Anemia is a disease that develops not only in humans, but also in animals. It occurs due to a decrease in the level of red blood cells - these cells are associated with the oxygen supply of the body. The lack of red blood cells can adversely affect the condition of the organs and systems of the dog, significantly worsen its condition. How to recognize the presence of anemia in a dog in a timely manner, and how is this disease treated?
Types of Anemia in Dogs
There are several varieties of this disease:
- Posthemorrhagic anemia. It occurs as a result of blood loss, and it does not matter if there is internal or external bleeding. It can appear as a result of an injury affecting the blood vessels of the circulatory system and internal organs. Of course, it is extremely difficult to detect a disease if the bleeding is internal, especially if it is a chronic process. But you can notice the blanching of the mucous membranes, as well as often appear subcutaneous hemorrhages of a point type.
- Hypoplastic anemia. This form of the disease is associated with a lack of any trace elements, proteins or vitamin components - iron, copper, zinc, selenium, B vitamins or folic acid. If the pet receives a full-fledged diet enriched with useful elements, hypoplastic anemia may develop due to damage to bone marrow cells by toxic substances. Toxins can accumulate in the body due to transferred infectious diseases or impaired metabolism.
- Alimentary Anemia. Belongs to the category of hypoplastic anemia. It develops in puppies from an early age if they receive improper, unbalanced nutrition. It may be associated with a lack of iron with the diet, the pathology of impaired absorption from the intestine is much less common.
- Aplastic form of pathology. It develops as a result of severe violations in the activity of the hematopoietic system. Pathology concerns not only the formation of red blood cells, but also the remaining blood cells. Complicated hypoplastic anemia can flow into aplastic over time.
In addition, veterinarians can diagnose regenerative and non-regenerative forms of anemia in dogs. With the first type of pathology, the body is able to compensate for the loss of red blood cells, producing new cells quite quickly, but in the second form, quick recovery does not occur.
Dog Anemia Factors
The following conditions and processes can affect the appearance of a disease:
- Injuries causing great blood loss.
- Abundant internal bleeding formed in the gastrointestinal tract (occur due to severe inflammatory processes or infectious diseases).
- Infectious diseases (most often anemia develops against the background of tick-borne infestation), in most cases, small dogs suffer from anemia.
- Immuno-mediated (autoimmune) diseases that cause the body systems to destroy their own red blood cells.
- Taking medications, for example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which often cause bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Afanipertez - infection with fleas. As with tick-borne infestations, there is an increased danger for representatives of dwarf breeds and puppies.
- Poisoning a dog with toxic substances or heavy metals, causing severe intoxication of the body.
- Ailments in a chronic form (often dogs, especially older ones, suffer from renal failure and oncology), in the treatment of which medications are used that reduce the process of red blood cell production.
Symptoms of anemia can be different and depend directly on the causes of its development.
Symptoms and signs of anemia in dogs
The main function of red blood cells is to deliver oxygen to all tissues and organs, which is extremely important for their activity. Therefore, a decrease in the level of red blood cells leads to lethargy of the dog, it is difficult for the animal to endure physical activity. The pet is increasingly in a supine position, does not show activity, and gets up only out of need.
The pet's appetite is reduced, or he may refuse to eat at all. When anemia is observed, the mucous membranes become pale or blue, if the dog gums feel, then with anemia they are cold.
If the disease appeared not due to bleeding, but against the background of severe intoxication or helminthic or tick-borne infestation, then these symptoms develop at a slow pace. Most often, dog owners for a long time and do not suspect that their pet is sick.
During autoimmune anemia, more severe symptoms may occur:
- Disruptions of the digestive tract - vomiting, loose stools.
- Polyuria - an increase in the amount of urine (not always manifested).
- Polydipsia - increased thirst, the pet drinks a very large amount of water.
During the examination, it is possible to detect tachycardia, systolic murmurs, rapid breathing, jaundice. The urine may have a brown color due to staining with hemoglobin or bilirubin. Ultrasound and other research methods reveal an increase in organs - the liver, spleen, and lymph nodes.
Which dogs are at risk?
Anemia can develop in absolutely all dogs, thoroughbreds, mestizos, adults or puppies. But a special risk group includes dogs that have a history of gastric or duodenal ulcer, as well as animals with hereditary pathologies.
This also includes pit bull terriers and greyhounds, since these breeds are prone to diseases of infectious origin, and they, in turn, lead to the development of anemia.
Dog Disease Diagnosis
Anemia is detected through a blood test. Most often, the method for determining the hemocrit value is used, it is carried out as part of a clinical blood test. If the indicator is below the norm by 35%, then the pet will be diagnosed with anemia.
When diagnosing anemia, a number of diagnostic examinations are prescribed, the purpose of which is to identify parasites that affect the destruction of red blood cells, as well as cells with an abnormal structure, signaling the presence of leukemia. Among the diagnostic methods, a bone marrow biopsy is often used - the analysis gives information about its condition and what caused anemia.
Among other tests for diagnosing anemia, the following are given:
- blood for biochemistry;
- urinalysis (general);
- feces for gastrointestinal parasites.
A set of measures allows you to find out exactly what caused the anemia in the dog. Based on the results, timely effective treatment is prescribed.
Therapeutic treatment of anemia in dogs
Given the above, it can be agreed that there is no single treatment for anemia. Therapy directly depends on what caused the disease. In addition, when prescribing treatment, the veterinarian evaluates the condition of the pet, takes into account its age and characteristics of the body.
For anemia, the following procedures can be used:
- intravenous infusion aimed at increasing blood volume;
- transfusion of blood components, red blood cell mass, whole blood, platelets, or freshly frozen plasma are taken;
- bone marrow transfusion (transfusion);
- antibiotic therapy (prescribed in case of infection);
- a course of vitamin K1 (phylloquinone or phytomenadione), which normalizes blood coagulation;
- the use of anti-parasite agents;
- the appointment of drugs containing useful elements - iron, phosphates, potassium;
- conducting general therapeutic measures aimed at maintaining the body of the animal;
- if necessary, surgical intervention.
In the process of treatment, it is extremely important to monitor the condition of the pet, and after treatment, regular monitoring.
With adequate treatment, the symptoms of acute aplastic anemia are eliminated after 21-28 days. The chronic course of diseases of this type is more complex, requires a very serious approach. Even after a course of therapy, the animal cannot fully recover for a long time.
Naturally, a young animal is faster to recover from any kind of ailment, and the disease is relatively easier. The young body has a recovery period, including after surgery, takes less time.
Anemia in dogs on video
Prognosis for dogs with anemia
Of course, the prognosis for a pet with anemia depends on the type and form of the disease, the state of the body, and other factors. With hemolytic anemia, dogs of any age, even older ones, recover quite quickly. Naturally, if timely diagnosis and treatment were performed.
If anemia is caused by intoxication with toxic substances or autoimmune diseases, then the prognosis is less favorable.
Anemia associated with cancer, in most cases, ends with the death of the animal, as the dog’s body responds poorly to chemotherapy or surgery.
Anemia is a serious ailment, so it is important to help your pet in time!