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Dr. Peter
Dr. Peter, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 31077
Experience:  16 years of experience in small animal internal medicine, surgery, and preventive care.
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My cat had a high white blood cell count (29 thousand) six

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My cat had a high white blood cell count (29 thousand) six weeks ago. I put him on a wet food diet and took him off tuna, and his behavior improved markedly. I took him back for a follow-up appointment yesterday, and though he's gained 10 oz. his white blood cell count is now 40 thousand. The vet ordered a pathology report, but is surprised because he acts healthy, and eats and drinks well. Any other ideas as to what could be causing such an elevated WBC count?

Hello, I am Dr. Peter a licensed Veterinarian. I would like to help. I need to ask you a few questions to be well informed and give you the best advise. There is no additional charge for information request.


1- Besides blood work as your vet done additional tests like xrays or ultrasound?

2- Did they check if he is leukemia and AIDS negative?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
There were no x-rays or ultrasound done. He got tested for FeLuk and AIDS as a kitten, and he's been indoors only ever since.
Did your vet prescribe any antibiotics?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No. He was also checked for diabetes and kidney failure (six weeks ago), and that came back negative.

Usually increases in white blood cells are due to infections; I would recommend you speak to your vet about starting your cat on a broad spectrum antibiotic; once the infection is under control then the WBC should return to normal. Your vet can look for evidence of infections through the use of ultrasound and checking both the chest and abdominal cavity. Less likely these increases in WBC can be related to an underlying tumor or problems within the bone marrow (area where WBC are produced) itself. Before looking into the bone marrow, it is important to rule out infections. If the blood work did not show which system may be the problem, this is when we need to use ultrasound to try to find it. I would recommend you speak to your vet about this approach.


If you have additional questions I will be glad to answer them.


Dr. Peter

Dr. Peter and 2 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your response. I do have one additional question. My vet seemed to think a WBC count of 40 thousand was almost certainly cancer. Is it possible that an infection could produce a count that high? His activity level and appetite are higher than they've been in years--is it still possible he has a tumor or bone marrow problem?

When we see such elevations of WBC's it could be related to cancer, but, it can also happen with an infection. Depending on the type of WBC's that are elevated will give us a better idea if it is related to an infection or cancer. This is why I recommended a double cavity ultrasound; the veterinarian can look for either an infection like abscessation in the intestinal tract or they can find evidence of cancer. If they do not find either, then the problem may stem in the bone marrow and a bone marrow aspirate would be indicated.


I know this can be confusing, if you have additional questions, I will be glad to answer them. I will be online for another hour or so.


Dr. Peter

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you. I was just so surprised to hear that it could be cancer when he's put on weight over the past six weeks, and has become more active. He's just not acting like a sick cat, but I'm still terribly worried about him. Thank you again for talking to me tonight, and I guess we'll just see what the pathology report says.

Your Welcome; Good Luck!!!


Merry Christmas.