How to Tell if my Cat Has Anemia

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 25, 2017
How to Tell if my Cat Has Anemia

Anemia occurs when there is a low amount of red blood cells in the blood causing there to be low oxygen levels in the body. The causes of anemia in cats are many and varied so in this article we will give you some tips so you can tell if your cat has anemia. You will recognize the symptoms, causes and possible treatments available so that yourcat can recover as soon as possible. Keep on reading if you want to answer your question: how to tell if my cat has anemia?

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Causes of anemia in cats

Cats may experience anemia due to varied factors ranging from simple bleeding to more serious contagious infections that will require specific treatment. Here we detail the common causes of anemia in cats:

  • Trauma or hemorrhage: If your pet has suffered a stroke or accident it may have lost a lot of blood or have internal bleeding.
  • External parasites: Fleas, ticks and lice can make a cat lose high amounts of blood and, therefore, suffer from anemia.
  • Diet which is low in minerals: There are some cat foods that contain iron, trace minerals, essential fatty acids and vitamins that help incorporate red blood cells.. Therefore, before buying food for your pet is important to take note of the opinion of a specialist who can advise you on your purchase. In OneHowTo we explain how to make healthy homemade food for your cat.
  • Major diseases: Feline leukemia, infectious peritonitis or renal failure can cause red blood cells to be lost, so it is imperative that if you think your cat has anemia you take it to your veterinarian to make a thorough diagnosis.
  • Infectious anemia: In addition to these causes, there are some infectious agents that can make a cat suffer anemia. The parasite Mycoplasma haemophilus is transmitted in cats with fleas, ticks or through the bites of other cats; without treatment up to 30% of those infected may die.
  • Another parasite which can cause anemia in our pet is the Cytauxzoon felis which, although less common than before, can be transmitted by ticks and mainly affects animals living in rural and forested areas. This infection is often fatal for domestic cats with a quick death.
How to Tell if my Cat Has Anemia - Causes of anemia in cats

Symptoms of anaemia in cats

There are some clear symptoms to help you establish whether a cat has anemia. As soon as you notice a change in the health of your pet and a possible low mood that you suspect may be due to this disease it is imperative that you go to a veterinarian to determine the course of treatment.

  • Irregular heartbeat: If you notice that your cat has difficulty breathing or feel that its heartbeat is abnormal this may be a symptom of feline anemia.
  • Loss of appetite: If your cat has no hunger and refuses food, even that which it likes most, it may be suffering from this disease.
  • Weight loss: Is also very common for cats to become thinner when they are anaemic, so to keep track of your feline's weight it is advisable you weigh your pet frequently.
  • Nausea and vomiting: this is another symptom that these animals may suffer if they have anemia.
  • Tiredness: If you see your pet sleeping more than normal or spends almost no time animated, it may be due to a disease like this. Go to the vet for a check-up.
  • Blood in the stools: Anemia can also cause the appearance of blood in your animal's waste.
  • Pastiness: The area the nose, tongue or mouth may be affected due to anemia. These body parts will be paler with whiter or more bluish tone. If so, take your cat to the doctor immediately.

It is recommended that, if you notice that your pet has one or more of these symptoms, you immediately take it to a vet to be examine and determine which is the best treatment to have it regain its health.

How to Tell if my Cat Has Anemia - Symptoms of anaemia in cats

Treating anemia in cats

Once you take your pet to the vet, he or she will do a blood test to count the red blood cell levels and analyse the typology presented in the blood. Depending on the type of condition that has caused your cat to suffer from anemia, you will be given one treatment or another as it is not the same to treat an anemia which is due to a lack of nutrients than one caused by more serious diseases.

  • Like so, we must treat cases of anemia in cats with an origin in a diet lacking nutrients by changing the foods supplied and planning a menu with a greater amount of iron and vitamins.
  • If your cat suffers from this disease because of an accident or hemorrhage the levels can be re-balanced via a blood transfusion.
  • Through a stool test it can be determined if the cause of anemia is due to the presence of parasites; if so, your vet will tell you what antibiotics you should give your animal.
  • In cases of more serious diseases such as leukemia or other cancers, the veterinarian will indicate the steps to treat the disease.
How to Tell if my Cat Has Anemia - Treating anemia in cats

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