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Leukemia (Acute) in Cats

Treatment

 

Animals can normally be treated on an outpatient basis. However, if your cat has low levels of red blood cells, platelets (the cells responsible for clotting), or other blood clotting factors, your cat should be hospitalized and given blood transfusions to prevent excessive bleeding. If your cat has been diagnosed with leukemia, your veterinarian will also prescribe a chemotherapeutic medicine to halt the growth of malignant cells. You will need to wear gloves when you give this medication to your cat.

 

Living and Management

 

If your cat is diagnosed with leukemia, you will need to keep it isolated from other animals. Your cat’s system will lack an immune response (immunocompromised) as a result of both the cancer and the therapy. In the process of destroying fast growing cancerous cells, chemotherapy will also destroy white blood cells responsible for fighting invasion, making your cat prone to infection. Even a simple cold can quickly become a fatal case of pneumonia. Red blood cells can also be affected; one possible side affect of a low red blood cell count is anemia. And blood platelets, the cells responsible for coagulation (clotting), can be affected as well. A low platelet count can result in bruising and excessive bleeding. Animals suffering from this disorder are prone to hemorrhage from lack of platelets. Your veterinarian will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your cat’s peripheral blood count and bone marrow status. Unfortunately, the prognosis for acute lymphoblastic leukemia is grave.

 

 

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