Anemia In Dogs
What is Anemia in Dogs?
Anemia is not a disease but a condition that is often a symptom of a disease. Anemia in dogs refers to a reduced number of red blood cells or hemoglobin (the protein inside the red blood cells) or both circulating in your dog’s bloodstream.
The red blood cells and hemoglobin responsibility is to bring oxygen from the lungs to the other parts of the body. The red blood cells are also responsible for removing carbon dioxide from your dog’s body.
In your dog’s bone marrow these cells are made, they circulate for about three months before they break down and need to be replaced. The bone marrow recycles some parts of hemoglobin molecules to create new blood cells, while the liver filters the rest and this process will repeats.
Types of Canine Anemia
The irregularities in this process of creating new blood cells are the result of different types of anemia
- Hemolytic anemia -it is caused by the destruction or shortened lifespan of red blood cells.
- Aplastic or non-regenerative anemia – means there’s insufficient production of red blood cells.
- Severe bleeding – bleeding causes you to lose red blood cells more quickly than they can be replaced.
- Methemoglobinemia – it happens when there’s too much methemoglobin (inadequate oxygenation of bodily tissues ensues) in the blood.
Some severe forms of the disease can present life-threatening symptoms to anemic dogs, while many mild cases can be managed or reversed with proper veterinary care.
Causes of Anemia in Dogs
There are a lot of diseases and conditions that can cause anemia in dogs, and some are the following:
- Kidney disease
- Canine distemper
- Tick-borne diseases
- Bone marrow disease
- Trauma-related blood loss, like cuts, bites from the fights, and a car accident that causes internal or external bleeding
- Immune-mediated disease (it cause the dog’s immune system to attack the red blood cells)
- Cushing’s disease also known as hyperadrenocorticism
- Poor nutrition or nutritional imbalances
- Internal gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, resulting from disease, inflammation, or medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Exposure to medications that interfere with red blood cell production
Symptoms Of Anemia In Dogs
The anemia might be one of many symptoms of an underlying condition. The anemic dogs may show symptoms from mild to severe depending on the type of anemia that a dog suffers from, in some cases dogs may present no signs. It is very important to keep up with your regular veterinary exams to address the problem if there is as soon as possible.
Below are some symptoms of anemia in dogs to watch for, make sure to seek veterinary help if your dog shows any of them:
- Change in color to your dog’s gums (pale pink or even whitish gums)
- Paleness in the eyes or ears
- Fatigue, weakness, or depression
- Lack of appetite
- Black/dark stools
- Ingesting dirt
- Weight loss
- Fast pulse
- Swelling in the face or jaw
- Rapid breathing
- Discoloration of the skin or mucous membranes (this could be a sign of severe platelet loss or destruction or even rat poisoning)
The following some ways in preventing anemia in dogs.
- Avoid feeding human foods like an onion to your dogs
- Flea and tick medication
- Avoid exposure to toxic substances
- Keep up with parasite prevention medication
- Keep an eye to your dog especially when you are outdoor to prevent major injuries like car accidents.
Treating the anemia in dogs will depend on the type and cause of it.
The very first thing your veterinarian will do is to run tests and, after that, form a diagnosis.
The tests will likely include a red blood cell count, tests for parasites, evaluations of the liver, kidney, and pancreatic functions, electrolyte tests to check for dehydration, a urinalysis to check for urinary tract infections, and further tests to rule out certain causes.
If the anemia itself is severe it might require a blood transfusion before making a plan in treating the underlying disease or condition. Depending on the type of anemia your dog suffers from, your vet may consider intravenous fluids, bone marrow transfusion, antibiotics if the cause is a bacterial infection, immunosuppressive drugs in the case of Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia or Autoimmune hemolytic anemia, gastrointestinal medication, parasite or de-worming medications, potassium phosphate supplements, or changing medications that may cause anemia.
Treat anemia as a serious symptom and contact your veterinarian immediately for further instructions.
Did your dog suffered from anemia? What did you do? How did you treat it? Comment down and let us know to give other fur parents like you an idea on how to deal with anemia in dogs.