Jump to section

What is Low White Blood Cell Count?

Low white blood cell count may or may not be a serious condition based on the underlying cause. However, if you suspect your cat has a low white blood cell count, you should take them to the vet immediately, as a low white blood cell count can be indicative of feline leukemia.

Low white blood cell count in cats is usually secondary to disease or infection. There are many different types of white blood cells in cats. If the counts of all types of white blood cells are low, this is known as feline panleukopenia, which is also known as feline parvovirus. Low counts of certain types of white blood cells can be caused by other diseases, including cancer and chronic renal failure.

Low White Blood Cell Count Average Cost

From 417 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,500

Symptoms of Low White Blood Cell Count in Cats

Please note that the following is not a comprehensive list of symptoms; signs may vary depending on the underlying disorder. Seek immediate veterinary attention as soon as you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Gingivitis
  • Dehydration
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Mucus or cysts in the feces
  • Greasy or matted coat
  • Pale gums
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Tumors or masses
  • Changes in behavior
  • Seizures
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Low White Blood Cell Count in Cats

There are several causes of low white blood cell count in cats, including, but not limited to:

  • Feline infectious enteritis caused by feline parvovirus
  • Feline leukemia (FeLV)
  • Salmonella infection
  • Protozoan infection
  • Acute toxoplasmosis
  • Feline distemper
  • Side effect of medications
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Cancer
  • Stress
  • Chronic renal failure

Some of these diseases, particularly feline parvovirus and feline leukemia, are contagious. Any infected cats must be isolated to prevent spread of the disease.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Low White Blood Cell Count in Cats

Your vet may make a tentative diagnosis based on a physical examination and presentation of symptoms. Inform your vet of the nature, severity and duration of your cat’s symptoms, as well as any medications your cat is currently taking. Also, be prepared to provide your cat’s full medical history.

Your vet will make a definitive diagnosis by performing blood tests. These may include complete blood cell count and blood chemical profile. Additional diagnostic testing may be utilized based on the suspected underlying cause.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Low White Blood Cell Count in Cats

Treatment may vary depending on the severity of the underlying condition. 

Treatment methods for feline parvovirus may involve intravenous fluid therapy, antibiotics, and anti-emetic drugs to decrease vomiting. Protozoan infections and toxoplasmosis are generally treated with antibiotics. 

Cancer may be treated with chemotherapy or radiation. However, radiation therapy can cause damage to the white blood cells, so chemotherapy is often the treatment of choice for cats with low white blood cell counts. Surgery or cytotoxic drug therapy may also be recommended to treat cats with certain types of cancer.

Unfortunately, feline leukemia is the second leading cause of death in cats. There is currently no curative treatment for feline leukemia, and the prognosis for most affected cats is very poor. However, there are drugs that may help manage the symptoms of feline leukemia. Your vet may recommend these drugs based on your cat’s specific situation and your personal and financial preferences.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Low White Blood Cell Count in Cats

Recovery and prognosis may vary depending on the treatment method and the underlying condition. Always follow your vet’s post-treatment and/or post-operative instructions carefully. Always administer any medications, particularly antibiotics, exactly as directed for the full duration of the recovery period to prevent aggressive recurrence.

If your cat has been diagnosed with feline parvovirus or feline leukemia, it is imperative that you wear protective clothing and wash your hands thoroughly after handling the infected cat. Keep your cat indoors to prevent further spread of infection. If you live in a multi-cat household, ensure your other cats have been vaccinated against feline parvovirus and feline leukemia.

If your cat has had surgery, do not allow them to irritate the surgery site. An Elizabethan collar may be recommended. Check the surgery site daily to ensure there are no signs of infection.

Your vet may schedule follow-up appointments as needed to monitor the condition or administer additional treatment. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Low White Blood Cell Count Average Cost

From 417 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,500

arrow-up-icon

Top

Low White Blood Cell Count Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Churro

dog-breed-icon

Feline

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Urinted

Churro has 1200 white blood cell count and 2 weeks ago had 8 teeth removed. Test 2x, no feline leukemia. Has urinary problems and is on a CD Urinary RX and dry food diet for years. Just urinated for no reason in our bed and still keeps hitting his face. Spent $1500 already. Hates the vet (pees when we push him in the carrier). Will we be throwing away good money at this point?

July 31, 2018

Churro's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

I need to know quite a bit more information to give you a valid answer for your question. I'm not sure what Churro's signs are other than inappropriate urination. If he has a hard time with veterinary visits, you may be able to call your veterinarian and discuss his situation with them, as they know more about him. They may be able to let you know whether they think that he is going to improve from his current situation, or whether his condition is not one that is going to get better.

July 31, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Nebula

dog-breed-icon

european

dog-age-icon

10 Months

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

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Low White Blood Cells Count

Dear Doctor? My cat lately started eating less, his body temperature increased. So, I took him to the vet. after a couple of weeks he’s better. I took the FIV and FPV test, bacteria, viruses and all kind of blood tests. I also did an X-Ray and an ultra sound. Nothing unsual and no signs og anything worrying. Although what worries me, are her low white blood cell count. Should I be worried? What might that be that doesn’t come up on the tests? Thanks a lot in advance! Alisa

June 30, 2018

Nebula's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

There are a few different possible causes for a low white blood cell count which may include infection (typically some viral infections), some cancers, localised inflammation, medication side effects, immune mediated conditions, bone marrow disorders among other causes; it is difficult to say what the specific cause is, but you should monitor Nebula and retake the blood counts later to see if there are any improvements in the counts (it is important also to see if there is a drop in a particular type of white blood cell). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.idexx.eu/globalassets/documents/parameters/8961-us-wbc-interpretive-summary.pdf

June 30, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Bon

dog-breed-icon

Persian

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

No Vomiting Or Diarrhae.

My 5 years old male cat has been acting really strange, about 5 months ago we have had his first dental clean (for bad gingivitis) at the same time we did blood work that presented with Extremely low PMS leading to low total WBC count (only PMNS levels were low), his other labs were normal (not anemic). We have also had a new kitten added to the family around the same time. His appetite decreased and so is his activity (he used to run around the house). Now, he is scared of everything and hisses at everything and just hides. He is very unfreindly to the new cat. He was always an only cat and strictly indoor. I am not sure if his behavior is contributed to the new cat or a medical disorder. We have roled out FIV (negative) and his doctor mentioned that his low PMNS can be due to his gingivitis. I'm considered that this could be a bigger health issue. He eats about 5 table spoons of wet food a day and snacks on dry food. (used to be 9 spoons a day). drinks good. always sleeping. weights 4.5kg.

June 21, 2018

Bon's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

The number of polymorphonuclear cells may vary in cases of gingivitis so it is not a surprising finding on a differential leukocyte count; however a low number may be related to issues including infections, cancer, bone marrow disorders among other conditions. However, I would side on your Veterinarian’s opinion on this unless any other symptoms arise. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 22, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Gigi

dog-breed-icon

Marmalade

dog-age-icon

8 Years

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

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Fever
Lethargy

Hi Doctor- my kitty is 8 years old and she has been her active, normal self when all of a sudden she started feeling lethargic, fever, etc. We took her in and she has low white blood cells/anemia and still a fever but the doctor had given her prednisone and an appetite stimulant. As soon as he gave her the stimulant, she came home and ran to her food to eat. She is now laying down and her ears are not as warm as they were earlier. I’m praying that whatever she has, passes and that it is not lukemia.

May 19, 2018

Gigi's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

There are various causes for a low white blood cell count which may include some infections, bone marrow disorders (would also explain the anaemia), cancer among other causes; see how Gigi goes with the medication prescribed by your Veterinarian and monitor for improvement. Follow up with another blood test after a week to see if there are any improvement in blood cell counts. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 19, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Luna

dog-breed-icon

Short hair blonde

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

My 2 yr old cat has been kind of lethargic. She is usually very bouncy and talks all of the time. I took her to the vet and her white blood cell count was extremely low. She was tested for feline leukemia and that was negative. What else could she have? What should I do?

April 29, 2018

Luna's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

I'm not sure what medications Luna is on, but a low WBC count typically indicates a viral challenge, or a problem with the bone marrow. Your veterinarian can guide you as to the next best step for her, as they know more about her physical condition and actual lab results. I hope that she is okay.

April 29, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Charlie

dog-breed-icon

ASH

dog-age-icon

16 Years

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

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Decreased Appetite
Loud Meowing
Meowing
Low Wbc
Lethragic
Loud Meowngi
Loud Meowng

My 16 year old (best friend) charlie was throwing up and seems to be crying a lot, but still purrs too. He also began hiding and sleeps a lot. His checkup at vet included an outward exam that seemed normal, however bloodwork showed a low neutriphils white cell count of 1200 instead of >3000) (it was 1600 over a year ago) I can still get him to eat- some dry, some wet- Is there a way to raise the wbc count? Vet said they can do another combo test for FIV/leukemia Since his wbc count has been low for awhile would another test be useful? Am I missing something. Not sure what to do for him at this point but dont want him to be in pain & cant tell if he is.

dog-name-icon

Oliver

dog-breed-icon

Nebelung

dog-age-icon

15 Years

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

Critical severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Anemia
Increase Water Intake
Picky Eater

Oliver was a male cat rescue. He always weighed 5 kg. At one point we notice he was skinnier then usual took him to the vetand he a blood test done his white blood cells where low showed a mild sign of anemia, and weighed 3 kg. He was put on prednisolone. He was always picky with his wet food so I had to constantly change it, liquified the dry food and syringe fed. At one point he gained weight to 4 kg bit had some vomiting and diarrhea he received sucralfate for that. His dry food involved fiber science hills(had constipation), science hills sensitive stomach, k/d science hill. He lived for a year more since diagnosis. Recently he wouldn't take the syringe feed anymore and most importantly he stopped eating and drinking on his own. In 2 days his legs where wobbly and he was walking on his hockey with his hind limbs. He would cry at night. I decided it was time for him to rest in peace he made a huge impact in a my life and I was grateful and didn't want to see him suffer. He fought long and hard. Intestinal lymphoma was the original diagnosis overtime is definitely started to affect his kidneys too. Cancer is a bitch.

dog-name-icon

JonSnow

dog-breed-icon

mixed

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Loss Of Appetite

My cat started vomitting a lot at first and didn’t eat or drink anything for 24 hrs so I brought him to the vet right away. Sadly the vet that I went to was terrible and said that he has low white blood cells, fever and infection which has no cure but they can only provide antibiotics for treatment. I was shocked by the feedback but didn’t ask much as I didn’t know much about cats diseases, cause this is first time my cat got sick, he is 2 yrs old btw. So the next day, after taking medication, he only vomit once but seems weaker than the day before. Today he seems even more weak but didn’t vomit at all. The thing that surprises me was that he will make his way up and down the stairs, even jump to sit on my bed despite being super weak. It’s heartbreaking and I can’t tell whether he‘s getting better or not?

dog-name-icon

Tilly

dog-breed-icon

Maine Coon

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Lethargy
Poor Appetite

Hi our 1 year old female cat (Tilly) over the last few days has become lethargic and has decided not to eat any food. We have taken her to the vet who has just confirmed a low white blood cell count. A few months ago Tilly developed diarrhoea but this has been resolve by placing Tilly on different food. Tilly has been outside before but she hasnt been outside now for at least 3 months. we are very worried about her :(

dog-name-icon

Boris

dog-breed-icon

Siamese

dog-age-icon

14 Years

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

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting Diarrhea

Hi everyone! My 14 yr cat Boris started with diarrhea and vomiting 3 days ago, no eating. After a day of this, we went to the vet and prescribed antibiotics and ranitidine. As he stills vomiting, we went back again yesterday to run a blood test and fluid therapy. He is little better and started eating yesterday night some tuna. Today we found that his leuk are 3700. Early this yr we took a torax Rx and ultrasound for a flud episode and was normal. He is a indoor exclusive cat and has no interaction with other animals. Vet said that it could be fiv/felv, could it really be? Now he is eating a little bit more, i don't know what to think. Sorry for my poor English in advance. Thanks

Low White Blood Cell Count Average Cost

From 417 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,500

How can we help your pet?