(Feline Infectious Anemia)
Mycoplasma hemophilus is a blood disease of cats in which a microscopic parasite) attaches itself to the red blood cells. These red cells are then trapped in the cat’s spleen and the parasite and/or red blood cell is destroyed. Anemia (decreased numbers of red blood cells) results from the trapping of red cells in the spleen and damage to the cells done by the parasites. Infected cats go through cycles of anemia because of alternating periods of replication and destruction of the parasite and blood cells by the spleen. The time from infection to the appearance of the parasite on the red cells varies from 8 to 23 days.
Mycoplasma Hemophilus is transmitted to healthy cats by blood-sucking insects, such as fleas. Recovered cats are often carriers, and, therefore, control of external parasites, such as fleas and lice, is necessary to prevent spread to other cats.
The disease can be very mild with no obvious signs of illness, or it can be severe with fever, weakness, emaciation, loss of appetite, and jaundice. Some infected cats show no signs of illness until they are stressed by illness, injury, or severe emotional upset. Recurrence of feline infectious anemia is fairly common, even after treatment.
Important Points in Treatment
1. Severely ill cats require hospitalization and one or more blood transfusions.
2. Medication: Give all medication as directed. Call the doctor if you are unable to administer the medication as directed.