Feline Infectious Anemia: A Quick Guide How to Treat and Manage Infectious Anemia in Cats

BY | February 03 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
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Feline infectious anemia, commonly known as Feline Hemobartonellosis, is a dangerous and sometimes fatal illness that affects cats. In this article, we discuss this condition more.

Feline infectious anemia, also known as Feline Hemobartonellosis, is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that affects cats. It is caused by a type of bacteria called Hemobartonella felis, which invades the red blood cells and impairs their ability to carry oxygen to the body's tissues. 

In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatments for feline infectious anemia, as well as steps that cat owners can take to protect their pets from this disease.

Causes of Infectious Anemia in Cats

Feline infectious anemia is caused by the Hemobartonella felis bacteria, which invades the red blood cells of cats. The bacteria are transmitted through the bite of an infected flea or through close contact with an infected cat. Cats that have a weakened immune system or are suffering from other illnesses are at a higher risk of contracting feline infectious anemia. Outdoor cats and those that have high exposure to fleas are also at a higher risk of contracting the disease. Additionally, certain breeds of cats, such as Siamese, Burmese, and Abyssinian, may have a genetic predisposition to the disease.

Symptoms

Feline infectious anemia can cause a wide range of symptoms in cats, depending on the severity of the infection. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Anemia: This is the most common symptom of feline infectious anemia and is characterized by a decreased number of red blood cells. This can cause the cat to appear pale or weak.

  • Fever: Cats with feline infectious anemia may have a fever as the body's immune system fights the infection.

  • Weakness and lethargy: Cats with feline infectious anemia may be less active and have a decreased appetite.

  • Jaundice: This is a yellowing of the skin, gums, and whites of the eyes caused by the breakdown of red blood cells.

  • Breathing difficulties: As the infection progresses, the cat may have difficulty breathing due to a lack of oxygen in the blood.

  • Enlarged spleen: The spleen may become enlarged as it tries to compensate for the lack of red blood cells.

However, a few cats may not show any signs of infection, but can still be carriers of the bacteria. Therefore, it's essential to regularly check cats for fleas and have regular check-ups with a veterinarian.

Treatment Options

Feline infectious anemia is a serious condition that requires prompt treatment to prevent complications and potential death. Treatment options include:

It's advised to follow the veterinarian's instruction and complete the full course of antibiotics even if the cat appears to be feeling better, as failure to do so may lead to a recurrence of the infection. Cats that have recovered from feline infectious anemia may be carriers of the bacteria, so regular check-ups with a veterinarian are recommended.

How to Protect Your Cat from Infectious Anemia

There are several steps that cat owners can take to protect their pets from feline infectious anemia:

  • Keep your cat indoors: Outdoor cats are at a higher risk of contracting feline infectious anemia due to their exposure to infected fleas and other cats.

  • Control fleas: Regularly use flea control products and keep your cat's environment clean to prevent flea infestations. This can include using flea collars, spot-on treatments, and sprays.

  • Keep your cat healthy: Feed a balanced diet, keep your cat up to date with vaccinations and regular check-ups with a veterinarian, and address any underlying health conditions that may weaken your cat's immune system.

  • Keep your cat away from infected cats: If you know of a cat that has feline infectious anemia, keep your cat away from that cat to prevent transmission.

  • Be aware of symptoms: Knowing the symptoms of feline infectious anemia can help you catch the infection early and get your cat prompt treatment.

  • Regular check-ups: Even if your cat appears healthy, regular check-ups with a veterinarian are recommended to ensure that your cat remains healthy and to detect any potential issues early on.

By taking these steps, you can help protect your cat from feline infectious anemia and ensure that they live a long and healthy life.

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