Cookies on VetMed Resource

Like most websites we use cookies. This is to ensure that we give you the best experience possible.


Continuing to use  means you agree to our use of cookies. If you would like to, you can learn more about the cookies we use.

Sign up to start receiving our Veterinary & Animal Sciences e-newsletter, book alerts and offers direct to your inbox.

News Article

RVC studies provide insight into the 2021 outbreak of feline pancytopenia in the UK

Researchers hope their findings will make a future pancytopenia outbreak less likely

Two new studies from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, describe findings from investigations into an outbreak of pancytopenia that killed more than 300 cats in the UK in 2021.

The findings propose a link with high concentrations of trichothecene T-2/HT-2 mycotoxins in many of the tested food samples from recalled batches of cat food – amounts much greater than that recommended by the European Commission. If an outbreak of pancytopenia were to occur in the future, the researchers recommend rapid investigation of feed.

The first study describes 580 cats recorded by the RVC’s database during the initial outbreak, the epidemiology of the cases and the link with mycotoxin exposure. The cats presented with severe reductions in vital blood cells, including white blood cells and platelets. Case fatality rate was 63.3%. The research recounts how analysis of these cats’ data – provided both by pet owners and vets - revealed three diets that had been consumed by the majority of affected cats and how this subsequently led to a UK wide recall in June 2021.

Examining the subsequent analysis of the feed samples and the discovery of mycotoxin contamination, which is known to be toxic to bone marrow, and thereby negatively impacting the production of key blood cells, the study concludes that mycotoxin contamination should be considered as the cause of the outbreak.

The second study examines 50 cats identified as having pancytopenia in more depth, providing a detailed picture of clinical findings to better understand the disease process in these cats affected by the outbreak. Records and data were assessed to identify additional clinical signs which indicated contact with mycotoxins. Following examination of the cats’ bone marrow, it was found that all cats suffered a marked toxic insult to their bone marrow. From this, the study concluded that a differential diagnosis of mycotoxin-induced pancytopenia should be considered in cats presenting with pancytopenia.


Glanemann, B., Humm, K., Pegram, C., Chan, D. L., 2023. An investigation into an outbreak of pancytopenia in cats in the United Kingdom. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, advance online publication, doi: 10.1111/jvim.16615

Glanemann, B., Humm, K., Abreu, M., Aspinall, S., Buckeridge, D., Carveth, H., Darcy, H., Florey, J., Frowde, P., Gajanayake, I., Green, K., Holmes, E., Hrovat, A., Jasensky, A. K., Jones, B. A., Lantzaki, V., Lo, E. J., MacDonald, K., O'Brien, K., Suárez-Bonnet, A., Van den Steen, N., Szladovits, B., Willems, A., Wilson, H., 2023. Clinical and clinicopathological features and outcomes of cats with suspected dietary induced pancytopenia. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, advance online publication, doi: 10.1111/jvim.16613

Article details

  • Date
  • 17 January 2023
  • Source
  • Royal Veterinary College
  • Subject(s)
  • Dogs, Cats, and other Companion Animals