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Advice to cat owners following rise in cases of feline pancytopenia

The FSA is issuing advice to cat owners following a rise in cases of feline pancytopenia that can cause serious illness in cats

The Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland and Defra are advising cat owners not to feed their cats specific cat food products. 

Since April 2021 there have been over 130 cases of feline pancytopenia, an illness that can often be fatal in cats.

Pancytopenia is a very rare condition where the number of blood cells (red, white and platelets) rapidly decrease, causing serious illness. 

This current outbreak of pancytopenia is potentially linked to specific cat food products. As a result of this, a product recall has been issued which details the affected products.

A government spokesperson said: 

‘Working with the Royal Veterinary College, the Animal Plant and Health Agency and other government departments across all four nations of the UK, local authorities and the pet food supply chain, we are investigating a possible link between specific cat food products and feline pancytopenia. There is no definitive evidence to confirm a link at this stage. 

‘No unsafe cat food has been identified but the manufacturer and brand owners affected, based on investigations so far, are taking the precautionary action of recalling and withdrawing cat food products that have been linked to affected cats.

‘There is no evidence to suggest this outbreak of feline pancytopenia presents any risk to human health.’ 

Advice to cat owners

Pancytopenia is a serious, but usually very rare disease. If your cat is unwell and has been fed any of the cat food listed in the product recall, you should seek immediate advice from your vet. 

If your cat’s usual food is a product affected by the recall, use an alternative cat food brand. 

If your cat was being fed a product affected by the recall for a medical reason, discuss with your vet what alternative food would be best to switch to. This will help to avoid your cat becoming ill as a result of ceasing to feed the listed food. 

Advice for vets

The Royal Veterinary College has put out a call for information to gather further information on any identified cases and the possible cause of this illness in cats. 

Find out more details of the recall and all affected products in the product recall