Southern Cross Veterinary Clinic in Port Elizabeth

Biliary is diagnosed by examining a stained blood smear and finding the biliary parasite present in the red blood cells.

What should I look out for?

The net effect is that your cat becomes anaemic and eventually jaundiced. Typically a cat with biliary will:

be lethargic;
be inappetant;
have pale or yellow gums (depending on how advanced the disease is).

What treatment is available?

At the moment, no treatment profile is known to eliminate this blood parasite. We use drugs that suppress the infection and, together with supportive treatment, rely on the catís immune system to overcome the infection. If your cat does not need to be hospitalised, the first check up will be in 3 days. At this check up we repeat the blood smear and give more tablets. Depending on the blood smear, the next check up will be in 3 or 7 days. It is very important to attend all the check ups so that your cat fully recovers and does not relapse.

Please remember that the biliary parasite destroys red blood cells. These cells are replaced by the bone marrow over a period of about 2-3 weeks. An adequate diet is essential during this recovery period and we will advise you on the best available diets.

What should I do to try and prevent my cat from contracting biliary?

The exact cause of feline biliary is not known for certain, but we recommend the use of tick control on a monthly basis. We have a range of suitable over the counter products available.

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