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Severe Anaemia in a Cat

Annelise Enslin

Being from South Africa it was relatively easy diagnosing the cause of severe anaemia in dogs as almost always it was due to a blood parasite called Babesia (which we don’t have in New Zealand), and if it wasn’t that then the chances were good that it was due to an auto immune disease called Auto Immune Haemolytic Anaemia or IMHA for short.

So needless to say, since my arrival in New Zealand, I have been on the lookout for the feline blood parasite called Mycoplasma felis.  Mycoplasmoses are blood borne parasites that attack red blood cells and cause their breakdown within blood vessels. They are transmitted by biting insects, mainly fleas and ticks. There are 3 known species in New Zealand: M. felis, M. haemominutum, M. turicensis.

They can cause severe illness if the animal is already suffering from another condition causing a compromised immune system. Some of these diseases include Feline Immuno Deficiency Virus (FIV), Feline Leukaemia Virus(FeLV) and lymphoma (a common cancer in cats).

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Pale and jaundiced mucous membranes in a cat

Earlier this year it was D-day.

A nine and a half year old cat who, for the purpose of this article we’ll call Timothy, was presented with the following symptoms:

  • Anorexia (not eating) for 4 days                                        
  • Severely lethargic
  •  Increased breathing rate and effort
  • Pale and jaundiced mucous membranes
  •  Heart rate of above 220 beats/min
  • Temperature of 39.4⁰C

Initial treatment, consisting of intravenous fluids and antibiotics, was started whilst waiting for blood results.

Blood results revealed Mycoplasma sp. in the red blood cells, severe neutropaenia (low white blood cell count) and severe non regenerative anaemia which means that the bone marrow was failing to produce new red blood cells.

Specific treatment for Mycoplasmosis was started and consisted of the antibiotic Doxycycline.

Since the anaemia was non regenerative together with the change in white blood cell numbers, underlying causes for poor regeneration was investigated and included testing for FIV and FeLV.  Timothy tested negative for both.  Even though Timothy tested negative for these 2 viruses that are commonly incriminated for immune suppression, he likely suffered some other underlying condition which had prevented his body from responding appropriately to the anaemia.

Timothy was continued on intravenous fluids and Doxycycline therapy. Unfortunately after 3 days he was still failing to produce new red blood cells in sufficient numbers and the decision was made to have him humanely euthanased.

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Each little purple dot in the larger and paler red blood cells Indicate a Mycoplasma organism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Wellness Testing in the Geriatric Pet

Read more >Tuesday 28th of March 2017: What is wellness testing?

Wellness testing is the term given to a group of tests that is performed specifically to detect signs of early disease in a pet that is apparently healthy.


The Three-Host-Tick (Haemophysalis longicornis)

Read more >Friday 20th of January 2017: The 'New Zealand Cattle Tick' or 'Bush Tick', as an adult, is a red-brown, 8-legged tick visible with the naked eye from 3x2mm to around 9x7mm (whne it's full of feed). Larval and nymph (juvenile) stages are much smaller (but still visible) with 6 legs and a dark to black colour. It is known as the three-host-tick as it transitions through three stages from larvae to nymph to adult by attaching to a host, engorging by sucking blood, then dropping back onto the ground and repeating through the stages.


Ideal Weight Benefits

Read more >Tuesday 13th of December 2016: The case of an overweight pet visiting the vet clinic is an all too common theme. Furthermore, the majority are visiting for health reasons that could be prevented if these animals were at their ideal weight.


Heat Stroke

Read more >Thursday 8th of December 2016: With summer just around the corner we thought it appropriate to give our clients some information on heat stroke, what to look out for and what to do should it happen.

Heat stroke occurs when your pet's internal temperature rises abnormally high above 39 C. because he/she is unable to lose excess heat through normal processes: mainly panting and radiation of heat into the surrounding environment.


Barley Grass

Read more >Thursday 8th of December 2016: Summer is here and so are those nasty seeds that stick into anything, anywhere, any time.

Apart from it being painful to our four footed companions when these seeds burrow into them, it can pose important health risks too. In clinic we have experienced their migration into different areas of the animal, each with their own complications.


Cushing’s in dogs

Read more >Thursday 8th of December 2016: Cushing's is a hormonal disease state caused by the excessive production of cortisol, one of the "fight or flight" hormones produced by the adrenal glands.

Normally, when the cortisol level of blood is low, a gland in the brain (called the pituitary gland) secretes a stimulating hormone (ACTH) to tell the adrenal glands to produce and release more cortisol. Once blood cortisol levels are high enough again, it inhibits further secretion of ACTH by the brain. In this way the body keeps blood cortisol levels balanced.


Fleas - How do we prevent the little blighters from biting?

Read more >Tuesday 1st of November 2016: With the warmer months just around the corner it's time to once again consider the dreaded flea. Fleas can be a real problem over the warmer months, but it all starts now!


Skin Allergies in Dogs

Read more >Monday 12th of September 2016: With spring arriving we are starting to see more itchy dogs through the clinic doors. The main cause of this seasonal itch is allergy. Skin allergies can be divided into a number of causes including contact allergy, flea allergy, atopy and food allergy/intolerance.


Preventing Unwanted Kittens

Read more >Monday 12th of September 2016: Desexing our pets is an important part of responsible pet ownership. As the days get longer and the nights get warmer, our pet cats will start to venture away from the fire and off the bed. More cats out and about means there is greater chance of unwanted pregnancies. Without any control in place, a single un-speyed female cat can produce up to 3 litters of kittens per year, with approximately 3-4 kittens per litter.


Importance of Cats Drinking Water

Read more >Monday 12th of September 2016: With summer approaching, it is important to make sure your cat has a fresh water supply available at all times. Cats are not very good drinkers and partly as a result of this are susceptible to lower urinary tract inflammation or, even worse, kidney insufficiency which can lead to kidney failure.


Orphan Lambs and Lamb Rearing- Best practice

Read more >Friday 9th of September 2016: Rearing orphan lambs can be an enjoyable and rewarding job for a whole spectrum of people â from a lifestyler with a couple of pets lambs to the owner of a highly productive stud flock fostering triplet lambs of high genetic merit. Pet lambs are also easy for children to rear and are a great way to teach them some of the responsibility of pet care. No matter what the situation though, the rules for successful lamb rearing are the same for every situation.


Cleft Palate in a Labrador Puppy: A Survivor Story

Read more >Tuesday 23rd of August 2016: On 27 May 2016, Diana and Jerry Greer's Labrador, Tiggy, whelped and had 6 puppies. Unfortunately one was stillborn, which left five.

Two days after whelping Diana noticed that the firstborn puppy was losing weight and on closer inspection found that he had difficulty suckling.

On day three I offered to take him and attempt bottle feeding him and see if we could get him going again. When I arrived home I saw that he had a cleft palate. This is where the journey of 400g Olo and I started. Of course I had no idea what I was getting myself into!


Fiona the Alligator

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Colostrum – get the best from that liquid gold

Read more >Tuesday 14th of June 2016: It's coming to that time again - soon the cows will be calving and the calf sheds will be full of happy, healthy, bright eyed calves. They will have all had a good drink of high quality colostrum soon after birth, and will be well set up to become a great dairy cow.


Rat Bait Poisoning

Read more >Tuesday 7th of June 2016: Rat bait (rodenticide) poisoning is the most common poisoning we see in the clinic. It generally affects dogs as they are more readily ruled by their stomachs!


Case Study- Urinary Stones

Read more >Tuesday 7th of June 2016: Ziggy is an active 7 year old Bichon Frise who's owner brought him into the clinic after noticing him urinating more often than usual but only being able to pass small amounts of blood tinged urine. He also seemed in pain and was not his usual bouncy self.


Dental Disease in Cats and Dogs

Read more >Tuesday 7th of June 2016: Most cats and dogs over 3 years old will have evidence of dental disease. Dental conditions we commonly see in the clinic include peridontal disease, broken teeth, retained temporary teeth and feline resorptive lesions.


Lice in Cattle

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Winter is the season for lice and if they are there in numbers in winter they will be there en masse by spring.


Benefits of Rumensin

Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Rumensin contains an active ingredient from the ionophore family called Monensin. It has an action on the bacteria present in the rumen leading to a change in the composition of bacteria type.

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