Anemia in Cats

A low red blood cell count that can threaten your cat's life. Blood transfusions can help.

Posted: Wed Dec 18 00:00:00 PST 2002

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Anemia is a low red blood cell count and can be a life-threatening condition. Tissues that do not receive enough oxygen and nutrition cannot function properly. There are many causes of anemia. It can result from excessive bleeding and losing a large amount of blood. It can occur if an animal is flea-infested and is drained of blood by the parasites. Anemia can also result from poor nutrition or long-term disease. It can occur when drugs or cancer suppress the bone marrow, which contains the immature blood cells. A red blood cell parasite called Hemobartonella can affect cats. This organism enters red blood cells and causes them to destruct within the cat's body. Regional parasites can also cause anemia.

The treatments for anemia are aimed at the specific causes. A blood transfusion acts as a temporary fix until the animal's body can regenerate enough replacement cells. Cats have two major blood types, A and B. In North America 98 percent of all cats have type A blood. Type B blood is most often seen in certain purebred cats including the British Shorthair, Devon Rex, Cornish Rex, Abyssinian and Somali.

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Reader Comments

Rosemarie    San Diego, CA

10/9/2011 3:45:22 AM

My cat had blood work 2 weeks ago and there was no indication she was anemic. Was prescribed methimazole to treat hyperthyroid and also given some vaccinations and had her anal sac expressed. They kept saying that she needed to receive oxygen and receive blood transfusions and that they could not pin point the cause of the problem. It seems to me that they should have immediately done the blood transfusion to save her life before incurring charges such as an EKG, etc. Then they recently made me so confused and essentially told me she did not have a chance and put her to sleep. Now I see that this could have been treated. Clear to me that she was fine before and after the meds had anemia. I am so upset that I lost her like that and nobody did the right thing. I know that it was something related to either the vaccines they gave her, she got ill from something she was exposed to at the vets office or the meds. There are tests to determine which type of anemia she had and they didn't do it. All they did was want to charge for her to be in the oxygen cage and do EKG's. I think they did this because they knew it was their fault. They made it sound like the blood transfusion and care would be so difficult on her and now I'm finding out differently. They let her go with the anemia for days before they even gave her any meds of any kind and that was finally prednisone and antibiotics. Once they took all my money for things that could have been done later after the blood transfusion they didn't care about making her better. She was my best friend and they did this to me because I trusted them.

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

10/10/2010 7:34:33 AM

good article, thanks

janet    bethlehem, PA

6/1/2010 4:27:57 AM

good article thank you very much

sandra    corydon, IN

12/19/2007 3:12:47 PM

enjoyed it

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