Severe Bacterial Infection and Anemia

by Gail
(Boston, USA)

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

During her wellness visit, the vet found a large mass around Sadie's kidneys and she lost more weight.

After blood tests, Sadie was diagnosed with a severe bacterial infection and anemia.

She lost another 2-pounds, which put her weight at 4.6-pounds; drastic for what was once a 12-pound feline.

Her thyroid numbers are off too, meaning she's taking too much medicine.

The vet has me halving her meds; since it's a chewy treat, she gets one every other day, rather than daily.

The vet also prescribed the strong antibiotic Orbax, to be taken daily for the next 2 weeks.

Thankfully, Sadie loves Pill Pockets and takes the Orbax without issue - I told her it was another 'special treat' and she gobbles it up.

After 2 days on the Orbax, she has perked up again, is eating like her old self and the spark of life is back in those beautiful eyes. We need to re-check her blood in another week to see how things are progressing.

Question: - what can I do, other than what is already being done, to help address the anemia?

Sadie's food consists of wet and dry Science Diet Prescription I/D due to intestinal issues, whereby she used to vomit store-bought food.

No more hairballs or upchucking since changing to the I/D. Should I be doing anything else?


Hi Gail... I hope you are OK and I am sorry to hear about Sadie.

From what you say it seems that the cause of the feline anemia in this case is loss of kidney function. Although you don't actually say that but you do imply it.

Any chronic illness can depress the bone marrow and lead to anemia (insufficient red blood cells in the blood system).

In other words it is not caused by a dietary deficiency. When the disease is resolved the anemia should resolve. That seems to be the plan.

The question is, is there any cat food that can either boost red blood cell production or if there is kidney failure can a certain food assist?

There is a diet for a cat with chronic kidney failure (if that is the case).

In brief the diet should be high quality and lower in protein to minimise the amount of nitrogen that has to be excreted by the kidneys. Hills Feline k/d is indicated. B vitamin supplements are advised1.

I hope this helps a bit. I think the issue of diet is concerned with tackling the disease that is causing the anemia which is a symptom of the underlying illness.


Michael Avatar


1. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Guide by Drs Carlson and Giffin

Severe Bacterial Infection and Anemia to Cat Health Problems

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Severe Bacterial Infection and Anemia

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Aug 27, 2010 Last Resort
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

No, you were not too harsh, Michael. I have steeled my nerves for the worst; however, each day, Sadie seems to be perking up a bit more. Even the vet was surprised at how much fight is in her, so it's just wait-and-see.

The one thing I will not do; however, is give her a transfusion. I don't feel it is in her best interest to prolong the inevitable. Believe me, I have not given up hope on her recovery, but I won't put Sadie through unnecessary hardship, as much as I love her. It's always what's in the best interest of Sadie. Thank you for your insight, it is much appreciated.

Aug 27, 2010 Too harsh?
by: Michael

Gail, if I was too harsh in the last comment, please forgive me, I'm sorry. I shouldn't speculate like that.

Michael Avatar

Aug 27, 2010 Cancer
by: Michael

Well, if the mass is cancer that of course would or could lead to anemia as can any serious illness as mentioned.

The blood transfusion seems to be a last resort. If the underlying condition remains it can't be a cure it seems to me.

I wish you both the very best of luck.

Take care.

Michael Avatar

Aug 25, 2010 Feline Anemia
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

Thank you, Michael, for your insight. Personally, I'm an emotional trainwreck, but around Sadie, I'm all sunshine and love. She seems to be responding in kind with those bright love-filled eyes. She's a fighter!

Initially, I was under the impression that the mass may have been cancerous. Although he never said, I think the vet wondered as well.

Kidney function was addressed after the test results were reviewed. For now, we're playing the wait-and-see game, with the Orbax. The day of her vet visit, nothing was in Sadie's litter box and she was very lethargic and barely ate. That's when I feared the worst. The following day (1 day after the antibiotic was given), her appetitie returned and her litter box is as wet/stinky as usual...hooray!

If the antibiotic doesn't work, the next step is a blood transfusion; however, the vet has expressed dismay with the procedure and, all things considered, I am inclined to agree with him. My biggest concern is Sadie's quality of life, no matter what I want. So far, Sadie's fighting back, which is what we both were hoping would happen.

Thanks again, Michael, for your insight. I know I can always come to this forum and get the straight story needed to assist in making an informed decision.

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