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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 21419
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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I want to get an opinion from a cat veterinarian. I brought

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Hello. I want to get an opinion from a cat veterinarian. I brought a 2 year old feral field cat to emergency today because the cat was heavy, rapid, open-mouth panting. My funds are limited and this is a feral cat so I could not afford all the diagnostic testing they wanted to do. I chose to have a full blood work up done on the cat instead of x-rays etc. The blood panel was normal with the exception of hematocrit. They told us the cat was anemic - the hematocrit was 23 and the emergency clinic said they normally transfuse at 20. I was reading online when I got home that a normal hematocrit range is 24 to 44. Could "low hematocrit" vary depending on the clinic/lab or are normal range values universal? I know this information is quite limited, but in your opinion, what do you suspect is going on with this feral cat?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
By the way, it was not a hot day and I forgot to mention the cat tested negative for both Feline Leukemia and FIV

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner, but wanted to touch base with you. In regards ***** ***** question, all blood values vary to a degree by lab and by blood machine. Therefore, it depends on the machine used. Though, I'd note that generally speaking cats usually range ~30–45 (as low as 24 is in kittens only). And the ER vet's "transfusion trigger" is quite a common level so if your adult cat was 23 that sounds like significant anemia.

Though provided that their exam ruled out heart and lung issues (as those could certainly lead to these signs), then anemia with heavy breathing often is a sign of internal bleeding or a quick loss (ie rapid onset immune mediated haemolytic anemia, secondary to a hemobartonella infection of the blood, etc). Other anemia inducing issues like kidney or bone marrow disease tend to be slower in onset so they present as weak cats but not panting like this. So, the more acute or sudden changes to the blood from issues like those I noted (or heart/lung issues) would be our main concerns for this kind of presentation.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

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