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Pancytopenia and diet: what do you need to know?

There is a worrying illness affecting hundreds of cats across the UK. It's name is pancytopenia, and it has been linked to a number of popular cat food products
Added on: 03 Jul, 2021 Posted by: Sandra James 4 min read (625 words)

In this guide:

Pancytopenia is a rare, serious, and potentially fatal condition that has - sadly - killed some 300 cats recently. The disease affects the blood, and has been linked to certain cancers, immune system disorders and sepsis. More recently - and more worryingly - it has been linked to diet, and specially to a number of popular cat food brands.

What are the symptoms of pancytopenia?

Symptoms include:

  • Low energy levels or weakness

  • Pale and bleeding gums

  • Blood in the urine or vomit

  • Fever

  • Collapse

  • Decreased appetite

What is the link between pancytopenia and certain cat foods?

So far, it is estimated that 450 cats have been diagnosed with pancytopenia. Of these, almost 300 have - sadly - lost their lives. 

Vets have been analysing the cases and have found a common link - diet. As a result, the Food Standards Agency and DEFRA has recalled several foods produced by Fold Hill.

Which cat foods are affected?

There are a number of cat food products that have been recalled so far due to safety concerns. The products, which are manufactured by Food Hill Foods, include:

  • A range of Applaws packets

  • Several AVA packets

  • Packets from Sainsbury’s hypoallergenic cat food range

The list is being updated regularly. Full details can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.

>> View the list of affected products

What to do if you have any of these affected products at home

First - and most importantly - stop feeding them to your cat immediately. 

If you have bought an AVA product, you should contact www.petsathome.com via the contact form or live chat option on their website.

Customers who have bought an Applaws product are advised to contact www.applaws.com/uk/contact-us

Sainsbury’s customers should contact www.sainsburys.co.uk/help or call 0800 636 262

What to do if you have recently fed your cat any of the affected products

Contact your vet as soon as you can.

There is no real cure for pancytopenia but it is clear that early intervention is key. So, if your cat has recently eaten one of the affected products, it is important that you get medical advice immediately.

What to do if your cat is displaying symptoms of pancytopenia

As above, you need to seek urgent medical attention. There are care options available, including fluid drips, antibiotics and blood transfusions. Unfortunately, these options, however, don’t always work and many cat owners have had to make difficult decisions to put their pet down.

Cats under the care of The Cat Butler

All of our cat sitters have been fully briefed on this emergency situation. If we are currently caring for your cat and we know that they are usually fed any of the affected products, we will remove it from their diet immediately and seek veterinary advice where necessary.

If you are worried, contact us anytime on 01727 821 372 or at info@thecatbutler.co.uk

Sandra James

Sandra James

Owner & Founder

The Cat Butler was set up by Sandra James in recognition of the fact that a stay in a cattery can be unsettling for many cats and also their owners.

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