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Anemia in Cats – Types and Symptoms

Signs of Anemia

Signs may be overshadowed by a chronic illness. In general, anemic cats lack appetite, lose weight, sleep a great deal, and show generalized weakness. The mucous membranes of the gums and tongue are pale. In cats with severe anemia, the pulse and breathing rate are rapid. These signs also occur with heart disease, and these two conditions can be confused.

Anemia is usually diagnosed by blood tests that look for the red blood cell count and also for the numbers and types of red blood cells present on a smear. Blood parasites are often detected on a smear, but special polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests may be needed in some cases. A bone marrow sample may also be useful in determining the cause of the anemia.

Treatment: Uncomplicated nutritional anemia responds well to replacement of the missing nutrients and restoring the cat to a nutritionally complete diet.

Iron deficiency anemia should alert you to the possibility of chronic blood loss. A stool check will show whether there are ova and parasites or traces of blood in the feces. Work with your veterinarian to treat any external parasites.

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WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"

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