• Platelets are blood cells that play an important role in the body's clotting mechanism. If your cat's platelet count falls, its blood may not clot properly---or at all. Scientists refer to a low platelet count as thrombocytopenia.


    A healthy cat can have between 200,000 and 500,000 platelets per microliter of blood circulating in its body, though it needs only about 50,000 as a bare minimum. Cats with thrombocytopenia have less than 40,000 platelets per microliter.


    Potential causes of feline thrombocytopenia include extreme blood loss, leukemia, decreased platelet production, lymphoma or infections that cause premature or accelerated platelet destruction.


    Cats with thrombocytopenia can have small red spots on their gums, their skin and the whites of their eyes. Other symptoms include blood in the urine or stool, fever, nosebleeds (epistaxis), lethargy, excessive coughing, nasal mucus, heart murmurs and, in severe cases, collapse.


    Veterinarians may take blood samples, X-rays or ultrasounds to see what's wrong with your cat. They may also perform a physical exam, a urinalysis and specific tests for disease or infections that can cause thrombocytopenia, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever.


    Thrombocytopenia itself does not require treatment, because treating the underlying cause, such as leukemia or an infection, will cause the thrombocytopenia to clear up.


    PetMD: Low Platelet Count in Cats

    MarvistaVet: Thrombocytopenia

    Pet Place: Thrombocytopenia in Cats

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