Blood Disorders Related to FeLV Infection in Cats

By PetMD Editorial on Apr. 3, 2009

Cyclic Hematopoiesis in Cats

Cyclic hematopoiesis is a disorder of the formation of blood cells, which rarely affects cats. When it does occur, reports are related to cats that are infected with the leukemia virus (FeLV) infection, a virus that suppresses the immune system in cats. Cyclic hematopoiesis that has been observed in cats appears to be another possible non-cancerous manifestation of the FeLV infection.

Symptoms and Types

  • Signs and symptoms of FeLV
  • Weakness/lethargy
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Recurrent skin infections
  • Fever
  • Anemia


This blood disorder is directly related to the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) infection in cats. The FeLV virus is transmitted by other infected cats.


You will need to provide a thorough history of your cat's health and recent activities leading up to the onset of symptoms. Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam on the cat, including a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, an electrolyte panel, and a urinalysis.

Cyclic hematopoiesis cause formation abnormalities throughout the circulatory system's cell lines, such as in the formation of blood platelets, the cells responsible for clotting; neutrophils, white blood cells that are essential for the destruction of infectious microorganisms; reticulocytes, immature blood cells that occur during the regeneration of blood; and monocytes, white blood cells that are formed in the bone marrow and spleen, and which ingest cellular debris and foreign particles in the blood. If the complete blood count shows an abnormally low number of neutrophils and cyclic variations of other cell lines over several days, along with signs of a feline leukemia virus infection, this will strongly support a diagnosis of cyclic hematopoiesis.


Supportive therapy will include fluid therapy and antibiotics for treating infections. Depending on the stage of the virus, the hematopoiesis may be brought under control with the medication prednisolone, or with the administration of corticosteroid. Further treatment will be based on how well your cat's immune system is fighting the FeLV infection.

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