)
Which Form of Anemia is More Common?
There are two different types of anemia in cats, regenerative anemia and non-regenerative anemia. When a cat is suffering from regenerative anemia, the bone marrow of the cat responds to the decrement in the level of red blood cells by enhancing the production of an erythrocyte. On the other hand, when a cat is suffering from non-regenerative anemia, the bone marrow stops responding to the decrement in the level of red blood cells and stops production of new cells of haemoglobin.
Regenerative anemia is a more common form of anemia found in younger cats while Non-regenerative anemia is mostly found in older cats. The younger cats are more prone to suffering from parasite infestation such as flea. Most of the ailments found in older cats are related to a particular organ such as a kidney. One of the major reason behind feline anemia is the age-related condition. Most of the cats end up suffering from feline anemia (non-regenerative type) when they grow old and the organs in the body stop functioning properly.
What are the possible Causes of Anemia?
The causes of regenerative anemia in cats are hypophosphatemia (lack of blood phosphate), neonatal isoerythrolysis, infections from bacteria or micro-organisms, inheriting the red blood cells from Somali cat breed or Abyssinian cat breed, toxins such as fava beans, chemicals and acetaminophen or aspirin.
The causes of non-regenerative anemia in cats are myelofibrosis (results into enlarging liver as well as spleen), myelodysplasia (bone marrow disorder), primary leukaemia (a kind of cancer which is related to white blood cell), pure cell aplasia (excessive decrement in red blood cell level due to viral infection), etc.
Anemic Cat Home Remedy?
You must take care of your cat if it is suffering from feline anemia. Some of the home remedies which you can apply to help your cat recover faster are mentioned below:
- If your cat is suffering from feline anemia, you must give her the food which is rich in iron as well as B vitamins. According to research, you must feed a cooked liver to the cat who is having feline anemia. You can give at least one ounce of the cooked liver in the meal of the cat for almost 2 weeks so that the cat can recover from feline anemia quickly.
- There are a plethora of supplements available which are helpful in enhancing the levels of iron, nutrients and vitamins in cats. You must consult with your vet before you change the diet or add supplements in the diet of your cat.
- Your cat might be feeling tired and lousy when it is suffering from feline anemia. You must limit your cat’s exercise so that it can recover quickly. Exercising will lead to excessive intake of oxygen from the cat’s body. When the cat is suffering from feline anemia, there is already scarce oxygen available inside the body. Henceforth, make sure that your cat rests more to get well quickly.
- It is a difficult task to know whether a cat is pale or not. Cats which are suffering from feline anemia will have pale mucous membranes. A normal cat has pink-coloured gum or pink tongue. But a cat suffering from anemia will have pale gums or white-coloured gums. So, if you feel that your cat is showing symptoms of feline anemia, you must check the mouth of your cat to determine whether they are pink gums or pale gums.
- Most of the cats who are suffering from feline anemia have conjunctiva. All you need to do is pull own the eyelids of the cat and check if they are pink in colour.
- There is a possibility that your cat might have got infested by dangerous parasites such as fleas, hookworm or a tick. These parasitic infestations can be the major cause behind feline anemia in kittens. You must get your cat regularly vaccinated every month to be free from fleas and ticks.
- You must add onions or garlic in the food for your cat. According to research, onions or garlic lead to a specific kind of anemia in cats called the Heinz Anemia.
- In case your cat is suffering from severe feline anemia, then your vet might recommend you to prefer blood transfusion. The blood transfusion helps in stabilizing the cat so that the vet can start treating the main cause of decrement in red blood cells in the cat’s body.
How Can Anemia Be Prevented?
There are a lot of methods to prevent your kitty from feline anemia. You must do everything to protect your cat from parasites. You must vaccinate your cat to protect from diseases like feline leukemia. In case you observe any small signs or symptoms of feline anemia, you must immediately take your cat to a vet to save its life. The treatment of feline anemia is completely dependent on the cause of the disease. It might be possible that your cat has lost a lot of blood due to parasitic infestation or injury. On the other hand, it’s also possible that the cat’s body is not able to produce red blood cells. In case the cat is suffering from severe feline anemia, the vet would prefer doing a blood transfusion for your cat. The best method to prevent the cat from getting parasitic infestation is to keep it indoors. This method will help you to protect your cat from fleas, ticks, and parasites which are gastro-intestinal.
The next method to prevent your cat from getting feline anemia when it gets old is to get a regular wellness test done by a vet at proper intervals. Most of the organs of a cat don’t function properly as a side-effect of an age-related problem. Some of the causes of feline anemia are preventable such as injury from trauma. You must keep your cat indoors to protect from any kind of vehicular trauma, parasites, and other infectious diseases.
Can Anemia Be Fatal for a Cat?
Some of the causes of anemia can be fatal for a cat, such as feline anemia caused due to feline leukemia. Majority of the cases which prove fatal are related to excessive blood loss caused by injury from a trauma or parasite infestation. In case your kitten has a lot of fleas or ticks on the body, then you must immediately take your kitten to a vet. According to research, traumatic injuries or any parasitic infestation do not affect the growth of red blood cells in the cat’s body. But these conditions usually put the cat’s life at risk because of the immense loss of blood sucked by flea or loss of blood during injury.