Anemia in a dog. What is it manifested and how to treat it?

Anemia in a dog. What is it manifested and how to treat it?

Anemia is a problem most often faced by adult women, the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases. Can dogs also get anemia? And does dog anemia have the same symptoms as humans?

What is anemia in a dog?

Anemia (anemia) is a condition where there are too few red blood cells (erythrocytes) in the blood or not enough hemoglobin. The role of hemoglobin and red blood cells is to carry oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. A decrease in their amount may therefore be associated with hypoxia of the internal organs, which will cause serious disturbances in the functioning of the entire body, and even lead to the death of the quadruped.

Causes of anemia in dogs

Anemia can result from reduced production of red blood cells in the bone marrow, severe blood loss, or breakdown of red blood cells. The cause of such disorders can be various diseases and conditions.


Rapid blood loss in the event of an injury or a serious accident can reduce the amount of red blood cells in your pet’s body. Also, incorrectly performed surgery can be associated with significant blood loss. Internal hemorrhage is especially dangerous, as it may initially be imperceptible.


Many skin parasites, such as ticks and fleas, feed on the animal’s blood. The long-term presence of large numbers of parasites can therefore trigger anemia. Internal parasites, such as tapeworms that damage the intestinal wall, can also cause anemia. However, the greatest threat is undoubtedly called the protozoan Babesia caniswhich causes babesiosis – during it there is a rapid breakdown of a large number of erythrocytes and progressive anemia.


Certain foods, medications, and chemicals can cause red blood cells to break down in dogs, causing anemia as well as blood clotting problems. The most common culprits are onions, garlic, and various pest poisons.

Chronic diseases

There are many chronic diseases that can result in anemia in your dog. These include, but are not limited to, kidney disease, liver disease, hypothyroidism, and certain bacterial diseases. First of all, they weaken the bone marrow, which is responsible for the production of red blood cells.

How does anemia manifest in a dog?

Not having enough oxygen in a pet’s muscles and internal organs has very unpleasant effects. An anoxic quadruped will have difficulty breathing, tire quickly and lose its appetite. A common symptom of anemia is also a rapid heartbeat which is supposed to increase blood flow in the arteries. Anemic dogs may also have pale gums, vomit blood, or urinate dark in color. Canine anemia is easy to diagnose – a basic blood test is enough to detect anemia and determine its severity.

Anemia in a dog. How to heal it?

Anemia in a dog is only a symptom. Therefore, its effective treatment consists primarily in diagnosing the cause – disease, poisoning, hemorrhage – and implementing appropriate treatment. In severe cases of anemia, it may be necessary to administer drugs and hormones to increase the production of red blood cells, and even blood transfusion.

Author: Aleksandra Prochocka


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