Preventing Feline Anemia through Cat Flea Protection

Anemia, or a condition involving a deficiency in red blood cells, can be a serious disease that commonly affects domesticated cats. The most common cause of anemia in cats is fleas, so cat flea protection is a good way to reduce the chances of your cat contracting anemia.

What Is Feline Anemia?

Red blood cells are responsible for moving oxygen around the body through the bloodstream. In cases of feline anemia, where a cat's blood is lacking in red blood cells, less oxygen is being collected by the blood and moved throughout the rest of the body. In mild cases of feline anemia, the vast majority of a cat's red blood cells are still present, so there is only a minimal decrease in the blood's ability to transport oxygen, but if the red blood cell count has dropped significantly, the blood's oxygen carrying capacity is severely debilitated and the condition can become quite severe. Symptoms of mild feline anemia often include appetite loss, dehydration and depression, while more serious forms of the disease can evoke symptoms such as excessive weight loss, muscle weakness, quick heart and breathing rates, and pale mucous membranes. Without treatment, serious cases of feline anemia can result in death.

Why Flea Protection Helps Prevent Feline Anemia

There are two ways for a cat to contract anemia from fleas. The first way, commonly called flea anemia, is very simple, but also very rare, and it is caused by an overabundance of fleas. Fleas survive by drinking a host cat's blood, and in flea anemia, the cat has such a severe flea infestation that the fleas are sucking out a significant amount of the animal's blood. Fleas are tiny insects, so it takes a huge flea infestation to cause flea anemia.

The more common way that fleas can spread feline anemia is through a condition called hemotropic mycoplasmosis, otherwise known as haemobartonellosis and feline infectious anemia. Hemotropic mycoplasmosis is caused by Mycoplasma haemofelis, a bacterium that survives and reproduces on the surface of red blood cells. Mycoplasma haemofelis causes feline anemia when the cat's immune system detects the bacteria on its own red blood cells, and in an attempt to fight off the infection, starts to destroy infected red blood cells, thereby reducing the total number of red blood cells in the cat's bloodstream. Both of these types of feline anemia can be easily prevented by keeping your cat free of flea infestations.

Cat Flea Protection

Flea infections can be removed from a cat using a variety of methods, including flea combs, natural remedies and medication. You can prevent your cat from contracting a flea infestation by maintaining a clean environment and washing your cat's fur on a regular basis.

Feline anemia can be a very serious disease, so it is important to reduce your cat's risk of contracting anemia as much as possible. Since fleas are the most common cause of the disease protect your cat from flea infestations.