Veterinarian Reviewed on April 2, 2014 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Cat Myelodysplasia is a large selection of disorders found in both cats and dogs. They all begin within the bone marrow of the cat, and are the result of unusual characteristics of the stem cells responsible for the creation of other blood cells in a cat’s body. They involve the rapid creation but impaired maturation of cells within the cat. These diseases are typically categorized into two forms: acute myeloid leukemia and chronic myeloproliferative disorders.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia
This disorder tends to come up quickly, making it among the most aggressive of all Cat Cancer conditions. This Leukemia tends to be less present in dogs than it is in cats. It involves no maturation of the cells in the body. The areas of the cat’s body that are typically affected by acute myeloid leukemia include the kidneys, spleen, liver, and lymph nodes. The entire central nervous system could also be jeopardized. Infections and hemorrhaging are commonly seen in cats that have this unfortunate condition.
Chronic Myeloproliferative Diseases
This category of disorders tends to progress in a much slower manner than the other form. They are often characterized by an overpopulation of cells in the bone marrow. This group can be further broken down into a number of disorders that may be experienced by a cat.
Polycythemia Vera is an example of these chronic disorders, and is known for the overproduction of red blood cells. Basophilic leukemia is a similar disease, only it is more commonly known for the rise in white blood cell count that it causes.
Symptoms of Myelodysplasia Disorders in Cats
The exact signs experienced by a cat affected with Myelodysplasia will depend on the type of condition present. Common symptoms that can be found in a number of these issues include Cat Loss of Appetite, Cat Increased Thirst, Cat Lethargy, Cat Fever, and Cat Loss of Weight. These diseases can also cause Cat Vomiting, Cat Difficulty Breathing, Cat Seizures, and improper muscle functions. The cells within the bone marrow can be impaired depending on the certain condition the pet is experiencing.
Diagnosing Myelodysplasia in Cats
The bone marrow as well as blood will be closely examined to determine a proper diagnosis of the many myelodysplasia disorders commonly found in cats. Blast cells may be found around the bone marrow which can be tested. In the event that these cells are not present, the diagnosis can be shifted to believe that leukemia is the right condition that the cat has. The need for several medical examination techniques will be necessary to study the blood cells. This will allow the veterinarians to rule out other possible causes of the cell abnormalities, including those that are non-cancerous.
The method of treatment will vary greatly based on the type of myelodysplasia present in the cat. Chemotherapy is a common method to treat acute leukemia in cats. Other courses of action may be used to reduce the overabundance or red or white blood cells. Certain medications can be administered to help keep the situation under control.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan