Myeloproliferative Disorders in Cats

By PetMD Editorial on Feb. 14, 2010

Myeloproliferative Disorders are a specific type of disorders involving excess cell production originating from the bone marrow. Although they are not associated with neoplastic tissues, like other cancers, myeloproliferative disorders are classified within blood cancers.


Symptoms and Types


  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Weight loss
  • Enlargement of liver and spleen




Myeloproliferative Disorders are most commonly associated with Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) infection. It may also be seen in cats recovering from panleukopenia or hemobartonellosis infections




You will need to give a thorough history of your cat’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms. The veterinarian will then conduct a complete physical examination as well as a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count (CBC), which should glean valuable information regarding the morphology of blood cells and other abnormalities. Blood testing may also reveal severe non-regenerative anemia, in which the bone marrow responds inadequately to the increased demand of red blood cells. Other abnormalities may include megaloblastic red blood cells (abnormally large red blood cells) or leukocytosis or leukopenia.


Abdominal X-rays are usually taken to reveal abnormal enlarging of the liver or spleen, while bone marrow biopsies reveal detailed information related to abnormalities in various cell line production and maturation.



Although no specific treatment has been developed for cats with myeloproliferative disorders, antibiotics are used to treat and prevent secondary infections. You may need to consult a veterinary oncologist for further evaluation and treatment, including the use of chemotherapeutic agents.


In severe cases, your cat may need to hospitalized and undergo fluids therapy and blood transfusions to correct dehydration and anemia, respectively. Unfortunately, the prognosis of cats suffering from these disorders is poor.


Living and Management


Regular blood testing and bone marrow examination is recommended during treatment to determine the cat's response to the therapy and the progression of the disorder. In addition, chemotherapeutic agents used in treatment are potentially toxic to humans and should only be after receiving instructions from your veterinarian.

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