You know that fleas are an annoyance that target cats and dogs alike, but did you know that a flea infestation can lead to a number of life threatening medical conditions in your cat? Learn more below about one such medical condition, anemia, including what causes it, what the symptoms are, and how it can be treated and prevented.
What Is Anemia and What Causes It?
Anemia is a serious medical condition which is caused by the loss of red blood cells circulating in the body. There are a number of causes for feline anemia, from disease to parasite, and one of the most common causes is one that can be easily treated and prevented: fleas.
Fleas are pesky little critters who will make their home in your cat's fur. This is where they'll lay their eggs and, most importantly, this is where they feed. When a flea feeds on your cat, a small amount of blood is consumed by the flea. While a few flea bites here and there aren't enough to cause anemia, a flea infestation can quickly lead to a loss of blood severe enough to cause anemia and other such issues.
What Are Symptoms of Feline Anemia?
No matter the cause of your cat's anemia, there are a few signs to look out for that may signify an issue that needs to be handled by your cat's veterinarian.
Common symptoms of anemia include lethargy, weakness, weight loss, and pale mucous membranes which can be found in your cat's mouth. If your cat is experiencing the above symptoms and has a confirmed flea infestation, then it's very likely that anemia is the culprit and that your cat requires immediate care.
How Is Feline Anemia Treated and Prevented?
In cases of flea-induced anemia, the first step your cat's veterinarian will take is to apply a flea and tick medication. This will kill the fleas and flea eggs that are present on your cat, and it will prevent further blood loss from occurring. If your cat's anemia is severe enough, a blood transfusion may be ordered to allow your cat to replenish their supply of red blood cells.
Fortunately, if your cat's anemia is flea-induced, then the prevention of fleas will be enough to prevent a recurrence of the condition. This may mean that you have to hire an exterminator to rid your home of the fleas, as the flea medication applied by the veterinarian can only do so much if the cat's home environment is infested. You can prevent an infestation of fleas from occurring again by regularly medicating your cat against fleas and spraying your house during peak times of the year.
To learn more about flea-induced anemia and how you can treat your cat and prevent the condition from recurring, consult with your cat's veterinary clinic today.