Thrombocytopenia in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Identifying and Treating Thrombocytopenia In Cats

Thrombocytopenia in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A cat with thrombocytopenia has a platelet count that is below normal, which affects blood coagulation and may result in serious bleeding. Here, we explore this blood disorder further.

Thrombocytopenia is a condition in which a cat's platelet count drops below normal levels, causing issues with blood clotting and potentially leading to severe bleeding. Numerous underlying medical disorders, including infections, autoimmune illnesses, and certain drugs, might contribute to this syndrome. For cat owners, thrombocytopenia can be a severe worry because, if left untreated, it can be fatal.

The origins, signs, diagnosis, and treatment of feline thrombocytopenia, as well as ways to avoid it altogether, will all be covered in this article.

Why Would a Cat's Platelet Count Be Low?

Thrombocytopenia in cats can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions, including:

  • Infections: Bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections can damage platelets and lead to thrombocytopenia. Some examples include the feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and Ehrlichia canis.

  • Immune-mediated disorders: In some cases, the cat's immune system may mistakenly attack and destroy its own platelets, leading to a reduction in platelet count. Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia and hemolytic anemia are two examples of immune-mediated diseases.

  • Medications: Certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs and some antibiotics, can suppress the bone marrow's ability to produce platelets, leading to thrombocytopenia.

  • Toxicity: Exposure to certain toxins, such as rat poison or certain insecticides, can lead to the damage of platelets and cause thrombocytopenia.

  • Other medical conditions: Thrombocytopenia can also occur as a result of underlying medical conditions, like liver disease, kidney disease, or cancer.

Symptoms of Low Platelet Count in Cats

Low platelets in cats symptoms might vary depending on the severity of the ailment and the root reason. Low platelets in cats may result in the following:

  • Bleeding excessively: Cats with thrombocytopenia may bleed excessively from cuts or minor wounds. They might also get hematomas, petechiae, or bruises (small red or purple areas on the skin). (localized areas of bleeding under the skin).

  • Lethargy and weakness: Thrombocytopenia, a disorder that may interfere with the body's ability to supply oxygen and nourishment to its tissues, can make cats feel weak and lethargic.

  • Appetite loss: Cats with thrombocytopenia may exhibit indications of vomiting or diarrhea in addition to appetite loss.

  • Mucous membranes and gums that are pale: A low platelet count can make the gums and mucous membranes look pale or white.

  • Neurological symptoms: Seizures and disorientation are two neurological symptoms that can develop as a result of thrombocytopenia in severe cases.


Cats often undergo a physical examination, blood testing, and other diagnostic procedures in order to be diagnosed with thrombocytopenia. The following common diagnostic tests can be performed to identify feline thrombocytopenia:

  • Complete blood count (CBC): A CBC may count and gauge the dimensions of platelets and other blood cells. Thrombocytopenia may be indicated by a low platelet count.

  • Blood smear: A blood smear is a microscopic examination of a drop of blood. This test can be used to find blood cells, particularly platelets, that are aberrant in their structure or function.

  • Biopsy with bone marrow aspiration: To ascertain the underlying cause of thrombocytopenia, a bone marrow aspirate or biopsy may be required in some circumstances.

  • Coagulation testing: Coagulation tests, such as an activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) or prothrombin time (PT), can assist determine whether a cat is able to produce blood clots.

  • Diagnostic imaging: X-rays or ultrasounds may be required in some circumstances to uncover underlying medical issues that

Low Platelet Count in Cats Treatment

Low platelets in cat treatments are dependent on the root cause behind the condition and how grave it has gotten. In general, treatment strategies may include:

  • Medications: Depending on the cause of thrombocytopenia, medications such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, or immunosuppressive drugs may be prescribed.

  • Blood transfusions: In severe cases of thrombocytopenia, a blood transfusion may be necessary to replace the cat's platelets and prevent excessive bleeding.

  • Management of underlying conditions: If an underlying medical condition is causing thrombocytopenia, such as kidney disease, treatment of that condition may be necessary to improve the cat's platelet count.

  • Supportive care: Supportive care may be required in addition to medical attention to manage the cat's symptoms and enhance its general health. This can entail providing a balanced meal, controlling discomfort, and ensuring enough rest and hydration.

Preventive Tips

Some preventive tips for thrombocytopenia in cats include:

  • Routine veterinary check-ups: Frequent visits to the veterinarian can help identify underlying medical conditions that may lead to thrombocytopenia. Early detection and treatment of these conditions can prevent the development of thrombocytopenia.

  • Proper nutrition: Providing your cat with a well-balanced and nutritious diet can help maintain its overall health and reduce the risk of developing underlying conditions that can lead to thrombocytopenia.

  • Avoid exposure to toxins: Keep your cat away from substances that could expose them to toxins, such as rat poison, pesticides, and other substances that can harm its platelets.

  • Prevent infection: To stop the transmission of illnesses that might cause thrombocytopenia, keep your cat up to date on immunizations and practice excellent cleanliness, like often washing your hands.

  • Monitor for signs of bleeding: Regularly check your cat for signs of bleeding, such as bruises or petechiae. Early detection and treatment of bleeding can prevent the development of thrombocytopenia.

While there is no surefire way to prevent thrombocytopenia in cats, taking these steps can help reduce the risk of this condition and promote overall health and well-being for your furry friend.

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