Facts You Need To Learn About Blood Thickening In Cats


Blood thickening usually happens in the older cats and may give imprecise symptoms, which are often seen in some other condition. Due to this circumstance, it is very important for the cat owners to be well aware of the cat’s normal habits, as well as seek some help when the abnormal symptoms or habits happen. In this article, we will be discussing further about blood thickening and more. Read on if you want to learn more about it!

Blood Thickening in Cats: What is this feline condition?

Polycythemia vera or blood thickening in cats is a blood condition in cats, which involves then abnormal thickening of the blood. Mainly, this is because of the increase in production of red blood cell through the bone marrow. Moreover, it is mainly seen in the older cats.

Additionally, blood thickening in cats commonly happens in the older cats and may give some vague symptoms, which are often seen in some other conditions. Due to this fact, it is so important for the cat owners to be well aware of their own cat’s normal behavior, as well as to seek some help when any abnormal symptoms or behaviors happen.

Moreover, polycythemia vera is also a condition, which may cause the blood to get thicker because of the abnormal increase in the number or concentration of red blood cells in the body of the cat. This particular increase actually happens in the bone marrow of the cat, where the blood cells are yielded. Further, there are a few different kinds of the condition. Proper identification of the specific kind of blood thickening in cats is important in the proper treatment of the condition.

Causes of Cat Blood Thickening

Even though it is not always possible to identify the cause of the blood thickening in cats, precisely describing the symptoms of the cat may help the vet in determining the real cause. This is for the reason that each kind of the condition displays different symptoms, and each of them is attributed to a diverse cause.

  • Absolute blood thickening (polycythemia vera), primary, is due to an abnormal increase in the production of red blood cell, specifically in the bone marrow.
  • Absolute blood thickening, secondary (polycythemia vera), is due to an increase in the erythropoietin on the kidneys because of heart failure, lung disease, or abnormalities in the circulatory system.
  • Transient blood thickening (polycythemia vera) is due to the contraction of spleen and injection of red blood cells in the bloodstream during an exercise or excitement.
  • Relative blood thickening (polycythemia vera) is due to an increase in the red blood cells concentration to fluid in cat’s bloodstream because of total blood loss, plasma loss, or dehydration.

Symptoms of Cat Blood Thickening

Commonly, the symptoms develop in a slow manner over time and may become chronic:

  • Brick red or pale mucous membranes
  • Seizures
  • Shaking
  • Vision difficulties
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Nose bleeding
  • Redness off the skin
  • Small, red spots on the skin
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Loss of appetite or refusal to eating
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Lethargy

There are three major kinds of blood thickening in cats that may be broken down into subtypes.

  • Absolute blood thickening (polycythemia vera), primary
  • Absolute blood thickening (polycythemia vera), secondary
  • Transient blood thickening (polycythemia vera)
  • Relative blood thickening (polycythemia vera)

Prognosis of Cat Blood Thickening

You may need to give a complete history of the cat’s overall health, including the onset and the nature of the symptoms, to the vet. After which, the vet will perform a thorough physical examination, urinalysis, biochemistry profile, as well as CBC. Further, blood testing may usually reveal a certain increase in the mass of the red blood cell, and in approximately 50% of the cats, an increase in the number of white blood cells.

In order to assess the kidney function and cardiopulmonary systems, the vet may conduct abdominal ultrasounds and X-rays. Meanwhile, echocardiography is essential in the evaluation of the cardiac functions. The vet will also take some samples of the bone marrow and send it to a pathologist for more examination.

Treatments for Cat Blood Thickening

The treatments for blood thickening in cats depends on the kind that the cat has been diagnosed with.

Treatment of Main Causes

In the secondary absolute blood thickening (polycythemia vera), the main condition should be treated to allow the blood to get thinner into its proper concentration. The therapeutic phlebotomy might be performed up until the main condition is already under control.


Cats with primary absolute blood thickening (polycythemia vera) may be prescribed with hydroxyurea. Further, an antineoplastic medication that prevents the blood marrow from developing excess red blood cells.

Therapeutic Phlebotomy

In this particular procedure, the vet may remove some of the blood from the body of the cat via one of the central veins. In order to prevent an austere drop in the blood pressure while the blood is being removed, saline may instantaneously be administered to the cat. This procedure might need to be done more than once. In several cases, leech application has been beneficial in removing the excess blood from the body of the cat. This is what allows it to thin in a slow manner and prevent any sudden changes in the blood pressure.

Fluid Therapy

The intravenous fluids may be given to the cats who are experiencing blood thickening because of hydration or blood loss. the organs of the cat, like the heart and kidneys, may be monitored during the fluid therapy to ensure that they are responding well in increasing the fluids.


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