Marlin is an 8 year old male cat owned by Drs Rob and Elaine. Marlin and his 2 brothers were found discarded in a garbage bag at 5 days of age. He and his brothers were hand raised and have become healthy, pampered, indoor cats. Recently, Marlin stopped eating and become very lethargic. Symptoms developed quickly and it was discovered that Marlin had severe anemia. A blood transfusion from his brother helped buy time to find the underlying cause of his anemia. While initial testing revealed infection with Feline Leukemia virus, this diagnosis seemed unlikely given his indoor status and the fact that he had received regular vaccines for this virus. Marlin was started on treatments for autoimmune hemolytic anema as well as for hemobartonella, a blood parasite. Once his anemia improved, he was taken to Washington State University for an ultrasound to look for cancer (no evidence). Final test result are pending but we suspect Marlin has autoimmune hemolytic anemia. His illness reminds us of the importance of looking at the “big picture” when making a diagnosis and also that “even veterinarians pets get sick sometimes!
SPECIAL THANKS to Dr. Leanne who helped save Marlin when we were away.