Browse our veterinary-reviewed Dog and Cat Illness Guide to learn more about pet health. Always talk to your veterinarian if you have a concern about your pet's symptoms or health.
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Bone marrow produces red blood cells and releases them into the blood. These red blood cells transport oxygen throughout your dog's body, which allows its entire body to function properly. After around 8 weeks, the body removes the old blood cells from the bloodstream and creates new ones.
Anemia is a reduced number of red blood cells in your pet's blood. An anemic dog will either remove too many cells or not produce enough new ones.
Anemia is not a disease on its own, but a result of another disease.
The most obvious symptom is pale pink or white gums. If you notice pale gums, you must have a blood test done as soon as possible. Other signs include:
Your veterinarian will begin with:
Thenthe veterinarian will perform different blood tests:
Treatment will consist of either medications or surgery, depending on the cause of anemia.
If the anemia is life threatening, your dog will need an immediate blood transfusion, which will temporarily stabilize them. This allows your veterinarian to determine the cause of the anemia, and begin the appropriate treatment.
There are a variety of causes for anemia, and most of them are preventable. The best thing to do is to ensure your dog is up to date on all preventives, especially for fleas, ticks and internal parasites.
The prognosis depends on the medical problem that is causing the anemia. If you catch the anemia early and your dog is in overall good health, there is a good prognosis for recovery.Sometimes, a more severe disease, such as cancer, causes anemia, and it could be life threatening.
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