Latest figures show that around 175 cats have now died from pancytopenia as researchers rush to contain the increase in cases.
The RVC has today (21 June) stated that it is now aware of 278 cats with the illness, with a mortality rate of 70.2%.
The update comes after researchers at the college, alongside the Food Standards Agency (FSA), were able to determine that the outbreak had possibly started at a Lincolnshire factory.
Fold Hill Foods, a pet food manufacturer based out of Boston, has voluntarily recalled three of its major hypoallergenic cat food brands after the RVC raised the alarm.
A spokesman for the RVC said: “We can confirm that we are aware of a series of cases of fatal pancytopenia in cats in the UK.
“After noticing an increase in cats presenting with pancytopenia in May, we have been gathering data from UK vets from these affected cats. Based on the evidence to date, the one aspect of these cases that formed a consistent pattern was the diet of the affected individuals.
“From the data shared, most cats show some non-specific signs for around two days before being seen by a vet. Common signs include lethargy and loss of appetite, although in some cases there are signs of spontaneous bleeding or bruising. We encourage owners to contact their veterinary practice if they are worried that their cat may be affected.”
The spokesman added: “Given this apparent association with diet, we welcome the FSA’s product recall notice.
“While we have not definitively established diet as the cause of pancytopenia in these cats, we are continuing to liaise with the pet food industry and regulatory bodies to investigate the matter, and identify the possible underlying causes of this extremely serious condition.
“To further support these efforts, we are encouraging vets who have seen these cases to complete our survey.”
Credit to: Pancytopenia outbreak kills 175 cats (Vet Times)
Vet Times. (2021). Pancytopenia outbreak kills 175 cats [online]