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Signs & Causes of Anemia in Cats

Signs & Causes of Anemia in Cats

If your cat has been acting more lethargic than usual and has been exhibiting such as weakness and shortness of breath, they may be anemic. Our Gaithersburg vets list the causes and symptoms of anemia in cats, along with treatment options.

Anemia in Cats

While anemia is not a disease in and of itself, it is a symptom of another disease or condition. Anemia refers to a decrease in the number of red blood cells and hemoglobin in your cat's blood. 

If your cat seems to be acting more lethargic than usual, is breathing rapidly even when lying still, or seems uninterested in food or treats, they may be suffering from anemia. 

What are the symptoms of anemia in cats? 

Which symptoms of anemia your cat displays will depend on the underlying cause of their illness, as well as its severity and duration. 

The most common signs of anemia in cats include: 

  • Loss of appetite 
  • Lethargy or lack of energy 
  • Rapid breathing 
  • Shortness of breath 

Other symptoms may include: 

  • Jaundice (yellowish color in the eyes, gums, or skin of red blood cells have been destroyed) 
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Weakness
  • White or pale gums 

What should I do if I see signs of anemia in my cat? 

If any of the symptoms listed above appear in your cat, book an exam with your primary veterinarian as soon as possible. They may perform or refer you to our animal hospital in Gaithersburg for a series of diagnostic tests. This is often referred to as a complete blood count (CBC). 

Your cat will require an official diagnosis and potentially more tests to identify which type of anemia she has, as well as the underlying illness, injury, or disease that's causing symptoms. 

If you discover blood in your cat's vomit or feces, this is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention from a veterinarian. 

How is anemia treated in cats?

The severity of the underlying condition responsible for the anemia will determine what treatment plan is best. Your veterinarian's diagnosis will be based on a thorough examination of your cat's medical history and clinical symptoms, as well as a physical examination. Bone marrow testing, a complete blood cell count, iron testing, and urinalysis may all be part of the exam.

Non-regenerative anemia in cats can typically be resolved by diagnosing and treating the underlying disease. For secondary AIHA, the goal will be to treat the underlying cause, potentially with toxin antidotes or numerous antibiotics.

Your vet may also recommend changes to medication and diet. If your cat is diagnosed with severe anemia, a blood transfusion may be required.

Animal Blood Bank & Blood Donor Program at Veterinary Referral Associates 

Cats and dogs suffering from anemia or who are critically ill often require blood products and donations from our blood bank.

Blood transfusions for sick patients are made possible by volunteer families who give the gift of life by participating in our blood donor program at our Gaithersburg animal hospital. All donors are screened by a clinician who performs a complete physical exam to confirm that donors are healthy enough to donate blood. they must also pass comprehensive lab work screening to be eligible. 

In our feline and canine blood bank, we store whole blood, packed red blood cells, and plasma that's used during lifesaving treatment. Ask your vet for a referral to our blood bank services today. 

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.

Is your cat displaying signs of anemia or other symptoms you are concerned about? Contact our Gaithersburg vets today for diagnosis and personalized care.

New Patients Welcome

Veterinary Referral Associates is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Gaithersburg companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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