Anemia in Dogs

An important note for dog owners

This condition is brought on by the loss or destruction of a large amount of red cell, which can take place in the case of internal or external bleeding triggered by injury or a drug response, or a disease such as an immune-mediated condition or cancer. Signs of anemia consist of tiredness, workout intolerance (trouble exercising), decreased cravings, and pale gums, though dogs with moderate cases might not have any signs at all. A severe anemic might need a transfusion, and in all cases the underlying reason for the problem need to be treated.

Anemia in Dogs


If your dog has anemia don’t panic. Though severe anemia is harmful and requires instant veterinary attention, mild cases can be much easier to reverse or handle.

Anemia develops when the number of red cell in the bloodstream is decreased. Given that they’re responsible for the transport and delivery of oxygen throughout the body, a deficiency in red blood cells can be possibly catastrophic to the whole system.

There are many causes and types of anemia, varying from simple blood loss or the destruction of red cell within the body as part of a particular disease process to the failure of the body to produce enough red blood cells. Treatment varies based on the underlying cause.

Signs and Identification

Because red blood cells carry oxygen, which is essential for all basic bodily functions, the most typical signs of anemia are lethargy and workout intolerance. Reduced cravings and pale mucous membranes (the gums, for instance) are normal too. Mild anemia may not appear except through blood testing.

Recognizing anemia definitively is done in the laboratory. The majority of veterinarians can perform a quick blood test called a jam-packed cell volume (PCV) in the hospital. The PCV shows the percentage of red cell in the blood stream. If a dog’s PCV is lower than the normal range, anemia is detected.

Other blood tests can use more comprehensive details concerning the anemia, such as whether the body is losing vs. damaging red blood cells and if it’s producing new red blood cells to replace them. Among these, the CBC (complete blood cell count) is the most common and vital. It examines the individual elements of the blood, a basic initial step in the examination of any anemia.

In dogs, the most typical anemia-inciting procedures include:

  • Blood loss originating from a severe injury that causes bleeding externally or internally
  • Immune-mediated disease (a condition in which the body’s immune system assaults its own red cell)
  • Bleeding into the intestinal tract as a result of disease or severe swelling.
  • Intestinal bleeding as a reaction to specific medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Infectious illness, including particular diseases that are spread out by ticks.
  • Blood loss from severe flea problems (particularly in very lap dogs and pups)
  • Direct exposure to toxins such as lead or rat toxin.
  • Cancer (might result in bleeding into the intestinal tract or bleeding from a tumor)
  • Sometimes, anemia is triggered by a lack of red cell production as an outcome of chronic illness (such as certain types of cancer or kidney disease) or direct exposure to specific medications that may interfere with red cell production.

Diagnosis of these can be accomplished with a battery of tests, consisting of blood screening (such as a biochemistry panel), urinalysis, specific screening for tick-borne diseases, bacterial or viral infections and parasites, and imaging strategies like X-rays, ultrasound, and sometimes more sophisticated screening (such as CT scanning and the surgical biopsy of specific tissues).

Affected Breeds

All types of dogs can establish anemia, though some might suffer unusual forms related to particular hereditary illness, such as hemophilia and other clotting conditions.


In cases of anemia resulting from either severe or chronic loss or destruction of a big quantity of red cell, a blood transfusion might be advised (or required) for survival.

As previously discussed, severe anemia results in a considerably lowered ability of the blood to provide oxygen throughout the body and, most importantly, to essential organs such as the brain. For that reason, a blood transfusion is required to assist provide oxygen and nutrients to major organs and other parts of the body. Occasionally, numerous transfusions are needed prior to the dog’s body can produce adequate red blood cells by itself.

Other treatments for anemia will ultimately have to be tailored to the underlying cause.


Specific causes of anemia might be preventable. For example, to lower the risk of contagious illness and car injury, proper containment or supervision of dogs when outside is thought about vital. Vaccination and parasite prevention are likewise advised.


D. Roberts (Junior Expert)/ author of the article

He is a specialist in the field of veterinary medicine, and pet care. Believes that the person responsible for each pet, which was taken into the house, and therefore should study his behavior, means of determining health status and methods of first aid.

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