Ashley's overactive immune system

Ashley is a 4 year and 11 month old cat that was taken to another vet clinic for inappetance and lethargy for three days. She had scabs on her ear tips and her eyes were sunken and squinting (presumably because they were sore). She was given antibiotics and anti-inflammatories and referred for further examination at Adelaide Animal Hospital.

When Ashley was presented at our hospital, she was reassessed and further tests were performed. She tested negative to FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus or feline aids) but had increased white blood cells, particularly those associated with parasites or allergy, and as well as some other changes found in her blood results.

There were some flea dirt present in Ashley's coat and a skin scrape was performed to test for mites which returned negative. Ashley has a history of flea allergy so she was continued on anti-inflammatory treatment for flea allergy. She was started on fluids to rehydrate her as after three days of inappetance she was quite dehydrated.

Ashley was in hospital for several days on fluids and receiving medications. Her red blood cell count was slowly decreasing and her platelets (crucial in forming blood clots) were also decreasing. The concern was that the allergy to the fleas had brought on an immune mediated illness that was attacking her own cells. The steroid anti-inflammtories were continued. These medications are effective treatment for both allergy and some immune mediated conditions. 

After two days in hospital Ashley's demeanor was improving and her appetite was returning. By the fourth day Ashley had transformed into a lovely bright smoochy cat with a good appetite and was discharged to the care of her grateful owner to continue her medications. Ashley will be returning to her regular vet clinic outside of Adelaide for additional blood tests a week after her discharge to make sure all is going well, and that her allergy and immune mediated diseases are staying in remission. 

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