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Systemic Autoimmune Disease in Cats

4 min read



Hospitalization may be necessary for the initial management of SLE, especially if your cat is in a state of hemolytic (red blood cell destruction) crisis. However, outpatient management is often possible if the condition is not severe. The kind of care and the level of care will vary by which systems are being affected.


For at home treatment, you will need to enforce rest, especially during episodes of severe pain in the joints. You might consider cage rest for a short time, until your cat can safely move about again without overexertion. You may also need to avoid bright sunlight, which may require limiting your cat's access to bright windows until the late afternoon and evening hours. If the kidneys are being affected, your veterinarian will recommend a kidney specific protein-restricted diet.


There are a number of medications that can be used for treating SLE, such as immunosuppressive drugs for decreasing the immune system response, and corticosteroids for reducing inflammation in the lymph nodes. Your veterinarian will prescribe the medications required to treat the specific form the disease is taking in your cat.




As SLE is known to be hereditary in some breeds, it is highly recommended that cats that have been diagnosed with SLE not be bred.


Living and Management


This is a progressive and unpredictable disease. Long-term, immunosuppressive therapy will be required. The treatments frequently have side effects that you will need to deal with as your dog's caretaker. Also, your veterinarian will want to see your cat weekly, at least initially, to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment and to watch for severe side effects.



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