What are the causes of leukopenia in cats?

Some diseases that cats can suffer are characterized by a decrease in white blood cells, also called leukocytes. These are some of the most important cells in the body, since they are in charge of fighting microorganisms that cause diseases.

But what are the causes of leukopenia in cats? Next, I am going to answer your question.

What are the causes of leukopenia?

Leukopenia or low white blood cells is synonymous with problems. The organism runs out of defenses , and that is exactly what the viruses, bacteria and fungi that cause diseases want, which will not hesitate for a minute to enter the organism and multiply while destroying it.

It is worth knowing that not only cats can suffer a decrease in leukocytes, but also other animals such as dogs or humans for example. In the case of felines, the main causes are:

Feline panleukopenia

It is a very contagious disease (among cats), very common in young and unvaccinated animals, also known as feline infectious enteritis. It is transmitted by a parvovirus that multiplies both in the digestive tract and in the bone marrow .

The infected cat excretes it with the stools and any other liquid, which allows the virus to come into contact with other cats very easily, since it is also capable of living up to a year in the environment.

How is it spread?

For a cat to become infected, it must come into direct contact with some liquid from the sick cat or with it . Indirect contagion is also possible, such as using the same feeders and drinkers as the sick feline.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms are: depression, loss of appetite and weight, vomiting, lethargy, high fever, diarrhea, and dehydration. If it is not treated in time, it is difficult for them to be saved.

Treatment and prevention

Treatment focuses on managing symptoms , often by hospitalizing the animal. Antibiotics, fluids for dehydration, and a blood transfusion, if necessary.

To prevent it, there is nothing like having the vaccination schedule up to date. If we have a sick cat, we will keep it separate from the rest to avoid contagion.

Feline AIDS or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)


It is a disease caused by a virus that attacks the cat’s immune system slowly. Any unvaccinated feline can become infected, so those who live on the streets are at higher risk of suffering from it.

How is it spread?

It is usually due to saliva , specifically when one cat bites another. But it could also be the case that it is transmitted through blood transfusions, although this is very rare.

What are the symptoms?

Sick felines can have any of these symptoms: fever, gingivitis, stomatitis, diarrhea, miscarriage, infertility, loss of appetite, or inflammation of the connective tissue.

Treatment and prevention

Treatment consists of controlling existing symptoms and preventing new ones from appearing . For this reason, you will be given antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and, if you have a fever, antipyretics as well.

But it is better to prevent it with a vaccine.


The drugs used can damage the bone marrow , which is the “factory” of white blood cells. A cat may need chemotherapy to treat cancer for example.

How to take care of it?

If our cat is receiving chemotherapy, it is very important to follow the advice given by the veterinarian . Give him quality food, rich in protein of animal origin, and a lot of love.

What are the symptoms of leukopenia?

The symptoms of leukopenia in cats will depend a lot on the cause, but the most common are:

  • General discomfort
  • Loss of appetite and / or weight
  • Vomiting and / or diarrhea
  • Apathy
  • Lethargy

Can leukopenia in cats be prevented?


No disease can be 100% preventable, but if cats are given the necessary vaccinations since they are puppies and given a quality diet (without cereals), it will be easy to strengthen their defense system . A good diet is vital for its health to be good, so that it can have a strong and healthy enough immune system with which the animal can fight against diseases.

It must be clear that not even the best care in the world will prevent you from getting sick from time to time. It is logical: it is a living being, and sometimes it will have a cold, or even the flu. It is normal: it happens to humans also no matter how well we take care of ourselves. But of course if we try to keep him well, we will see that this will be reflected in his health.

In addition, you have to give them love and take care of them as they deserve, that is, with respect and patience. In this way, they will also be very happy.

And in the event that we suspect that he is unwell, we will take them to the vet as soon as possible. Do not wait to see if they improve on their own, since cats are animals that when they manifest their pain or discomfort, they usually have been suffering for a long time. So don’t hesitate to consult a professional.



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