Anemia in dogs is usually a symptom of a serious underlying health issue that requires urgent veterinary care. Here our Plains vets explain the different types of anemia we see in dogs and how to prevent this condition.
Why Anemia Occurs in Dogs
Anemia can occur in your pup either if their body isn't able to produce enough red blood cells or hemoglobin or if they suffer a severe blood loss due to trauma or conditions like cancer or ulcers.
If your dog has anemia, it is often a good indicator that they are suffering from another underlying disease or condition which requires immediate veterinary attention.
Types of Regenerative Anemia in Dogs
If your dog is suffering form regenerative anemia, it means that their bone marrow is producing red blood cells, but for any number of reasons, isn't able to meet the needs of your pup's body. This can be caused by blood loss or by destruction of red blood cells after they are produced.
Blood Loss Anemia
- Blood loss anemia is a variety of regenerative anemia in dogs which can result in sever blood loss caused by a bleeding disorder, injury, accident, or surgery. Internal bleeding is also capable of leading to blood loss anemia. It can be caused by parasites, ulcers, cancer or other serious health issues.
Immune-Mediated & Hemolytic Anemia in Dogs
- Hemolytic anemia (which can be immune-mediated anemia) describes a condition where red blood cells are being destroyed or broken down in your dog's body. This kind of anemia often is caused by hereditary diseases. The non-immune mediated form of the condition caused by toxins, parasites, low phosphorus levels or hereditary disease.
Aplastic or Non-Regenerative Anemia in Dogs
- Non-regenerative, AID (Anemia of Inflammatory Disease), or Aplastic anemia describes conditions where your dog doesn't produce a normal amount of red blood cells in their body. Conditions which can commonly cause non-regenerative anemia can include kidney disease, exposure to toxins, parvovirus, chemotherapy drugs and other kinds of medications.
Methemoglobinemia in Dogs
- Methemoglobinemia is caused by genetic disorders which lead to an overproduction of methemoglobin in your dog's blood. Methemoglobinemia can also result from exposure to toxins, including human medications, such as benzocaine, acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
The only way to prevent anemia in your dog is by working to prevent the condition which can cause it. Make sure you keep substances which are toxic to dogs out of their reach (like human medications or food). And make sure that you give your pup a healthy diet and lots of exercise all year long.
Protecting your dog against worms, fleas and ticks with year-round parasite prevention medications, can also help to prevent your dog from developing anemia.
If you’ve got a breed of dog that faces a higher than average risk of developing anemia (Shih Tzus, Labrador Retrievers, American Cocker Spaniels, and Miniature Schnauzers), bring your dog in to your vet for a routine checkup every six months or so to monitor them for early signs of anemia.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.