How should we deal with anaemic cats in our practice

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The presence of anaemia may be harder to detect in cats compared to dogs, as their mucous membranes are typically slightly paler than those of dogs, and clinical signs such as exercise intolerance and weakness may manifest as sleeping more in cats, and therefore may go unnoticed by the owner. As a result, cats may be more severely affected by the time investigations are undertaken. Clinical assessment of cardio-vascular stability is therefore important before proceeding to performing diagnostic testing. The minimum volume of blood should be obtained, but it is also important to think in advance what tests might be required to reduce the number of blood draws that have to be performed. For cats that are cardio-vascularly compromised, stabilisation may be required before full diagnostic investigations can be undertaken, whereas for mild to moderate anaemia the aim should be to identify the cause. The use of in-house automated haematology analysers has facilitated rapid diagnosis of the presence of anaemia, but the limitations of these machines must be borne in mind. Further in-house tests can increase the information given from the automated analyser, namely assessing PCV and total solids, blood smear evaluation and auto-agglutination, before submitting samples to external labs for further testing.

: Currently there is no UK feline blood bank, so in-house feline blood donations are sometimes required as a life-saving therapy. This session looks at the requirements of a feline blood donor and how to make this a safe and stress-free procedure. The post-donation care of feline donors differs to canine donors, and this session reviews the current recommendations of feline donor care. There are also a number of nursing considerations which RVNs should be able to add to the care plan of the recipient cat including pre, during and post transfusion.

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