Kittens are little balls of fur and energy. They play hard, have quick “cat naps”, eat and play hard again.
This is Fuzzy Pants story;
Fuzzy is a typical orange tabby kitten… well not entirely typical because she is a she – most often orange tabbies are hes, not shes. Other than that, she was a fairly typical kitten; played, napped, ate, played. You may even recall seeing her photo from her first appointment with us when we cleaned her ears.
All was going well and seemingly normal, she’d been in for appointments for vaccines and all seemed fine, until one day her owner came home and noticed that Fuzzy was napping, to the point of not really waking when you picked her up, almost lethargic and not really wanting to eat. The following morning she was back to normal. When this happened her owner wondered if something was going on, it just didn’t seem normal… especially when a couple days later it happened again, Fuzzy’s owner contacted us and together we determined she needed to come in, sooner than later.
Once in the clinic it was decided to do a total body panel of blood work and to do an FIV/FELK (Feline Leukemia) test. The FIV/FELK test came back negative, good news. However there was something odd in her blood work. Fuzzy had mycoplasma haemocanis – a bacteria in her blood. This particular bacteria acts like a parasite attaching to red blood cells. Once the body discovers them it begins to kill off the infected cells in an attempt to get rid of the bacteria. Effectively killing off her red blood cells.
To treat Fuzzy she was sent home with prednisone and a special antibiotic. One week later she came in to do a PCV check – this quick blood test checks her red blood cell count. It was important to check her not long after the medication has begun to ensure they were working and she wasn’t getting sicker. Her dose of prednisone was decreased and her antibiotic increased. Two weeks later she was in for another PCV recheck, things were continuing to improve. One more week and another check – everything was great!
Fuzzy had gone from the beginnings of a major illness to healthy and back to normal in one month! It was a very good thing that her owner noticed what didn’t seem normal and checked into it. If left too long Fuzzy could have ended up very sick and possibly have died.
How did Fuzzy get this bacteria? It isn’t entirely known how it is spread, potentially through a bite wound from an infected pet or possibly from a bite from an infected flea (although Fuzzy was never infested with fleas). It may have even been passed from momma cat to kitten. We don’t know for certain the cause.
If you find yourself every wondering, “is this normal?” something doesn’t seem right. It is best to give us a call. All our team is trained to determine if you need to come in or not and how quickly you may need to do so. It is always best to make a quick call and be safe then to end up with a very sick pet.
Fuzzy update: Her owner tells us not only is she back to what they thought was a normal kitten, she has even more energy, her coat looks so much better and her appetite has increased, she has been gaining weight steadily.