Knowing Some of the Conditions Affecting Your Cat with a Low WBC
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Knowing Some of the Conditions Affecting Your Cat with a Low WBC

A list of all the different white blood cells and the effect they have with underlying conditions in the health of your cat.

Low WBC (white blood cells) in cats, also known as leukocytes, is a result of a viral infection and bone marrow abnormality. It may also be a condition of blood poisoning, where the white blood cells are concentrated in the area of infection and not circulating in the blood, resulting in a low white cell count.

There are different types of white blood cells in cats and the type of cell can determine an underlying cause of an illness. A low WBC cannot defend the body against invading life forms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. The number of WBC's is typically elevated when the body is fighting a severe infection or stressed by metabolic toxins or when extremely excited or stressed out.

Neutrophils are the low WBC, called bands, which are formed in the bone marrow. Low levels indicate infection such as sepsis, which is a deadly bacterial infection, or signs of extreme stress in the body. These cells function by overcoming any disease-causing bacteria and other small particles. In the presence of a bacterial infection, their number in the peripheral blood increases, the bone marrow releases more of the young cells into the circulation, and the percentage of bands increases in relation to the segmented ones.

Low Lymphocyte white blood cell levels indicate viral infections affecting the bone marrow or sepsis. They are divided into B and T cells, the B cells helping with antibodies while the T cells activate and help other cells destroy viruses and other foreign material.

When your cat is experiencing prolonged stress due to allergies or parasites, Eosinophil WBC counts decrease.

The Basophil white blood cell, also developed in the bone marrow, is very rare but can be seen in certain parasitic infection, primarily heartworm. Low levels are possible in normal blood samples and can indicate a possible parasitic infection.

Monocytes develop and are stored in the spleen and bone marrow. They secrete various protein molecules that help with inflamed and irritated tissue, as they also swallow and eat up foreign material, such as infectious organisms.

Some of the conditions that your cat contracts as an indication of a low white blood cell count are Panleukopenia (distemper), Leucopenia (a decrease in white blood cells), Pancreatitis, as well as Feline Leukemia, Feline Aids, and Feline Infectious Peritonitis. Most conditions that affect your cat due to a low WBC may be avoided through the prevention of vaccination therapy. Treatment involves antibiotic therapy per the advice of your veterinarian, along with further preventative measures to ward off recurrence.


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