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Anemia (Methemoglobinemia) in Cats


Treatment for Methemoglobinemia


  • Mild to moderate — no treatment necessary
  • If drug-induced, discontinuation of the drug
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen overdose — vomiting induced immediately
  • Inherited — some animals have normal life expectancy and do not require treatment
  • Severely anemic — blood transfusions
  • Electrolyte imbalances resulting from vomiting, diarrhea, kidney injury, or impending shock may be treated with IVs
  • In cases of severe anemia, methylene blue may be administered intravenously to reduce the methemoglobin count


Living and Management of Methemoglobinemia


Do not administer over-the-counter medications to your cat without your veterinarian’s advice and/or approval, particularly medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. If your cat has ingested one of these medications by accident, induce vomiting if possible and take the cat to the veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately.


Color should return to the skin and mucous membranes once the amount of methemoglobin in the blood has returned to a level that is not critical and blood on the spot test appears bright red. If methylene blue treatment has been given, the proportion of red cells in the blood should be monitored closely.