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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.

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Low Platelet Count Average Cost

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

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

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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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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

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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1 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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Sia

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Feral

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Low Appetite Weight Loss
Low Appetite

My 2 year old feline was pregnant and gave birth to only one still born kitten. There was no excessive bleeding as such and we got ultrasound and x-Ray afterwards to confirm that there was no more fetus inside her. I decided to get her spayed. So I went for blood tests before surgery. The test revealed that she has very low platelets count, as low as 48. My vet gave her 5 days Oxytetracycline shots after which she’s on oral medication of doxycycline. It’s still undergoing. Will this help her platelets count get back to normal? And will she ever be fit enough to go through spaying? Because she’s getting back in heat again. Kindly advise.

July 28, 2018

Sia's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

There are many causes for low platelets, and your veterinarian seems to be covering many of the bases. Once Sia recovers from this problem, she should be fine to have surgery, and you will just need to continue to monitor her platelet levels until things are back to normal.

July 28, 2018

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Low Platelet Count Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$1,500

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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