January 2019 Case of the Month

Peripheral blood from a cat


Case Information

A 1 year-old, female spayed, Domestic Short Hair cat presented to the primary veterinarian after being missing outside for 3 weeks.  The cat was lethargic, inappetent, and had a painful left hind limb along with pale mucous membranes, and a temperature of 94.6ºF.  In-house bloodwork revealed a severe anemia (hematocrit, 9%).  The patient was stabilized and then referred to the Cornell University Hospital for Animals Emergency and Critical Care department for a blood transfusion.  Upon presentation, the patient was quiet, alert, and responsive, had generalized flea dirt, an abscess on the medial aspect of the left hock, pale mucous membranes, weak pulses, and an increased respiratory rate.  The patient was initially stabilized and a complete blood count was sent to the Clinical Pathology laboratory the next day.  A complete blood count (CBC) revealed a severe anemia (hematocrit 12%, reference interval 31-48%) with a moderate inflammatory leukogram, including a moderate neutrophilia (20.3 thou/μL, reference interval 2.3-11.6 thou/μL) with a mild left shift (1.7 thou/μL, reference interval 0.0-0.1 thou/μL) and mild toxic change, and a moderate thrombocytopenia (100 thou/μL, reference interval 195-624 thou/μL).  A blood smear was also evaluated as part of the CBC.

After viewing the figures of the blood smear below, answer the provided questions.

  1. What red blood cell morphologic changes can you glean from these images?
  2. Based on the red blood cell changes, what is the mechanism of the anemia in this cat?
  3. Can you identify a cause of the anemia?

Figure 1: Blood smear from a cat (Wright’s stain, 50x objective)

Figure 2: Blood smear from a cat (Wright’s stain 100x objective)

Answers on the next page

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