Neonatal erythrolysis in cats: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention


Neonatal erythrolysis is often fatal in the very young kitten who, poisoned by its mother’s milk, will quickly waste away. When the signs clinics arise, action must be taken without delay because rapid treatment can save the life of the newborn. Preventing the disease involves in particular determining the blood group from the mother. Explanations.

Neonatal erythrolysis in cats: what is it?

Neonatal erythrolysis is a form ofanemia hemolytic due to incompatibility immune between the kitten’s blood type and that of its mother. The incompatibility results in destruction of the red blood cells (hemolysis) of the newborn by the antibody from his mother via colostrum, milk produced at the end of gestation and during the first hours after giving birth. If the kitten is group A or AB, its mother’s antibodies (which are anti-A) will cross her digestive tract and end up in his blood, causing hemolysis. The phenomenon is called neonatal erythrolysis. We observe this disease when a cat of blood group B mated with a blood type male AT. In a litter, not all kittens necessarily have the same blood group and therefore not all will be affected by the disease.

Are there any cat breeds predisposed to neonatal erythrolysis?

Studies have observed a prevalence significant neonatal erythrolysis in certain feline breeds in which individuals of group B. Among these are:

  • The Abyssinian;
  • The British Shorthair;
  • The Burmese;
  • The Chartreux;
  • The Cornish Rex;
  • The Devon Rex;
  • The Persian;
  • The Peterbald;
  • Somali;
  • The Sphynx.

Symptoms of neonatal erythrolysis in cats

Often, no clinical sign does not appear at birth then three scenarios may occur:

  • The kitten stops suckle and dies suddenly;
  • The newborn weakens in a few days, loses weight and dies in less than a week;
  • Theweakening of the kitten is accompanied by one or more other symptoms: its mucous membranes (at the level of the eyes or the lips) take a yellowish (jaundice) and small stains red to purplish skin (petechiae) appear; the urine become dark. The kitten dies within 24 to 72 hours.

Diagnosis of neonatal erythrolysis in cats

As a rule, all death of a kitten occurring in the first hours or days after birth should suggest neonatal erythrolysis, especially in breeds with risk. If the autopsy often does not reveal any abnormalities, examinations may be performed to further research on the causes of death: blood typing of the cat and her kittens and blood-biochemical tests.

Treatment of neonatal erythrolysis in cats

In the majority of cases, the prognosis of a kitten is very Reserve with a high death rate within days. As soon as neonatal erythrolysis is suspected, treatment consists of to separate immediately the newborn of his mother. It will then be fed at baby bottle with cat formula or by a mother nursing adoption group A. A transfusion blood can be obtained from the blood of its progenitor because the anti-A antibodies in colostrum do not destroy the maternal red blood cells. The little one will be able to return to his mother after 72 hours.

Prevention of neonatal erythrolysis in cats

The chances of survival remain higher in the kitten than we have quickly took of to his progenitor. From birth, if a kitten appears to be weakening and refuses to suckle, urgent action is required and consult your veterinarian for a diagnostic. Prevention goes through blood typing cat, especially in breeds at risk. A surveillance narrow is necessary if the mother is blood type B and the father is type A.

How is blood typed in cats?

In cats, there are three blood groups: A, B and AB. Group A is the most current (85% in Europe), group B is less frequent and group AB very rare. In order to perform a blood typing, the veterinarian will take a sample of blood in the cat and will use a kit special diagnostic. Usually a drop of blood impregnated with specific proteins is mixed with blood typing fluid and the mixture shaken. The fluid obtained is then examined and the results known in ten to fifteen minutes. Neither sedation noranesthesia are not needed in most cats for the exam. The determination systematic blood group of breeders is recommended, especially in feline breeds at risk. It’s a small constraint that will save you the sadness of losing an adorable kitten from birth.

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