Letters: Flea anemia: A left-out cause

Letters: Flea anemia: A left-out cause

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Feb 01, 2006
By dvm360.com staff

Flea anemia: A left-out cause

I just finished reading Dr. Joni L. Freshman's great articles about fading puppy and kitten syndrome in the November 2005 issue of Veterinary Medicine. Her articles were very informative but failed to mention the most prevalent cause of fading kitten syndrome that I see in my practice—flea anemia. I know of hundreds of kittens that fade and die of this condition in my practice area (southern Illinois). I doubt that Dr. Freshman has experienced this type of severe flea anemia, being that she is in Colorado.

John C. Fields, DVM
Fields Animal Hospital
513 E. Main St.
Mount Vernon, IL 62864

Dr. Freshman responds: I would like to thank Dr. Fields for his kind comments on the symposium and for reminding us all to be aware of external parasites. I interned at Auburn University and practiced in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for two years, so I have indeed seen my share of kittens and puppies with life-threatening flea (and tick) anemia. Since external parasitic infestations severe enough to cause clinical anemia are typically quite readily diagnosed on physical examination, I did not discuss them in this symposium. Nevertheless, a reminder to always look for external parasites is welcome.

Joni L. Freshman, DVM, MS, DACVIM
Canine Consultations
3060 Woodview Court
Colorado Springs, CO 80918