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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 30294
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Same question about increasing red blood cell count but mt

Customer Question

same question about increasing red blood cell count but mt cat does not have leukemia and all his organs work fine. vet says we have to get thousands of dollars worth of testing just to find the underlying cause. Do you have any additional advice?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Yes, the "work up" can be involved and costly. The goals are to determine whether a true increase in red blood cell mass is present and then rule out erythrocytosis (red blood cell production) secondary to increased erythropoietin - the hormone that stimulates red blood cell production. Polycythemia vera - an inappropriate, absolute increase in red blood cell mass is an autonomous increase in red cells - it occurs independent of erythropoietin concentration. Polycythemia vera is a diagnosis of exclusion: a complete diagnostic workup is indicated to rule out all other possibilities in the differential diagnosis. There are too many differential diagnoses to list in this venue but suffice to say, a complete blood count, serum biochemistry profile, urinalysis, arterial blood gas analysis, abdominal ultrasound, thoracic radiographs, echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart), and measurement of plasma erythropoietin may all be necessary. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.