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Same-day Diagnosis Prevents Progression of Mycoplasma Infection
Hoover is a 3-year-old, male domestic short-haired cat who presented to NorthStar VETS' emergency service for acute onset of howling, panting, lethargy and not eating. We learned he occasionally goes outside supervised, he was up-to-date on his vaccines, and he previously tested negative for feline FIV/FeLV (feline immunodeficiency virus/feline leukemia). Physical exam findings were relatively unremarkable. Diagnostic tests were performed including in-house CBC/Chem panel (blood tests) and two-view thoracic and abdominal radiographs (x-rays).
The blood tests revealed that Hoover had severe non-regenerative anemia and mild bilirubinemia. He was transferred to NorthStar VETS' Internal Medicine Department for further work-up, where a pathology review of the peripheral blood smear was ordered and read immediately.
This review showed that the vast majority of Hoover's red cells contained a parasite known as Mycoplasma (also called feline hemoplasma). This is a type of bacteria that lives on the surface of red cells, resulting in structural damage that can cause red cell destruction and hemolytic anemia.
Mycoplasma is primarily transmitted through the bites of fleas and ticks. Once recognized, this infection is easily treated with antibiotics, although once infected, most cats remain asymptomatic carriers for life. The infection can recur with stress.
Hoover was sent home on a 21-day antibiotic regimen to treat the infection along with a short course of steroids (prednisone) to prevent the body from destroying its own red cells. His red blood cell count (also referred to as packed cell volume, or PCV) is being monitored by his referral veterinarian and is improving with each visit.