With anemia, the level of hemoglobin, which is needed to supply cells and tissues with oxygen, decreases, and the number of red blood cells decreases as a result of abundant loss or destruction of red blood cells in the body by the disease.
Causes of anemia in dogs.
There are many causes of anemia, but one of the most common is blood loss from severe trauma.
Anemia in dogs occurs with infectious and other serious diseases. For example, piroplasmosis, hypatosis, cancer, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, bladder and spleen, diseases that prevent normal blood clotting.
Autoimmune hemolytic anemia is hereditary, and develops with a lack of the enzyme pyruvate kinase (more common in Basenji, beagles) or a lack of the enzyme phosphorus-ructokinase. Hereditary anemia is rare. The second form of this type of anemia is when the body’s immune system attacks its own red blood cells, destroying them.
When poisoning with chemicals, drugs, some dogs develop anemia. There are times when an animal has anemia when treated with drugs that interfere with the production of red blood cells.
The reason may be lack of hematopoiesis, lack of vitamin B12, copper, iron, folic acid. It can be congenital or acquired. Iron deficiency is rare in dogs and is often a secondary symptom of anemia as a result of profuse blood loss.
Large numbers of worms, fleas or ticks can cause anemia in puppies and small dogs.
With a mild form of anemia, it is false to notice the symptoms of the disease, and often a blood test is required to identify the percentage of red blood cells and confirm the diagnosis. Anemia develops against the background of another disease, therefore, even in the presence of symptoms, it is difficult to determine an independent true cause.
Due to the low level of hemoglobin, oxygen starvation of cells occurs, as a result of which symptoms of anemia such as lethargy and decreased activity appear.
The primary sign of anemia is the pallor of the oral mucosa, in particular the gums, which become pale pink or almost white in color. Pale gums and lethargy are a significant reason for a blood test. Other symptoms of anemia are rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, decreased appetite, and with hemolytic anemia, jaundice appears.
Treating anemia in dogs
The diagnosis is made based on the results of blood and bone marrow tests. The method of treatment depends on the cause of the anemia.
The introduction of hemostatic agents and blood transfusion is carried out with severe external or internal bleeding.
If the cause of anemia is poisoning, then the animals are injected with glucocorticoids and detoxifying agents, multivitamins, corticosteroids, depending on the cause of the poisoning.
Replenishing the lack of vitamins, restoring the balance of nutrients is carried out by introducing vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron substance. The diet of the animal is fed with foods high in iron, vitamin BI, such as raw beef liver, spleen. You can mix up to two teaspoons of finely chopped barley or wheat into food. The chlorophyll in these plants helps in the production of blood cells.
Autoimmune anemia in dogs is treated with drugs that suppress the activity of the immune system. But treatment is not always effective due to frequent relapses that lead to the death of the animal.
Hemoglobin can be increased, but it is not always possible to cure anemia, it all depends on the cause of the anemia. So, for example, eliminating fleas and worms and providing proper nutrition can restore the dog’s health, but if the cause is intractable infectious diseases, then the chances of recovery are reduced.
There are no universal preventive measures, because the causes of anemia are different and it is impossible to protect a pet from all the dangers. But you can reduce the risk of developing anemia if you provide the animal with proper care, including proper feeding, regular check-ups, visits to the veterinarian, vaccinations, and thereby protect it from the development of diseases that contribute to anemia.
When treating diseases, it is important to do a blood test in order to identify a negative reaction of the body to the injected drugs, and in case of blood loss, a well-designed treatment plan is important.