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Ask Dr. Louis Gotthelf Your Own Question
Dr. Louis Gotthelf
Dr. Louis Gotthelf, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 2438
Experience:  35 years owning a dog and cat veterinary practice. President of an animal emergency clinic
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My 8-month old kitten has anemia and her RBC was down to 4

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My 8-month old kitten has anemia and her RBC was down to 4 two weeks ago. I decided to OK a transfusion and after one unit, her RBC got up to 10 and stayed there for one week afterwards. Today--two weeks after the transfusion--the RBC has dropped to 6. We're treating her with prenisolone and a med to kill haemobartenellis. The vet descreased her prednisolone to 1/2 pill EOD and I'm wondering if she did that too soon. Today she said to give kitty 1/2 pill twice daily. Is it too soon to tell if her blood will regenerate?

Dr. Louis Gotthelf :

Hi. I'm Dr. Gotthelf. I have been a vet for 33 years and I would like to use my experience to help you with your pet's medical problem.

Dr. Louis Gotthelf :

Has the kitten been tested for Feline LEukemia? That is a common reason for anemia in kittens. How about a stool sample check for hookworms, which also suck blood into the intestines. Your vet can send out some blood and ask for a reticulocyte count to see if the bone marrow is responding by making new red blood cells. The kitten should be on some blood building vitamins and minerals called a hematinic.


I got her from the Tampa Humane Society, so she had a feline leukemia test that was negative and theh vet gave her a fecal exam 3 weeks ago that showed no parasites. The vet thought the problem might be haemobartonellis and so treated her with doxy (?) and prednisolene. I paid for regular lab tests that showed normal body chemistry and no organ damage. In the last month I've spent $721 on tests, a full unit of blood transfusion, medications, and office visits. I can't really afford much more, so I guess I'm wondering (and crying) is if I should just let her go or hold on to hope...and I know it's hard for you to tell at a distance. What I need to know most if whether 2 weeks after a blood transfusion, with one week at RBC stabilized and the next week a drop from 10 to 6 it too soon to tell if the prednisolone is working...hnag in there for another week of higher dosage of the prednisolone or should I just give up?

Dr. Louis Gotthelf :

After a blood transfusion, the PCV should go up to around 20!!! If they truly diagnosed (not just thought) that the diagnosis was hemobartonelosis they can try Baytril, which is better than Doxy to kill it. However, I still suspect that there is Feline Leukemia virus in the bone marrow preventing it from making red blood cells. I would take a bone marrow sample to look for immature red blood cells and run a FeLV test on that.


THANK you! I'll try the bone marrow tests as a last resort. I had idiopathic aplastic anemia myself and had 10 pints of blood and 2 years of predisone before the bone marrow recovered. So I keep holding onto hope for her. But if we find it's leukemia, then I know I'll need to let her.

Dr. Louis Gotthelf and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dr. Gotthelf, thank yoiu for our help. My kitty's blood count went back down to 6, and so I had second feline leukemia test done last Friday, which was negative, and got a second opinion, and by then the doc said her heart and breathing were irregualr and that her veins were collapsing, so I knew I had to let her go and put her to sleep. I mourned....and moped around the house all Saturday until I realized that I miss the patter of little paws after 17 years of havng pets....sooo I raced down to the Tampa Humane Society and found another intelligent, funny, sassy, and lively 2-month old. I miss my other kitty, but have wonderful memories of her strong personality....and have Lola curled up in my lap now as I write all is well. ;o)

Thanks for asking. Have a great holiday!


I am sorry that you had to put her down, but it was probably the best thing. Good luck with Lola.