Feline Pancytopenia Cases and Food Recall

In recent weeks there has been a number of ill cats in the UK who when their blood is tested have very low numbers of neutrophils (white blood cells which fight infections), platelets (which are important for clotting) and often also low numbers red blood cells (anaemia).

This combination of abnormalities is known as pancytopenia. This is a very serious, life threatening condition and many affected cats die from complications such as bleeding and secondary infections.

Pancytopenia can have a number of causes and is normally very rare. Tests for typical causes of this condition are coming back negative in a number of cats around then UK in recent weeks. This is raising concerns that there may be a common toxin or infection that these cats have been exposed to, particularly as this problem can affect more than one cat in the same household. Research is undergoing to look for a common link between these cats.

Some of the affected cats are believed to have eaten similar foods. These include brands such as AVA, Applaws dried foods and Sainsbury hypoallergenic foods. We do not know if there is a toxin in the food or if the diet is the cause of these cats problems at this stage. However, as a precautionary measure the Food Standards Agency has issued a recall for affected cat food brands until we know more about these cats. The product recall notice and list of foods which might be affected can be read here

Fold Hill Foods recall several cat food products because of safety concerns | Food Standards Agency

If you are feeding your cat any of these foods, please stop doing so immediately. Signs that you might see if your cat is affected is lethargy, pale gums or bleeding. If bleeding occurs in the intestines, you might see black coloured stools. If you have any concerns about your cat, please contact your local veterinary practice for advice. They may take a blood sample to investigate this further.