Anemia in dogs - Causes, symptoms and treatment

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¿Has the vet diagnosed your dog with anemia? You should know that they exist three different types of anemia that affect dogs: hemorrhagic anemia, hemolytic anemia and aplastic anemia. All three usually have an effective treatment if they are detected and treated in time, so it will be important to go to the specialist as soon as possible..

In this AnimalWised article you will find information related to each of these diseases, we will explain what are the symptoms that can help you detect it and how it is treated. In addition, we will give you some tricks so that you know how to care for and feed your dog with anemia for a better iron supply. Read on and discover everything you need to know about Anemia in Dogs, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment.

You may also be interested in: Anemia in Cats - Symptoms and Treatment Index
  1. What is canine anemia?
  2. Types of anemia in dogs and their causes
  3. Symptoms of anemia in dogs
  4. Diagnosis of anemia in dogs
  5. Canine anemia treatment
  6. Prevention of anemia in dogs

What is canine anemia?

In the dog's blood there are different cells such as white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. We also find minerals, protein nutrients ... These elements are found in a certain proportion and an excess or lack of them can be a symptom of a disease.

The Red blood cells They are responsible for transporting oxygen to the different tissues of the body. A normal proportion is between 39 and 60%. Values ​​below 39% is a clear deficiency that indicates the presence of anemia in the dog. It is a serious health problem since it results in a direct lack of oxygen in the different organs and tissues of the body.

Types of anemia in dogs and their causes

There are four types of anemia directly related to the different causes that cause it. Below we will detail in a general way what these types are and why they occur:

Hemorrhagic anemia

This anemia is directly related to blood loss And there are different reasons why it can develop: wounds, external parasites or ulcers. When the dog loses blood, it is weak and unstable. Blood in the urine or blood in the dog's stool is one of the symptoms that can help detect hemorrhagic anemia if it occurs internally.

Hemolytic anemia

This type of anemia is related to the dog's immune system which modifies the natural cycle of red blood cells destroying them and preventing them from reproducing to reach the proper proportion in the blood. It can also be the consequence of internal parasites and inherited diseases. It can promote the appearance of jaundice. There are two types of hemolytic anemia:

  • Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia: It is usually the most common anemia and the destruction of red blood cells is forced by the appearance of antibodies that directly attack these cells.
  • Hemolytic anemia congenital: In this case the destruction of red blood cells is caused by hereditary causes common in cocker spaniel or English springer spaniel.

Aplastic anemia

In this case the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow it is not enough to compensate for the natural loss of these cells. It can be caused by tumors, toxins, infections (parvovirus and ehrlichia), radiation, and chronic kidney failure.

Symptoms of anemia in dogs

Symptoms of anemia in dogs may vary depending on the type of anemia that the animal suffers or how long it has been latent inside. These symptoms, apart from helping in the diagnosis of anemia in dogs, can also be symptoms of other diseases. The most common are:

  • Pale gums and mucous membranes
  • Soft spot
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Blood in the stool
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Tachycardia
  • Fainting
  • Tachycardia
  • Difficulty breathing

Diagnosis of anemia in dogs

In addition to symptoms and a general physical examination, the diagnosis using a blood count (blood test) is essential to make sure that it is really anemia. You may also have a urine or stool test for this purpose..

However, this diagnosis does not indicate exactly the causes that have caused it, so extra tests will have to be done if it is not determined exactly what causes it through these two analyzes. Some of the tests to be carried out may be:

  • Bone marrow scraping
  • Bone marrow biopsy
  • Abdominocentesis
  • Bone scan
  • Ultrasound
  • Endoscopy
  • Specific analysis for different parasites
  • Analysis for toxins

Depending on the result, one treatment or another will be applied. Do not forget that the veterinarian is the only person trained to diagnose this disease, for that reason you should never treat a dog without a diagnosis made by a professional.

Canine anemia treatment

The treatment will depend on each specific case and will be recommended depending on the causes of anemia. It is the veterinarian who must decide the appropriate treatment for each dog, but some common treatments for canine anemia include:

  • Blood transfusions
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Administration of immunosuppressants
  • Iron supplementation
  • Gastrointestinal protectors
  • Use of antibiotics
  • Use of antiparasitics

The prognosis is also highly variable and it depends on each case. Dogs with mild anemia and easy to eliminate causes have a very good prognosis. In contrast, dogs that have anemia caused by tumors, cancer or other serious problems, have a more reserved prognosis.

Prevention of anemia in dogs

The different causes that cause anemia in dogs make impossible to propose a single prevention system. However, and with the exception of cases of anemia associated with genetic causes, we can assure that a good feeding, quality care and a regular vet check can help us avoid some causes that cause this disease. In addition, an early detection of anemia can make treatment more effective..

This article is merely informative, at we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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