Anemia in Dogs

Tired dog laying on couch

Do You Know If Your Dog Is Showing Symptoms of Anemia?

Is your normally energetic dog suddenly listless, weak, and uninterested in food? Anemia may be to blame for these troubling symptoms.

What is Anemia?

Anemia occurs due to a decrease in the number of red blood cells in your dog's blood. The cells are produced in the bone marrow, along with platelets and white blood cells.

Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein that delivers oxygen from the lungs to the entire body and returns carbon dioxide back to the lungs for removal. Your pet's cells and tissues won't receive enough oxygen if its red blood cell or hemoglobin level is too low.

What Are The Symptoms of Anemia?

These symptoms can occur if your dog has anemia:

  • Pale Gums, Ears, or Eyes
  • Jaundice (Yellow Eyes and Mucous Membranes)
  • Lack of Energy and Stamina
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Fast Heart Rate or Pulse
  • Bloody Vomit, Stool, or Urine

What Causes Anemia?

Anemia can occur due to insufficient production of red blood cells, bleeding, deficiencies that lead to the premature destruction of the cells, blood cell damage, or a decrease in the nutrients needed to produce red blood cells. Common causes of anemia include:

  • Blood Loss. An injury isn't the only cause of blood loss. Internal bleeding may sometimes occur after surgery or might happen if your pet has parasites, ulcers, or stomach tumors. A blood-clotting disorder could also be the source of the anemia. As a result of the condition or injury, your pet experiences a loss of red blood cells.
  • Kidney Disease. Anemia may be a result of kidney disease or failure in some cases. Your pet's kidneys produce a hormone that triggers the production of new red blood cells. If your dog has kidney disease, a decrease in the production of the hormone may lead to anemia.
  • Inherited Enzyme Deficiencies. Your pet's red blood cells may have a shorter lifespan than normal due to one of several inherited enzyme deficiencies. English Springer Spaniels, West Highland Terriers, Beagles, Cairn Terriers, and Basenjis are more likely to develop the deficiency, according to the Merck Manual.
  • Toxins. Exposure to chemicals or toxic drugs or plants can destroy red blood cells. Over-the-counter medications that are safe for humans, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen, may cause anemia in pets. Prescription medications, onions, garlic, and pesticides can also affect your dog's red blood cell count.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies. Your dog may develop anemia if its diet doesn't contain enough iron, vitamin E, copper, riboflavin, vitamins B12 and B6, or niacin.
  • Infections and Diseases: Dogs that have cancer, autoimmune diseases, hypothyroidism, Cushing's disease, bacterial infections, and other diseases, infections, or conditions may be at increased risk of becoming anemic.

How Do Veterinarians Diagnose and Treat Anemia?

If your pet's vet suspects that your dog has anemia, he or she may order a variety of tests that can confirm the diagnosis and identify the underlying cause. In addition to blood tests, other tests that can be helpful include urine tests, ultrasound scans, X-rays, bone marrow biopsies, and fecal tests to determine if your pet has parasites.

Treatment of anemia depends on the cause. Successfully treating fleas, hookworm, and other parasitic infections can cause your pet's red blood cell to increase, while drugs that suppress the immune system may be helpful if your dog has an immune system condition. In some cases, iron supplements may offer relief of anemia symptoms. If your dog has severe anemia, blood transfusions may be needed.

Prompt veterinary treatment can help your dog recover from anemia. If your pet has been displaying any of the symptoms mentioned above, contact our office to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Sources:

American Kennel Club: Anemia in Dogs, 8/21/17

Merck Manual: Anemia in Dogs, 12/17

Dogtime: Anemia in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

8:00 am-7:30 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-7:30 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-7:30 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am-7:30 pm

Friday:

8:00 am-7:30 pm

Saturday:

8:30 am-1:30 pm

Sunday:

9:00 am-1:00 pm

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Absolutely incredible service and the best veterinary experience we have ever had. Every time we visit Progressive Vet Care, we are blown away by the attentiveness, professionalism and care shown by Dr Tim and the team. Dr Tim is highly capable and we feel very confident that our dog is in his care. Dr Tim always has time and goes above and beyond in answering our questions and providing a great service. I highly recommend Progressive Vet Care. I seriously cannot think of a single improvement to this practice as everything is already so well done."
    Shavini
  • "Fantastic friendly and professional service at this practice -so glad we have found this vet!"
    Adriana
  • "Tim and the team run an amazing vet practice at Progressive Vet Care. Gus the pug nearly died when he ate a keyring last year but Tim saves his life, quite literally. We are blessed to have such a great vet around the corner and their renovated practice is beautiful."
    Pip
  • "I highly recommend Progressive Vet Care. I used to take my dog to a different vet clinic for 10 years but when my dog got very sick, I just didn’t feel right and looked for a different clinic. Thank god I found Progressive Vet Care. Dr Tim was spot on with diagnosis and he & his team did everything they could for Leo. It was a very sad experience for our family to say good bye to Leo but I was so grateful to Dr Tim for his professionalism, loving care and compassion towards both Leo and our family. I wish I knew Dr Tim 10 years ago and took Leo to this fantastic clinic from the first place."
    Shinko
  • "Our first experience with Progressive Vet Care and extremely happy. Our dog needed emergency surgery which is always stressful to hear. Dr Tim was very supportive and gave us options to consider. He saw us on short notice on a Friday night and managed to fit our dog in Saturday morning for the surgery. Highly recommend !"
    Kerrie
  • "I brought my puppy here for his first visit and the staff were so helpful and attentive. A welcoming and happy environment, glad I chose this place!
    (And thanks for the help over the phone when I had concerns about my puppy, the girls at reception are so lovely!)"
    Stefani
  • "We were so grateful to Dr Tim (Bowden) and the team at Progressive Vet Care for their care and treatment of our very special Jack Russell x in the last few weeks of her life. I discovered the practice through looking for a vet that was open on a Sunday. They also have an emergency number to talk through concerns after hours. Dr. Tim was so thorough and patient in explaining all the options. We had the best, most compassionate care I could have wished for."
    Roz
  • "If i could give 10 stars i would. Dr Tim is a miracle worker he has fixed up my little Lolly and is always super attentive and thorough. Could not recommend this place any more.
    Love it!"
    Andy
  • "Exceptional service and trust. I recommend this vet clinic to any friends who welcome a new pet into their home. They work closely with rescue groups, the vets are very knowledgeable and the team who coordinate the reception are wonderfully friendly and easy to deal with. Won't be taking my doggo anywhere else!"
    Tassie
  • ""I adopted my cat from progressive vet care, he is the most beautiful loving boy, not only did they take amazing care of him as a new born kitten, they provided wonderful health care to him and have continued with such great care of him with each of our visit, such a wonderful team""
    Katrina
  • "The experience we had with Progressive Vet Care was outstanding. Both Dr Tim and the other staff members were efficient and helpful. Also very compassionate towards our dog Millie when she was desexed and afterward care. Soon we will need to take her for her vaccinations. There is definitely no other place I will take my Millie. Well done guys and many thanks."
    Maryanne
  • "We were very happy with Progressive Vet Care. Dr Tim was very thorough and even called up four days later to check on the progress of our whippet after his treatment and advise. I am going to bring all my animals to this vet clinic in future."
    Jessica