Feline Infectious Anemia: Treat FIA in cats

Feline Infectious Anemia - in short: FIA in cats - is triggered by a certain bacterium that attacks the red blood cells. The disease can be treated with antibiotics, but affected cats remain carriers of the pathogen for life. If you suspect that your cat may have contracted FIA, go to the vet with her - Shutterstock / didesign021

Not every cat that is infected with the FIA ​​pathogen shows symptoms and needs to be treated. The feline will break only if the animals are already weakened
Infectious anemia and necessitates a visit to the vet. Find out exactly what FIA is in cats, what symptoms appear and what your veterinarian can do.

What is Feline Infectious Anemia?

Feline infectious anemia is a form of anemia that can only affect cats and is caused by certain bacteria. These are called "Haemobartonella felis" and attack the red blood cells. FIA in cats usually only breaks out in animals that are weakened by a previous illness such as feline leukosis, FIP or FIV or whose immune system is no longer optimally able to ward off pathogens due to stress or chronic illnesses.

FIA in cats is a so-called regenerative anemia, which means that new, healthy red blood cells form in the bone marrow that replace the destroyed blood cells. The pathogen remains in the blood and can trigger new episodes of illness - especially if another infection affects the immune system - but your cat can recover in the meantime. The individual relapses can also be treated so that your pet can live well with the disease.

Infection from animal to animal in a multi-cat household is theoretically possible, but luckily the risk is not too high. It is not entirely known how the FIA ​​pathogens get into the blood, but it is suspected that this happens at birth or that it is absorbed through breast milk. Transmission through parasites or bite wounds is also possible. In a harmonious multi-cat household, however, there are generally no such serious arguments in which bite wounds occur.

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Symptoms of FIA in cats

Feline Infectious Anemia takes six to 17 days to catch if your cat is prone to it. Then she suddenly appears tired and exhausted, even light physical exhaustion exhausts her. Loss of appetite, weight loss and fever are other symptoms of FIA in cats. In addition, the mucous membranes are very pale, almost white and jaundice can occur. Since the symptoms can also indicate other diseases, you should see a veterinarian as soon as possible with these signs so that he can make the correct diagnosis. The pathogens can only be detected by a blood test under a microscope.

Treating FIA in cats: treatment options

Although the pathogen cannot be completely eliminated, your veterinarian can still treat FIA in cats. If your pet is given special antibiotics for two to three weeks, an acute flare-up can be contained. In addition, it makes sense to rebuild and support the weakened immune system through vitamins and a lot of rest. In severe cases, an anti-inflammatory agent with the active ingredient prednisolone must also be administered. If the anemia is very advanced, a blood transfusion is necessary.