If you have a furry friend in your home, you want to make sure they’re cared for as well as you possibly can, and that includes their healthcare. Dogs have their own way of communicating with their owners. However, even with the special connection you may have with your pets, dogs still can’t communicate using words as people do, so you should always pay a bit of extra attention to their health conditions in case something goes awry.
Anemia is one of those conditions that may require a bit of extra care and attention on your part, but the good news is that there are ways to treat and manage it. If you think your dog may be anemic, here are a few things you should know.
What is anemia?
First, you should know what anemia is. Like in humans, anemia in dogs is a condition that involves a reduced number of circulating red blood cells (RBCs), hemoglobin (Hb or Hgb), or both. Usually, this comes from another health condition that needs to be addressed or a nutritional deficiency.
What causes anemia?
Usually, anemia isn’t a result of anemia on its own, as it often comes from an underlying condition. Some of the causes of anemia can include blood loss from an accident or injury, deformed red blood cells, parasites, bone marrow diseases, cancer, or even exposure to chemicals or toxins. If any of these have recently happened or you think your pup may be at risk for any of these conditions, check-in with the veterinarian right away.
Symptoms in your dog
If you want to keep an eye out for anemia in your pup, there are a few symptoms you can look out for. Especially if your dog is new to your home, either from a shelter or from a breeder or friend, you may not know how they communicate yet, so it can be important to watch closely. Pale gums, pale eyes, fast pulse, rapid breathing, lethargy, and dark stool can all be indicators that your dog is anemic and in need of some medical attention.
How to prevent anemia
While you can’t always prevent accidents or injuries, you can prevent malnutrition and ensure that your dog receives proper medical care. Feed them a balanced diet, take them to the vet regularly, keep them away from chemicals and dangerous substances, make sure they stay hydrated, and keep them up to date on shots and vaccinations.
Getting a diagnosis
If you think your dog may be anemic, you should make a veterinarian appointment so they can diagnose your dog. They’ll likely ask about symptoms and medical history and will probably conduct a blood test. Not only can blood tests reveal anemia, but they can also allude to the underlying cause too. If the cause isn’t already obvious — such as an injury or chemical exposure — the vet may look for parasites or other abnormalities in the blood. This does require professional diagnosis.
How to treat anemia in dogs
The treatment for anemia in dogs will depend on the severity and the underlying cause. For mild anemia or anemia caused by a nutritional deficiency, your vet may prescribe a change in food. However, in more severe cases, your dog may require a blood transfusion or even chemotherapy. Your vet will guide you along the process.
Anemia in dogs
Whether you’re looking after the brand new furry addition to your family or you think something may be going on with your long-time canine friend, it’s never too early or too late to keep an eye on symptoms of anemia in dogs and get a diagnosis. While every dog is different, they all deserve love, attention, and care so they can get back to their happy, healthy selves.
Jane Marsh is an environmental writer who is passionate about pet care and health. To read more of her work, follow her site Environment.co.