FAQs on Pancytopenia
***UPDATE 31/08/21: Mycotoxins found in recalled dry cat food are not thought to be linked feline pancytopenia***
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In June 2021, VetCT became aware of a spike in cases of severe pancytopenia in feline patients. The RVC collated data on these cases a product recall on certain batches of dry cat food was issued on 17th June 2021. An update posted by the RVC on 23rd August 2021 confirmed 563 reported cases, suffering a 63% fatality rate. The number of cases peaked in June and appears to have declined since. The full update can be accessed on the RVC website.
In a statement issued by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on 26th August 2021, no causal link was found between mycotoxins T2 and HT2, which were identified at low levels in the recalled food batches, and pancytopenia in cats:
“A multi-agency approach will continue to try and identify the causes of the pancytopenia. As new information emerges, we will review our approach on managing any identified risks in animal feed and inform industry so that they can take any action required as a result of our findings.”
Further information from the FSA can be found HERE.
Recall of dry food brands
As a precautionary measure, a number of dry food products are still being recalled voluntarily from several brands, whilst the manufacturer supports an ongoing investigation by the food and veterinary authorities into a possible safety issue affecting cats. Products include selected ranges from AVA (Pets At Home), Applaws & Sainsbury’s. See the following link for a full list, which also contains details of who to contact to obtain a refund for the recalled products.
The Royal Veterinary College has been appealing to vets across the UK to participate in a survey to aid identification of possible causes of the recent spike in severe cases of bone marrow failure in cats. Vets with suspect cases can access the survey HERE.
Dr. Kate Murphy, an Internal Medicine consultant at VetCT said “We've spoken with several clients who have seen cats with a severe pancytopenia consisting of quite profound leukopenia, thrombocytopenia and anaemia. Unfortunately, many of these cats seem to present severely unwell, with spontaneous bleeding and can require multiple typed blood transfusions to stabilise them. Preliminary data suggests that many affected cats have died as a result of their bone marrow failure.” More information on feline blood typing and cross-matching for transfusions can be accessed HERE.
The Internal Medicine Consultant team at VetCT encourages veterinarians presented with a cat with compatible haematologic findings to please consider the syndrome described as a possible cause, to review the diet the cat is being fed alongside any other medications or possible toxic access. Common causes of pancytopenia in cats should be considered and may include:
- Secondary to infectious disease e.g. FeLV, FIV, feline panleukopenia
- If the cat has travelled outside of the UK or has been imported, consider ehrlichiosis or leishmaniasis, although these are uncommon in cats even in endemic areas
- Secondary to toxin exposure e.g. oestrogens, griseofulvin, immuno/myelosuppressive medications, chemotherapy
- Secondary to neoplasia e.g. primary marrow or metastatic
- Secondary to myelofibrosis/dysplasia/aplasia
- Secondary to immune mediated disease
Our team is available 24/7 to discuss any identified cases where support is needed. If you would like to find out more about how you can access specialist support via instant callback or text chat, please visit: https://www.vet-ct.com/ to discover the VetCT App.
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- Thank you, Team VetCT