Further to the recent BSAVA news article on the unexplained spike in cases of pancytopenia in cats, current investigations are focusing on a potential link between specific cat food products and the condition. As a result, the Food Standards Agency (FSA), Food Standards Scotland and Defra are advising cat owners not to feed their cats specific cat food products.
Whilst there is no definitive evidence to confirm a link at this stage, based on investigations so far, the manufacturer and brand owners affected are taking precautionary action by recalling and withdrawing cat food products that may be linked to affected cats. Related information from FSA is available here and from the manufacturer is available here.
Vets in small animal practice will likely be aware that the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has been actively involved in investigating the rise in cases and are providing updates, the latest of which is available here. To date, RVC are aware of 130 cases of affected cats and have information relating to the diet in approximately 80 per cent of cases reported. BSAVA is supporting RVC by encouraging small animal practitioners to complete their survey in providing case information. The survey is available here. Alternatively, vets can contact Karen Humm at email@example.com and Barbara Glanemann at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
In addition, RVC have been collaborating with a network of veterinary referral hospitals and vet schools from across the UK so should veterinary practices need to refer a patient, it is likely that the centre normally used to refer cases to for further investigation and treatment will be aware.
Vets in practice are being asked to make cat owners aware of the advice regarding products that potentially may be linked to their pet’s illness and that they take action as advised by the FSA, retailers and manufacturers.
Where a change in diet is required for a cat, vets in practice will be best placed to advise owners as to suitable alternatives depending on individual circumstances.
Advice from government departments is available here.
The Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) has also issued information which is available here.
BSAVA and RVC will continue to share updates as further information becomes available.
The previous BSAVA news article is available here.