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Leukemia in Cats

By: Erika De Papp

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Optimal treatment for your pet requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your pet does not improve over the expected time frame. Administer all prescribed medications as directed. Alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your pet.

Follow-up will include weekly evaluations of the CBC to monitor red and white blood cell counts and platelet levels. This is one important way to measure response to treatment. Additional bloodwork, such as biochemical profiles may also be needed, depending on the results of the original profile.

Just as important as the lab results, physical examination by your veterinarian on a weekly basis is imperative until the disease process is considered to be stable or in remission. Your veterinarian will monitor weight, body condition, and temperature and palpate lymph nodes and internal organs to assess their size.

Repeat x-rays or ultrasound exam may be indicated to track changes in organ size as well.

Once your pet is stable, less frequent exams will be needed, but close contact with your veterinarian is required for the life of your pet.

Monitor your pet at home for signs of lethargy, continued weight loss, anorexia, and general weakness. Learn how to check your pet's temperature with a rectal thermometer and call the veterinarian if a fever is present. A temperature greater than 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit in a resting animal is abnormal. Remember that body temperature may rise with exercise and a warm environment.

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