Youtube Play

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 diseases such as 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.

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

Some of these diseases, particularly feline parvovirus and feline leukemia, can be contagious to other cats. 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 panleukopenia 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, but the prognosis varies greatly depending on the signs that an affected cat is showing.  Your vet may recommend different treatments, 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 panleukopenia 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.

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

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

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

0 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

14 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

14 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?

Low White Blood Cell Count Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$1,500

Need pet insurance?
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.