One Essex woman described her “shock and excitement” after her cat died of a rare disease among hundreds.
Chloe Haynes’ cat Cookie died of cats on June 18ancytopenia, a Condition in which the number of blood cells (red, white, and platelets) decreases rapidly.
It is said to be “very rare” with only one case a year, but hundreds of cats have died of the disease in the UK since April.
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On July 1, the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) announced that it had 443 cats with pancytopenia and a 64% death rate.
Further research is being conducted to find out why the condition has worsened, and in June the Food Standards Agency recalled several brands of cat food due to a possible link to the deaths.
On June 16, the RVC said there was a “consistent pattern” in the diet of affected cats, but the link was not “definitely established”.
“Everything went so quickly”
Chloe, 23, of Chelmsford, said Cookie, a 9-year-old tabby mackerel cat, was “okay” in the days before she died.
She stated: “She ate and drank normally.
“Then on Thursday evening my father said to me that she had been quiet all day and hadn’t moved or eaten much.
“Later that night my mom saw on Facebook that there was a food recall and Cookie had eaten one of the products.”
After Cookie was taken to the local vets for a scan the next morning and had a referral, “severe” signs of pancytopenia were found.
(Image: Chloe Haynes)
Due to the nature of the condition, Chloe was told that Cookie had so low blood cells that she was at high risk of internal bleeding.
This made Cookies’ chances of survival “very slim” and Chloe made the decision to have her euthanized.
Chloe said, “It all happened so quickly.
“Thursday night we noticed something was wrong and then on Friday lunchtime we made decisions about whether or not to put her to sleep.
“Without the red and white blood cells, she would have died of an infection in her own body.
“There was nothing we could do to save her.
“It was quite a shocking discovery as 24 hours before I thought she was happy and healthy.
“I never thought that I would come home the next evening without my cat.”
Chloe said she was frustrated that her family “still has no answers”.
“I’m still very excited and trying to process it,” Chloe said.
“I’m a little angry that there are no answers.
Warning to other pet owners
Chloe and her mother Sarah Haynes said they are trying to create as much awareness as possible on social media and in their daily lives.
This also includes knowing the signs to look out for, such as: Lethargy and loss of appetite.
(Image: Chloe Haynes)
Sarah said blood transfusions are also a big issue.
“A lot of people have to euthanize their cats because there is no blood for transfusions,” said Sarah.
“There is a Facebook group trying to raise awareness of healthy cats in order to help sick cats with blood transfusions.
“More blood transfusions would save a lot of cats because they’re running out of blood right now.”
What was said nationally
On July 1, an RVC spokesman said, “Our research is ongoing and we are still collecting data from veterinarians, testing food samples and samples from affected cats. We haven’t found a definitive cause for the syndrome yet.
“Unfortunately, we now know of over 400 affected cats. Common signs that owners of affected cats notice are lethargy and loss of appetite, although in some cases they see signs of spontaneous bleeding or bruising. We encourage owners to contact their veterinarian.” if you fear your cat may be affected. “
On June 17th, the Food Standards Agency issued a product recall saying, “Fold Hill Foods is taking precaution to recall several hypoallergenic cat food products due to safety concerns.
“This product recall notice has been updated to include all best-before dates for Applaws products with location code GB218E5009.
“This is not due to the identification of additional safety concerns, but rather a voluntary action by the manufacturer to help consumers understand the products concerned.”
The full list of recalled products can be found here.
For advice on what to do if you are concerned about your cat’s health, visit the RVC website.