Anemia in dogs results in decreased energy levels, pale or yellowed gums, an increased heart rate, and an intolerance to exercise.
Anemia itself is not a primary disease, but the result of an underlying disease process.
Anemia is the result of lower than normal levels of red blood cells.
Hemoglobin in the red blood cells carry the oxygen vital to all parts of your body. A decrease in red blood cells means you work harder to get oxygen through your body, which can place a strain on your heart.
The extra demands placed on your body can cause excessive tiredness or fatigue.
The function of red blood cells is to carry oxygen to all the cells of the body. Red blood cells are also referred to as erythrocytes.
Consisting mostly of hemoglobin, erythrocytes is a complex molecule containing heme groups whose iron atoms temporarily link to oxygen molecules in the lungs and release them throughout the body.
Erythrocytes are crucial to all animals, and a severe decrease in their number causes the body cells to go through the trauma of oxygen deprivation. Owners of an anemic animal may notice that their companion's gums are pale or white in color instead of the normal pink or red.
Dogs and cats with anemia have an increased heart rate because the heart must work harder to provide oxygen to the starving body cells. Having deprived the body cells of oxygen, anemia makes animals feel very tired and sick while often showing signs of depression.
Some clinical signs of canine anemia include...
Other signs of anemia in dogs include...
Puppies and kittens can become anemic from blood-sucking pests such as fleas and intestinal parasites.
Parasites such as hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and coccidia can cause severe disease in immature puppies, sick or debilitated pets, or in pets with a suppressed immune system.
Younger pets often get acute disease (anemia, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration) whereas older pets get chronic disease such as intermittent diarrhea.
The disease also is caused by blood loss from trauma, feline leukemia virus, feline immunodeficiency virus, and cancer. Treatment involves correcting the underlying disease or problem, and giving a blood transfusion if needed.
Preventing anemia in dogs
Some diseases that cause dog anemia are possible to prevent. There are many new products that are easy to apply and very effective at repelling or killing off fleas and ticks.
Cats and dogs should not be given any drugs unless instructed to by a veterinarian. Tylenol can especially be fatal.
Treating anemia in dogs
Treatment varies according to the underlying cause of the anemia. With severe anemia, a blood transfusion is needed to replace the lost blood. In order to treat the underlying disease that is causing the anemia, intravenous fluids and certain
dog medications may also be necessary. Treatment of hemolytic anemia in dogs
Hemolytic anemia is a rare form of anemia in which red blood cells are destroyed and removed from the bloodstream before their usual lifespan is up.
Healthy red blood cells usually live about 120 days (4 months) in the bloodstream before the body removes them. In hemolytic anemia, the body breaks down and removes red blood cells faster than it can replace them.
Normally red blood cells live about 4 months in dogs. As the cells age, they are removed and destroyed by other cells that are part of the immune system. New red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow at a rate that matches the destruction of older cells.
In autoimmune hemolytic anemia, the immune system destroys red blood cells prematurely. Red blood cells are destroyed by the immune system faster than the rate at which new ones can be produced.
The inheritance of autoimmune hemolytic anemia is unknown, but the condition is more common in certain breeds.
The cocker spaniel, old English sheep dog, and poodle are breeds that have an increased susceptibility to this disorder, although autoimmune hemolytic anemia occurs in all breeds. Also, it is more common in females than males.
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