Nonregenerative Anemia in Cats
A decrease in red blood cells is referred to as anemia. Typically, bone marrow will respond to this loss by increasing red blood cell production. However, in non-regenerative anemia, the bone marrow response is inadequate when compared to the increased need. For this reason, cats that suffer from anemia caused by lead poisoning or feline leukemia are in a very dangerous situation. Also, pets that become anemic over a period of time will fare better than those that have a sudden onset of anemia. When the anemia progresses slowly, the body has time to adjust to the decreased red blood cell count. Animals that become anemic quickly may die because of the sudden loss in red blood cells and oxygen.
There are three kinds of anemia: blood loss anemia caused by blood leaking out of the vascular system, as in the case of a wound; hemolytic anemia resulting from the destruction of red blood cells circulating within the blood stream; and non-regenerative anemia, which is caused by a decrease in red cell production.
Symptoms and Types
- Pale gums or mucous membranes
- Eyes and ears may be pale as well
- Sleeping more than normal
- Stops grooming itself
- Decreased appetite
- Increased breathing and heart rate
- Bone marrow disease
- Infections (feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus)
- Kidney failure
- Toxic chemicals
- Lead poisoning
- Inherited disorders
Anemia is generally a symptom of another disease. Therefore, diagnosis is based on your cat’s health history and clinical symptoms, physical examination, complete blood counts, urinalysis, iron testing, and bone marrow testing.