What are the causes of leukopenia in cats?

The cat with leukopenia can have a decent life

Some diseases that cats can suffer are characterized by a decrease in white blood cells, also called leukocytes. These are some of the most important cells in the body, since they are in charge of fighting microorganisms that cause diseases.

But What are the causes of leukopenia in cats? Next, I'm going to answer your question.

What are the causes of leukopenia?

View of an orange cat

Leukopenia or low white blood cells is synonymous with problems. The organism is running out of defensesAnd that is exactly what the viruses, bacteria and fungi that cause disease want, which will not hesitate for a minute to enter the body and multiply while destroying it.

It is worth knowing that not only cats can suffer a decrease in leukocytes, but also other animals such as dogs or humans for example. In the case of felines, the main causes are:

Feline panleukopenia

It is a very contagious disease (among cats), very common in young and unvaccinated animals, also known as feline infectious enteritis. It is transmitted by a parvovirus that multiplies both in the digestive tract and in the bone marrow..

The infected cat excretes it with the stool and any other liquid, which allows the virus to come into contact with other cats very easily, since it is also capable of living up to a year in the environment.

How is it spread?

For a cat to become infected, It must come into direct contact with some liquid from the sick cat or with this same. Indirect contagion is also possible, such as using the same feeders and drinkers as the sick feline.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms are: depression, loss of appetite and weight, vomiting, lethargy, high fever, diarrhea and dehydration. If it is not treated in time, it is difficult for them to be saved.

Treatment and Prevention

The treatment focuses on managing symptoms, often hospitalizing the animal. Antibiotics, fluids for dehydration, and a blood transfusion if necessary.

To prevent it, there is nothing like having the vaccination schedule up to date. If we have a sick cat, we will keep it separate from the rest to avoid contagion.

Feline AIDS or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (IFV)

The cat is a predator

It is a disease caused by a virus that attacks the cat's immune system slowly. Any unvaccinated feline can become infected, so those that live on the street are at greater risk of suffering from it.

How is it spread?

It is usually from saliva, specifically when a cat bites another. But it could also be the case that it is transmitted through blood transfusions, although this is very rare.

What are the symptoms?

Sick felines can have any of these symptoms: fever, gingivitis, stomatitis, diarrhea, miscarriages, infertility, loss of appetite, or inflammation of the connective tissue.

Treatment and Prevention

The treatment consists of control existing symptoms, and prevent new ones from appearing. Therefore, you will be given antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and, if you have a fever, antipyretics as well.

But it is better to prevent it with a vaccine.


Medications used can damage the bone marrow, which is the "factory" of white blood cells. A cat may need chemotherapy to treat cancer for example.

How to take care of it?

If our cat is receiving chemotherapy, it is very important to follow the advice given by the vet. Give him quality food, rich in protein of animal origin, and a lot of love.

Skin cancer in animals
Related article:
What is chemotherapy for cats?

What are the symptoms of leukopenia?

The symptoms of leukopenia in cats will depend a lot on the cause, but the most common are:

  • General discomfort
  • Loss of appetite and / or weight
  • Vomiting and / or diarrhea
  • Apathy
  • Lethargy

Can leukopenia in cats be prevented?

Make sure your cat is calm

No disease is 100% preventable, but If cats are given the necessary vaccines since they are puppies and are given a quality diet (without cereals), it will be easy to strengthen their defense system. A good diet is vital for its health to be good, so that it can have a strong and healthy enough immune system with which the animal can fight against diseases.

It must be clear that not even the best care in the world will prevent you from getting sick from time to time. It is logical: it is a living being, and sometimes it will have a cold, or even the flu. It is normal: humans also take care of ourselves no matter how well we take care of ourselves. But of course if we try to keep him well, we will see that this will be reflected in his health.

In addition, you have to give them love and take care of them as they deserve, that is, with respect and patience. In this way, they will also be very happy.

And in the event that we suspect that he is unwell, we will take them to the vet as soon as possible. Do not wait to see if they improve on their own, since cats are animals that when they express their pain or discomfort, they usually have been suffering it for a long time. So do not hesitate to consult a professional.

I hope you find it useful.

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