A deficiency in the enzyme Pyruvate Kinase (PK) impairs the red blood cells' (RBCs) ability to metabolize, which in turn may cause anemia and other blood-related issues. Breeds more prone to PK deficiency include the Abyssinian, Somali, and domestic shorthair cats.
Symptoms and Types
- Muscle wasting
- Jaundice (rare)
- Pale mucous membranes
- Elevated heart rate (tachycardia)
- Inability to perform routine exercises
PK definciency is typically associated with a genetic defect acquired at birth.
You will need to give a thorough history of your cat's health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms, to your veterinarian. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination, as well a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count (CBC).
Blood testing may reveal an increased number of platelets as well as white blood cells (leukocytosis), anemia with abnormally large, pale red blood cells (RBCs), abnormally-shaped RBCs called poikilocytes (poikilcytosis), and a variation in RBC color (polychromasia). The biochemistry profile, meanwhile, may show an excess of iron in the blood (hyperferremia), mild increase in bilirubin, and slight increase in liver enzymes. Lastly, urinalysis may reveal high levels of bilirubin.
Bone marrow transplantation is the only available treatment for PK deficient cats. However, this treatment is expensive and potentially life-threatening.
Living and Management
Cats that undergo a bone marrow transplant may have a normal lifespan. Unfortunately, those that are left untreated will typically die by four years of age as a result of bone marrow or liver failure. Most of these patients develop severe anemia and accumulation of fluid in abdominal cavity (ascites) during the terminal stage of the disease.
A condition that involves multiple colors
A medical condition in which the patient has an abnormally fast heartbeat
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness
An increase in the number of white blood cells (abnormal)
A certain pigment that is produced when hemoglobin is destroyed.
A condition of the blood in which normal red blood cell counts or hemoglobin are lacking.
The collection of fluid in the peritoneal cavity.
The space in the abdomen that holds the major digestive organs in an animal. Normally referred to as the area between the diaphragm and the pelvis. Also referred to as the peritoneal cavity.
A substance that causes chemical change to another