Feline infectious anaemia is caused by feline haemotropic mycoplasmas, also known as haemoplasmas. Three distinct species of feline haemoplasmas are recognised: Mycoplasma haemofelis (Mhf), Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum (CMhm) and Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis (CMt). Mhf was formerly known as Haemobartonella felis, but is now classified as a mycoplasma. Mycoplasma haemofelis (Mhf), Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum (CMhm) and Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis (CMt) differ in their pathogenicity with Mhf causing the most severe regenerative haemolytic anaemia. Cats may have subclinical infection ranging to potentially fatal haemolytic anaemia. Common symptoms are intermittent fever, lack of appetite, depression, lethargy and anaemia. Symptoms can be more severe when associated with other conditions such as Feline Leukaemia Virus infection.
Indications for testing include unexplained anaemia, lethargy or depression and intermittent fever, pale mucous membranes, jaundice and splenomegaly. This test examines a blood smear for the presence of the parasite.
NOTE: false negatives are possible as the parasite may drop off the red cell surface post-sampling. The M. haemofelis PCR test is a sensitive alternative test for M. haemofelis infection.
Whole blood (0.5 mL min) and blood smear
EDTA tube and air-dried slide