Dogs With Anemia

Anemia is defined as a low red blood cell count. It can be caused by blood loss, destruction of red blood cells or the inadequate production of the red blood cells. Below I have listed some of the causes of Anemia in dogs, signs, and treatments.

Causes of Anemia

Blood loss – caused as a result of an accident, poisoning, bleeding ulcers, and parasites (such as hookworms or whipworms).

Destruction of red blood cells – caused by parasites, bacterial toxins, poisons and/or immune reactions.

Inadequate production of red blood cells – A reduced or abnormal production of new red blood cells in the bone marrow due to tumors, kidney disease, poisons, or acute infections. The most frequently cause of Anemia is from vitamin and mineral deficiencies that are caused by a poor diet.

Anemia can also be caused by cancer, immune-mediated disease, (which is a disease in the dogs body that attacks its own cells or organs), toxins, genetic defects, inflammatory disease, drug reactions, kidney failure, and also from a generalized chronic long term illness.

Signs of Anemia

Pale gums
Unsettled behavior
Inability to exercise
Increased respiratory rate
Weight loss because of decreased appetite
Episodes of collapse
Evidence of blood loss
Blood in the urine or feces
Yellow discoloration of the skin
Abdominal distension

Treatment of Anemia

The treatment depends on what is causing the Anemia. Your dog will need plenty of rest to help him build up strength while recovering. Your Vet may give your dog some iron supplements and vitamins to help with the anemia and put your dog on a special diet to help speed up his recovery. Follow your Veterinarians instructions for home care. He will explain everything to you on how to take care of your dog and how and when to give your dog his medicine. Your Vet will want you to bring your dog back for check-ups to document his progress. If at any time your dog gets worse, your Veterinarian will want to see him as soon as possible.


Any time you suspect a problem with your dogs health, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your Veterinarian. Taking your dog for regular check ups a couple times a year will help your Vet keep track of your dogs health. This way your Vet can compare notes he has made in the past, which can help him spot any problems before they get out of hand.

Betsy Reinier has had dogs all her life. Her main goal is keeping dogs healthy, happy, safe and very spoiled! For more information on the health and welfare of dogs, or suggestions for behavioral problems; check out and sign up for our free newsletter at, where we care about the health, safety and the welfare of all dogs.

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