Feline Hemotropic Mycoplasmosis Can Your Cat Recover From Feline Hemotropic Mycoplasmosis?

Feline Hemotropic Mycoplasmosis Photo by Anel Rossouw: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-grey-tabby-kitten-lying-down-2558605/

Feline Hemotropic Mycoplasmosis (FHM), also referred to as feline infectious anemia, is a cat disease that ruptures red blood cells. Learn more in this article.

Feline Hemotropic Mycoplasmosis, also known as feline infectious anemia, is a serious and potentially fatal condition that affects cats. The disease is caused by a type of bacteria called Mycoplasma Haemofelis, which invades the red blood cells of affected cats and causes them to rupture.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the causes, symptoms, treatment, and preventive measures for Feline Hemotropic Mycoplasmosis.

What are the Causes of Feline Hemotropic Mycoplasmosis?

The causes of Feline Hemotropic Mycoplasmosis include

  • Bite of an infected flea: The main mode of transmission is through the bite of an infected flea.

  • Blood transfusion or transplantation of infected blood products: Additionally, the disease can spread through blood transfusions using contaminated blood components.

  • Exposure to contaminated surfaces: The bacteria that causes FHM can survive on surfaces for long periods of time, increasing the risk of infection.

  • Transmission from an infected mother cat to her kittens: During pregnancy or breastfeeding, an infected mother cat might pass on FHM to her offspring.

  • Underlying viral infection: Some reports suggest that cats with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) may have a higher risk of contracting FHM and suffer more severe clinical signs as well.

  • Carrier Cats: FHM is also found in carrier cats that can be asymptomatic, only shedding the bacteria and spreading it to other cats.


What are the Symptoms of FHM?

The symptoms of Feline Hemotropic Mycoplasmosis can vary depending on the severity of the infection and the overall health of the cat. However, the most common symptoms include

  • Anemia: The disease can cause a decrease in the number of red blood cells, leading to anemia.

  • Pale gums and mucous membranes: Anemia can cause the gums and mucous membranes to appear pale in color.

  • Weakness and fatigue: As the disease progresses, cats that are infected already may become weak.

  • Loss of appetite: Certain cats may lose their appetite or become picky with food.

  • Lethargy: Cats may become less active and less interested in their surroundings.

  • Rapid breathing: Some cats could develop rapid breaths, get short of breath, or even become intolerant to activity.

  • Enlarged Spleen: Enlargement of the spleen can be observed

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes): In advanced cases of FHM, your cat might have jaundice.

It's worth knowing that some cats may not show any obvious signs of the disease but will be carriers of the bacteria and can spread it to other cats. Therefore, testing is the best way to confirm the presence of the disease.


How can FHM be Clinically Diagnosed?

Feline Hemotropic Mycoplasmosis (FHM) can be clinically diagnosed using several different methods, including:

  • Physical examination: A physical examination can reveal signs of anemia, such as pale gums and mucous membranes, as well as an enlarged spleen.

  • Complete blood count (CBC): A complete blood count (CBC) can reveal a decrease in the number of red blood cells and may also indicate the presence of anemia.

  • Blood smears: A blood smear can be used to detect the presence of the bacteria that causes FHM. The bacteria can be seen as small, round, red-staining inclusions within the red blood cells, called inclusions.

  • PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) Test: PCR is a molecular diagnostic test that detects specific DNA sequences of the Mycoplasma haemofelis. It's a useful test because it's highly specific and sensitive and can be used on both acute and chronic cases.

  • Serology tests (ELISA, IFA): Serological tests like ELISA, IFA, etc. can detect the presence of antibodies to Mycoplasma Haemofelis, but they are less specific than PCR tests. This can be used as a screening test or in chronic cases where PCR is not feasible.

It's important to note that a positive diagnosis for FHM can only be confirmed by a combination of clinical signs, laboratory results, and appropriate treatment response.


Can Your Cat Overcome Feline Hemotropic Mycoplasmosis?

The treatment of Feline Hemotropic Mycoplasmosis typically includes a combination of antibiotics to kill the bacteria that causes the disease, along with supportive care to manage the symptoms. Here is a list of common treatments for FHM:

  • Antibiotics: The primary treatment for FHM is antibiotics. Doxycycline, azithromycin, and Clavamox are the most common antibiotics used to treat the disease. However, Zequin can be used in extreme cases. Antibiotics are usually administered for at least 6 to 8 weeks, and in some cases, for longer periods of time to ensure that the bacteria are completely eliminated.

  • Supportive care: Cats with FHM often require supportive care to manage symptoms such as anemia, dehydration, and organ damage. This can include fluid therapy, blood transfusions, vitamin supplements, and other medications as needed.

  • Flea control: Since the disease is transmitted through flea bites, it's important to use flea control products to prevent reinfection.

  • Follow-up: Regular follow-up visits with a veterinarian are important to ensure that the cat is responding well to treatment and to monitor for any possible complications.

  • Treatment of Underlying Diseases: If FHM is diagnosed in a cat with underlying diseases such as FIV or Feline Leukemia Virus, appropriate treatment should be provided for those conditions as well.

It should be noted that the precise course of action for a cat with FHM will depend on the severity of the infection and the cat's general health. A veterinarian should be consulted to develop a personalized treatment plan for each individual case.


How Can You Prevent Feline Hemotropic Mycoplasmosis?

Feline Hemotropic Mycoplasmosis (FHM) may be prevented in cats in a number of ways:

  • Flea control: The primary mode of transmission for FHM is through the bite of an infected flea, so using flea control products is one of the most important ways to prevent the disease. This can include topical or oral medications, as well as regular vacuuming and cleaning to remove fleas from the environment.

  • Blood screening: Cats that are at high risk for FHM, such as cats that live in multi-cat households or are frequently exposed to other cats, should be screened for the disease before they are adopted or before being brought into a household.

  • Vaccination: While a vaccine is not currently available for FHM, there are vaccines available that can protect cats against other diseases caused by mycoplasma, such as Feline Infectious Anemia (FIA) and Mycoplasma felis, which can help reduce the risk of infection.

  • Isolation: Cats that are diagnosed with FHM should be isolated from other cats until they have recovered to prevent the spreading of the disease.

  • Regular check-ups: Blood tests performed as part of routine veterinary examinations can aid in the early detection of FHM, which is crucial for effective treatment.

It is worth noting that, even with these measures, it can be difficult to completely eliminate the risk of FHM, as the bacteria that cause the disease can survive for long periods of time on surfaces, and it can also be carried by asymptomatic cats. Therefore, it's important to be vigilant about monitoring for the signs of FHM and seeking treatment promptly if the disease is suspected.

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