Could Your Dog Be Anaemic? 3 Questions You May Want Your Vet to Answer

If the gums of your four-legged friend are pale, consult your vet since it may have developed a serious health problem. If you can see some dark patches on its gums, check if they are natural pigment patches. Otherwise, if your dog has dense black patches on its pale gums, it could be anaemic.

Can Anaemia Cause Pale Gums in Dogs?

If your dog is infested with fleas or internal parasites that feed on blood, it could be anaemic. Your pet could also have pale gums and develop anaemia if its body destroys its own haemocytes (blood cells) due to adverse transfusion reactions. If you don't give your pooch the recommended amount of iron, its gums could be pale.

Other causes of anaemia in dogs include internal parasites, drugs, old age and bone marrow cancer. An anaemic dog lacks enough oxygenated blood in its body, and the common anaemia symptoms include shortness of breath, lack of energy, loss of appetite, weight loss and weakness. If you don't take your anaemic dog to a veterinary hospital in good time, it could die, especially if it has developed some autoimmune disorders.

How Does a Vet Diagnose Anaemic Dogs?

Once you get to the vet hospital, the vet uses haematocrit and PCV (packed cell volume) to count the pet's blood cells. A low PCV could indicate your pooch has developed anaemia. The vet could also carry out a red blood cell (RBC) count to find out if the pooch is anaemic. If the RBC count is low, the vet may find out if the bone marrow is producing more RBCs to compensate for the lost ones.

If your pet is anaemic, a blood smear can show stained reticulocytes (immature RBCs) that are mainly produced to correct the deficit. The vet could also use an automated blood analyser to diagnose anaemia. Other diagnostic tests a vet could use include urinalysis, biochemical profiles, faecal parasite exams, ultrasounds or radiographs.

Can an Anaemic Dog Be Treated?

Yes! The treatment depends on the general health condition of the pet and the test results. If anaemia threatens the life of your dog, the vet may recommend a blood transfusion to stabilise the dog. If anaemia is due to an autoimmune disease, the vet may prescribe corticosteroids. The vet could also prescribe vitamin K1 to reduce toxicity. They may recommend surgery and antibiotics if organs such as the liver and spleen have been damaged.

Learn more by visiting a veterinary hospital today.