How to Treat Non-Regenerative Anemia in Cats


Cats with non-regenerative anemia can't replace lost red blood cells with new ones. As treatment is based on the cause of the anemia, your cat's vet may run a blood serum analysis and a white blood cell count and/or examine samples of your cat's blood-forming bone marrow to determine the cause. The most common causes of non-regenerative anemia in cats are the feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus. Other causes are malnourishment, kidney failure, cancer and feline infectious anemia (which is caused by a parasite).

Things You'll Need

  • Veterinarian
  • Hematinics
  • Cat food
  • Erythropoeitin hormone
  • Oxytetracycline
  • Doxycycline
  • Prednisolone

Treatment Options

Allow your cat to have a blood transfusion if he/she is severely anemic. The transfusion can be done right after a blood sample is taken for testing. The main purpose of a blood transfusion is to stabilize the cat long enough to allow the veterinarian to arrive at the cause of the anemia. Once that has been diagnosed, further treatment will be administered accordingly.

Consider antiviral therapy if your cat is diagnosed with the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) or feline leukemia virus (FeLV) as the cause of his non-regenerative anemia. Some antiviral therapies can help some FIV-infected cats. Blood transfusions may be frequent to treat anemia in these cases.

Make sure your cat is getting enough blood-building nutrients. Feed your cat hematinics (vitamins and minerals such as B-12 supplements and folic acid), which can especially improve mild to moderate non-regenerative anemia caused by malnourishment. You can also feed her store-bought cat food that contains iron in the form of liver, nonfatty meats, whole grains and legumes. Cats should get 36.4 mg of iron (not in the form of iron oxide or carbonate) daily for every pound of dry food they eat.

Consider erythropoeitin hormone treatment if the cause of your cat's non-regenerative anemia is chronic liver failure. When functioning correctly, the kidneys produce this hormone, which signals the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. If the kidneys are not operating properly, erythropoietin treatment can be used instead to raise hemoglobin and hematocrit levels.

Obtain a prescription for oxytetracycline or doxycycline antibiotics or glucocorticoid treatment (such as prednisolone) if your cat has been diagnosed with feline infectious anemia. These can reduce the immune-mediated component of the disease process.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your cat's anemia is caused by cancer, chemotherapy or surgery may be necessary.
  • If you are considering erythropoeitin hormone treatment for your cat, realize that only the human form is available. Some cats' bodies may recognize this as foreign and create antibodies against it.

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