Can Fleas cause low platelet and white blood cell count?
I am new to this site and writing because I am facing the decision that is SO tough for pet owners. My cat is 16 years old and has been very lethargic for a week now. (She is an indoor cat and has only been sick one time in her life, so she has had a very good life) I took her to the vet and after doing blood tests and detecting a heart murmer, we found that her kidneys and liver are working perfectly but that her platelet and white blood count were very low - her temp was low also. (He was also amazed at how healthy she appeared - teeth, etc. and couldn't believe that she was 16.)
I have had a bad infestation of fleas, she is a long haired manx, with two coats of fur, so getting rid of fleas is very hard! Mellie, my cat, is now taking Doxycycline to kill the nastiness that the fleas gave her, Benazepril for her heart and kidneys, and a vitamin that is loaded with iron. She does have a melanoma-like growth on her side, which I am pretty sure is cancerous because of the shape, black color and odd texture. The vet won't remove it yet because he wants her blood to get back to normal and told me that in older cats, cancer grows slower. So we will deal with it later. For the fleas, we gave her a Capstar and a Program shot that is supposed to last up to 6 months, and I am bombing my apartment for fleas this weekend.
She has now been on the Doxycycline 2x day, Benazepril 1x day and the liquid vitamin 2x day for almost two days but has shown little sign of improvement. She is eating - I am giving her 2 tablespoons of canned food (normally only a treat!) and adding a lot of water to the 'gravy' for her to stay hydrated, and she has been eating most of it, but drinks 2nds of the gravy, which is great. I have been feeding her three times a day and I think that she has eaten some dry food when I am at work, but not today. She hasn't used the litterbox today either.
I called the vet today because there is no improvement, and they said that it may take 24-48 hours for the meds to take effect, but am not really very optimistic.
I don't want her to suffer and will do what I have to do when the time comes, but at the same time, want to make sure that she has all the opportunities to get better. She is 16 years old, and the vet assured me that she is treatable and will live, but again, I'm just not seeing any improvement. Has anyone experienced any similar symptoms in their cat? Can fleas really cause a cat to get so sick and lethargic, and make their platelet and white blood cell count get really low? Normally I would just say that I am over reacting, but I know my girl and I know that she just does not feel good! I just wish they could talk and tell us where it hurts! It would be so much easier!