Its warm out, and you know what that means? Of course you do-youve been reading my blog for the last few years and as a result are incredibly well versed in the seasonal ailments that afflict animals. But just in case you forgot, its flea season!!
Last week, a cat came into the PPAC looking extremely pale—dangerously so. I know- youre probably wondering, how can you tell if a cat is pale beneath all that fur? Good question. First of all, look at their (our) gums. Gums are supposed to be a pretty pink hue. If theyre not, something might be wrong. Another way is to check out the area around the whites of our eyes-this area is also supposed to be pink in color.
Once we determined that the kitty was super pale, Dr. S. said he needed to look the fella over stat. A checkup later, Dr. S. discovered flea scat (poo) all over the cat-and I mean ALL OVER. Fleas are tiny so as you can imagine, their poo looks essentially like little flecks of dirt. So now youre probably wondering how you can tell that its poo? (Youre mighty inquisitive today!) Well, since fleas eat blood, flea poo is just more of the same-blood! Spray it with a bit of water and if it runs red, you know its flea feces.
The abundance of fleas on the cat seemed to be potentially the cause of the severe paleness-if a flea is eating all your bloodwell you get the picture. So first off, the kitty was desperately in need of blood so Dr. S. gave him a blood transfusion. Blood- Check! Next, Dr. S. applied a topical flea treatment to rid the kitty of fleas and to protect him from any future ones.
A few days later, the kitty didnt seem to be getting all that much better and developed a fever to boot. Having seen these symptoms before, Dr. S. suspected that the kitty was perhaps afflicted with mycoplasma which is an organism that enters red blood cells and destroys them. This organism was transmitted via the fleas and was responsible for making him very very sick.
Next step was to treat him with an antibiotic, doxycycline, which healed him up real fast. Voila! Paleness gone and fleas as well.
You may be wondering why Im sharing this story about fleas- Ive written more than once on these pesky critters. Well Ill indulge your questions this one last time. Fleas are usually viewed as nothing more than a nuisance. Though this is usually the case, in some rare instances, such as the case discussed in this post, fleas can be deadly. If Dr. S. hadnt treated the kitty, the fleas could have been fatal.
As always, if you see anything abnormal going on with your pet, paleness or otherwise, bring them on in for a checkup.
Til next time, be safe.