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What is Low Platelet Count?

Low platelet count is termed, “thrombocytopenia” and refers to a level of circulating platelet counts below 200,000 µL (microliter). Like all cellular blood components, platelets are made inside the bone marrow and circulate the body for about a week before they are absorbed and replaced with new platelets. Since platelets are formed inside the bone marrow, disease, cancer, infections, drugs, and toxins that target the bone marrow can cause a low platelet count in cats. Thrombocytopenia in cats can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions and is not a condition that is known to cause noticeable symptoms, which is why veterinary evaluation is an absolute must.

If your cat has a tendency to bruise easily or is prone to nosebleeds (epistaxis), your feline could be suffering from a low platelet count. Platelets are disc-shaped cell fragments present in blood plasma that circulate in the body through the bloodstream. When a cat injures herself, these platelets, or thrombocytes, pile up on each, glued together with a special protein called the von Willebrand's factor and form a clot to prevent the cat from bleeding out. When a cat’s platelet count becomes too low, however, there are not enough circulating cell fragments to form a proper clot and there is nothing to prevent the blood from leaving the body.

Low Platelet Count Average Cost

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Average Cost

$1,500

Symptoms of Low Platelet Count in Cats

Symptoms of a low platelet count in cats can be difficult to detect and some felines may not have any symptoms at all if the platelet count is not severely low. The first sign a cat owner may notice is increased bleeding from a scratch or cut. The owner may apply pressure to the cut, but the time it takes for the wound to stop bleeding will seem excessive and is a reason to be concerned. A veterinarian may also note a similar sign of thrombocytopenia before or during surgery. Additional symptoms of a low platelet count in cats includes:

  • Bruising 
  • Localized red areas on the skin and gums. 
  • Retinal hemorrhage
  • Hematochezia (presence of blood in the stool)
  • Hematuria (presence of blood in the urine) 
  • Lethargy 
  • Epistaxis (nosebleed)
  • Bleeding from the gums
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Causes of Low Platelet Count in Cats

Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC) 

Disseminated intravascular coagulation is a condition in which the body uses more platelets than it can make. DIC causes the blood to clot, blocking the vascular system and using all the available circulating platelets before new ones can be made, resulting in a low platelet count.

Splenomegaly

Splenomegaly is the term used to describe an enlarged spleen. The healthy spleen stores approximately 40% of the body’s platelets, but when the spleen grows in size, more and more platelets are taken from the body to be put into storage, causing the circulating platelet levels to drop. 

Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia

Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia is an autoimmune disorder in which the cat’s immune system not only kills infections, but also targets platelets as harmful invaders to the body. 

Leukemia 

Leukemia is bone marrow and blood cancer, in which cancer cells outnumber megakaryocytes (the cells in the bone marrow that make platelets) and few platelets will be made. Chemotherapy drugs used in cancer treatment can also cause a low platelet count due to the destruction of cancer and healthy cells. 

Viral Infection

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline panleukopenia (FPV), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are known to affect blood platelet counts.

Other Causes

A low platelet count in cats can also occur for idiopathic, or unknown, reasons, as well as a secondary, adverse effect of the feline panleukopenia vaccine.  

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Diagnosis of Low Platelet Count in Cats

Your veterinarian will begin diagnosis of a low platelet count in your cat with a review of her medical history and a physical examination. The veterinarian will ask you what symptoms you have noticed your cat displaying at home, her current medications and the possibility of exposure to poison. A complete blood cell count (CBC) is likely to be the doctor’s next diagnostic test, as a CBC will measure the amount of platelets in a sample of blood. The vet will then carry out other diagnostic tests based on his findings and what he suspects to by the underlying cause of the conditions. 

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Treatment of Low Platelet Count in Cats

Treatment of a low platelet count in cats focuses primarily on treating the underlying disease or condition. However, if a great deal of blood has been lost due to a low platelet count, your veterinarian may advise a blood transfusion to take place. Talk to your veterinarian about an appropriate treatment plan for a low platelet count in your cat. 

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Recovery of Low Platelet Count in Cats

After treatment, pet owners will be asked to follow-up with the veterinarian on a regular basis. Cats with a history of a low platelet count condition may be advised to remain an indoor cat in order to prevent fights with other cats or accidents that could cause excessive bleeding. Pet owners should also remember that cats diagnosed with severe thrombocytopenia cannot undergo certain surgical procedures and new veterinarians should always be reminded of this to avoid unfortunate situations.

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Low Platelet Count Average Cost

From 369 quotes ranging from $500 - $4,000

Average Cost

$1,500

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Low Platelet Count Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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maine coon

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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Weight Loss

Hi there, my boy Kihei, 5 years old, has been pretty lethargic, meows more than often and has lost weight (3 lbs.) over the last year. He does have new kitties (2 year olds) to play with and has been more active in the house with them. In July his abnormal labs were Calcium 11.6, Platelets 138, and Neutrophils 2,115. Any thoughts? The vet wants to do an ionized calcium?

July 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, So sorry to hear about your cat. Increase calcium can be a sign of cancer such as lymphoma. It would be rare to see at his age. This is probably the reason your vet wants to do an ionized calcium as that gives us a better reading of the calcium. Weight loss in cats can be due to hyperthyroid which your vet may have also ruled out. I would recommend asking about this test and ruining the ionized calcium to see if it is abnormal.

July 26, 2020

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Tarta

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None

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7 Years

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Fair severity

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Mabe Thined

Hello! I took my 7 year old outdoor cat for blood tests, because she had an episode in which she exhibited: contractions, loud breathing with open mouth, and loss of stools. I don't see her all the time as she lives outside, but I found stools once more in a place where she must have lost control (by her bed), so she must have had at least one more episode. The results came with low PLT (67) and high MVP (18,2). Instead of positive , the rest of the results are as follows. Does she have Thrombocytopenia? What causes should be evalueated and with which tests? (Unfortunatelly the level of veterinary service here in Greece is very low, especially for cats!) Thank you very much in advance! FIP positive (1/200) FeLV negative FIV negative normal blood smear results SGOT-AST 70 (44 - 82 IU/L) BUN 17,7 (18 - 32 mg/dl) gGT 2,0 (0 - 9 IU/L) creatinine 0,90 (0,9 - 2 mg/dl) albumin 2,1 (2 - 3,2 g/dl) protein tot 8,9 (5,8 - 8 g/dl) globulins 6,8 (3,8 - 4,8 g/dl HCT 40,5 (30,0 - 45,0 %) RBC 8,30 (5,00 - 10,00 x10^6/μl) HGB 14,0 (9,0 - 15,1 g/dL) MVC 49 (41 - 58 fl) MCH 16,9 (12,0 - 20,0 pg) MCHC 34,7 (29,0 - 37,5 g/dL) WBC 16,2 (5,5 - 19,5 x10^3/μL) NE 10,00 (2,50 - 12,50 x10^3/μL) 61,9 (35 - 78 %) LY 5,01 (0,40 - 6,80 x10^3/μL) 30,9 (20 - 55 %) MO 0,13 (0,15 - 1,70 x10^3/μL) 0,8 (1 - 4 %) EO 1,04 (0,10 - 0,79 x10^3/μL) 6,4 (2 - 12 %) BA 0,00 (0,00 - 0,10 x10^3/μL) 0,0 % PLT 67 (175 - 600 x10^3/μL) MPV 18,2 (7,6 - 10,8 fl)

Sept. 8, 2018

Tarta's Owner


I also forgot that Tarta's glucose was 70 mcg/dl

Sept. 9, 2018

Tarta's Owner


I also forgot that Tarta's glucose was 70 mcg/dl

Sept. 9, 2018

Tarta's Owner

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Jojo

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Mainecoon/Persian

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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Low Appetite, Weight Loss

Hi, my cat of 1 yr old recently lost above 0.5 kgs of weight to a 4 kgs. There was noticeable decrease in appetite and his water intake. I switched him on all wet food and started mixing water with food. The very first blood test showed a reading of PLT 127 (10^3/mm^3). Vet asked me to increase water intake (stated chronic dehydration is an issue and also said cat might be slightly anemic due to MCHC 29.0 (g/dl). Then a week later his appetite got lesser and lesser. I would force him to have appetitizing supplements along with any meals. He has been throwing up twice or thrice a yellow liquid after meals. A blood test today showed a PLT level of 82 (10^3/mm^3). The vet did an x-ray and ultrasounds. Showed me there is a gastric factor and his stomach and intestinal area was all gassy. Asked me to put him on all wet food diet as he struggles to chew and take in dry kibbles since a kitten. May I know is the gastric factor contributing to the drastically low levels of PLT? He has no infection as seen from the blood tests. The blood test today only showed (MCHC - 29.4 g/dl, RDW - 16.8 % & PLT - 82 10^3/mm^3). And vet pointed out 'CREA levels - 2.7 mg/dl'. Would like to know your perspective based on this analysis. The vet prescribed vetriscience hbr and dmg liquid medicines. Two multivitamins and some gassy stomach tablets. He was unsure himself what's causing it but said gastric has to be treated first as seen from x-ray and ultrasound. My cat is very sensitive in terms of diet. He used to have gassy stomach problems few months back as well. The platelet count issue is the first time seen this month with the stated symptoms.

Aug. 19, 2018

Jojo's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I'm not sure what might be causing the platelet problem for Jojo, as it is difficult to assess one small part of his situation and come up with an answer. Platelet abnormalities can be caused by fleas, immune conditions, rat bait, or bone marrow problems due to infectious disease. If he hasn't had a feline leukemia/FIV test, that may be a good idea. Otherwise, I have a hard time commenting on his situation, and would either trust your veterinarian or seek a second opinion to make sure that nothing is being missed.

Aug. 19, 2018

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Ada&Cleo

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Maine Coon

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6 Years

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Low Platelets

Ada & Cleo are sisters, they are a mix of Maine Coon, Manx and Bengal cats. They are six yrs. old and had their annual check-up two days ago. Their platelets are low, Ada's range is 157 as well as her HCT is 46.08. She is active, eats well and has no signs of illness. We are to take her back in two months for another platelet test. Cleo, a sister to Ada, also six years old has low platelets 175, her HGB is 15.4 and her HCT is 50.94. Cleo is also six years old and active, plays and had a good appetite as well as Ada. There is no sign of lethargy or any other noticeable physical problems. Cleo and Ada both were showing dehydration in May but this check-up Cleo shows some slight dehydration, although they both drink water often. They both have stayed at their normal weight, with no weight loss. Ada showed no dehydration. We take them back to the Vet in two months for more testing of the platelets. We are so worried and love them so much. I just wanted to find out as much info as I could concerning these test results for both of them. Thank you so much for your work, I thank you for your time. Jan Higgins

Aug. 5, 2018

Ada&Cleo's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

The increased haematocrit (HCT) for both cats may be signalling slight dehydration among other conditions (see first link below); the haemoglobin (HGT) is at the top of the reference range at 15.4g/dL; and the platelet counts for both cats are well below reference range of 300,000 – 800,000/uL. The low platelets are generally caused by an increase in destruction, decrease in production or an increase in use; sometimes artifacts or clumping of platelets may give false readings. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.idexx.eu/globalassets/documents/parameters/8947-us-hct-interpretive-summary.pdf www.idexx.eu/globalassets/documents/parameters/9524-us-plateletcountmanual-interpretive-summary.pdf

Aug. 6, 2018

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Lynsy

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Persian

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2 Months

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Mild severity

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Laziness

My cat is not eating anything for the last 3 days. She has grown up really weak. When i visited a vet, he told me its fever and bad tonsils. Today,i got her CBC done and her platelete is 2,20,000 The vet has suggested few medicines to her, but she is not at all active, turning really weak. Need your suggestion in how can her health be improved? What can we give her to eat, so that she recovers really quick. She is a persian breed and is 2.6 months old. There are no symptoms such as vomits or bleeding. Kindly suggest, i am really worried. Also, as she is not eating the vet do a little force feeding and also her body is not dehydrated, we have checked it through her skin elasticity.

Aug. 4, 2018

Lynsy's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

I’m not quite sure what Lynsy’s platelet count is since the number in the question isn’t clear, but there are many causes for thrombocytopenia in cats which may include increase in destruction (infections, parasites, immune mediated disease), decrease in production (bone marrow disorders, infections, liver and kidney disease) or an increase in use (clotting, agglutination etc…); any treatment for thrombocytopenia would be dependent on the underlying cause. You should continue to force feed Lynsy with smooth wet food and water syringed into the mouth drop by drop; however another visit to your Veterinarian may be required. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 5, 2018

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Holden

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Manx

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8 Years

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None

My cat Holden is 8/9 years old and seems healthy. However, his blood tests in November 2019 and now (Feb 2020) show some levels that aren't in the normal range. Nov 2019 test - Platelet Count 179 (normal range 200-500) Feb 2020 test - Platelet Count 138 (normal range 200-500) Nov 2019 test - Neutrophils 2310 (normal is 2500-8500) Feb 2020 test - Neutrophils 2820 (back in normal range) Nov 2019 test - Lymphocites 37 (normal range 20-45) Feb 2020 test - Lymphocites 46 (normal range 20-45) Should I worry/do additional testing? What could be the issue? Also, Holden had a scheduled tooth cleaning for March 11th but now I'm worried it might be too risky. I love this cat so much, and I'd be so grateful for additional insight and recommendations.

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Harley "Quinn"

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domestic short hair

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6 Years

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Anemia
Fever
Low Platelets

My beautiful girl has been in the hospital for a week. Went in with possible upper respiratory, and a 105 fever. Fever reduced the next day ate well, fever back to 105 the next morning, and so on every other day for a week. Her blood work was good when admitted 3 days later showing signs of possible autoimmune, ultrasound done nothing abnormal but a small amount of fluid on the abdomin sent for cytology & FIP test. Waiting on results. She is not responding to Baytril or Doxycycline. Started treatment for autoimmune has not responded. Bloodwork now getting worse platelets at 47000 and anemic chest xray done, nothing abnormal. We cant figure out what is going on. I'm so scared we will lose her. She is acting ok happy and purring and eats great when there is no fever. Just seeing if anyone might have some answers we might not have thought of.

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Nina

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Indian billicat

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11 Months

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Fair severity

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Low Platelet Count

Hi. Nina, our cat is a little short of a year now. When we took her for her pre-spaying CBC, her platelet count was 141 and we decided to wait till it improved. Our vet said not to worry since she shows no other worrying symptoms (appetite, energy all healthy). This was in March. In April, another CBC put her platelets at 235 and just today, the third CBC puts it at 190. All along she has remained a very active little kitty with normal appetite. Doctor prescribed doxycilin for a week before review. I'm so worried for her but both the vet and her current symptoms (none) are reassuring. Any help?

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Bruce

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Persian Cat

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5 Months

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

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Low Platelet

I have a Persian kitten he's 5 months old I took him to the vet for deworming the vet says he had swollen lymph nodes and recommend to take blood samples like cbc.. the results were not so good platelet count was only 77 wbc 20.9 high Lyn 9.3 high Mon 2.0 gra 9.7 rbc 8.42 hgb 10. Can I have to get a second opinion?

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Missy

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Maine Coon

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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Anemia

Missy (my cat) started eating litter about 4 weeks ago. We took her to the vet and blood was taken. TRe results came back and she was on the brink of becoming anemic, but wasn’t anemic yet. Bloods were taken again 2 weeks later and she is now anemic. She has low red blood cells and low platelet count. She also has semi- high white blood cells (lymphocytes). The vet has suggested to do a bone marrow test and an X-ray. She had an ultrasound on her tummy and that was all fine. She’s also currently on Ronaxan but I don’t think it’s working as her blood count is the same or even lower as a week ago. I want to make sure I’m doijng best for her and don’t want to get a bone marrow investigation for no reason. I’m curious what this is. She seems fine; eating shrimp,not eating loads but eating a bit. Drinking a lot and eating dry cat food (refusing wet cat food). What do you think it can be? I’m really scared it’s cancer but she doesn’t have any other symptoms (no throwing up or diarrhoea). Thank you!

Low Platelet Count Average Cost

From 369 quotes ranging from $500 - $4,000

Average Cost

$1,500

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