What is Mycoplasma Haemofelis Screening?

Parasites come in all forms, shapes and sizes. There are the common offenders, like roundworms or fleas that carry and transmit tapeworm. Other parasites are more insidious, more difficult to detect and much more dangerous to your cat’s health.

Heartworm is now endemic to Orange County and every pet needs to be screened for it. It is transmitted by mosquitos and can affect any cat that enjoys outside access.

A much less known yet more dangerous parasite, Mycoplasma haemofelis, attacks the red cells in the blood and is also endemic to California. It is believed to be transmitted by fleas. Thus any cat that has ever come in contact with fleas or is allowed to go outside, where the risk of flea exposure is great, must be regularly screened and treated if necessary.

Mycoplasma haemofelis is routinely overlooked and untreated by other veterinarians. It is rarely discussed and most owners are unaware the great risks it poses. If allowed to persist, Mycoplasma haemofelis infection can ravage a cat’s immune system, lead to inflammatory GI disease and contribute to major organ failure later in life, thus significantly shortening life expectancy. Any cat that has ever been bitten by a flea must be screened. It is our experience that 80-90% of those cats have a significant level of the parasite in their blood. Luckily, the infection is easily treated and can be eradicated with proper therapy and repeated testing. Stringent flea prevention is key to preventing Mycoplasma haemofelis recurrence.

We also screen every kitten for Mycoplasma haemofelis, as it can impair proper development and wreak significant havoc on a kitten’s immune system, allowing other infections to develop and thrive. If undetected and allowed to persist for years, it will lead to major organ failure later in life and may result in Chronic Kidney Disease and Liver Lipidosis as well as IBD, the precursor to Intestinal Lymphoma.

Do not let your VIP Cat be a victim of this silent killer. Schedule a visit at VIP Animal Hospital today to test for and eradicate this dangerous parasite from your cat’s life for good.

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