Cats in need of blood transfusions are often dealing with life-threatening health conditions. But at roughly $500 per treatment, not all cat parents may be able to afford this crucial procedure.1 Having to choose between your cat’s health and the vet bill is a situation no pet parent wants to be in. This is where pet insurance can help. Keep reading to learn more about cat blood transfusions and how pet insurance could help make pet care costs more affordable.
A blood transfusion in cats is a fairly simple procedure, but many steps are taken to make sure it’s safe and effective.2 First, the vet needs to determine your cat’s blood type to ensure a compatible donor blood type is used. Then, the donor blood is intravenously introduced into your cat to compensate for an existing blood deficiency. Your vet will likely use sedatives to keep your cat calm during the procedure.
The most common reason for blood deficiency is usually extreme blood loss caused by an injury. A blood transfusion may also be required if a disease or illness has caused your cat’s endogenous blood cells to become damaged or die.
Besides blood loss due to an acute injury, it may not be immediately apparent when your cat needs a blood transfusion. Only a vet can prescribe this procedure. However, learning to recognize the signs of blood loss can help you prepare for the possibility of a blood transfusion.
Cats with low red blood cell counts may be anemic. The cause of anemia can vary from feline leukemia to adverse drug reactions. Whatever the reason, here are some symptoms of anemia to look out for:
- Pale ears
- Pale gums
- Lack of appetite
- Excessive sleeping
- Rapid breathing
- Lack of grooming
- Increased heart rate
If you recognize any of these symptoms in your kitty, they may be suffering from anemia. It’s a good idea to call your vet right away, so your cat can be examined, diagnosed, and treated.
A successful cat blood transfusion usually results in immediate improvement of your cat’s health. Symptoms like irregular breathing and heartbeat may stabilize almost immediately. Also, once the sedatives involved in the transfusion wear off, most cats quickly regain their energy and appetite.1
The long-term success of blood transfusions depends on the underlying cause of the anemia. Conditions like feline leukemia or autoimmune diseases may have less dramatic results. Your cat might also require multiple transfusions to combat the anemic effects of their disease.1 Your vet can help you set your expectations based on your cat’s condition.
Ultimately, the cost of the procedure depends on multiple factors. The average cost of a cat blood transfusion, including blood type determination, sedation, and transfusion, is around $500.1 However, it could be higher if blood donations aren’t readily available. The amount of care your cat requires can also impact the final price. Senior cats may need more intensive treatment and a longer hospital stay, resulting in a higher bill. It could also become a recurring expense if your cat has a chronic condition or illness that requires multiple transfusions.
Taking care of a sick cat can be stressful, and money is the last thing any pet parent wants to worry about. With a cat insurance policy, you could see some or almost the entire cost of covered expenses reimbursed.3 MetLife Pet was able to help the parents of a 17-year-old cat named Benny when he was diagnosed with anemia. The exam alone racked up a bill of $300. But thanks to the insurance policy they opened when Benny was just a kitten, MetLife Pet reimbursed them for $260.4
No cat lover wants to think about their furry companion getting sick or injured. Being prepared with cat insurance can help. Find out how much you could save with a free quote for MetLife Pet Insurance.