What Is Anemia And A Blood Transfusion?
Like in humans, anemia in dogs is a disease that causes a loss of blood in the body, making it so that there is not enough blood and fluid to circulate needed oxygen and other nutrients for body tissues. Anemia can be caused due to blood loss from injury or trauma, or can be caused by both immune and non-immune body reactions. These reactions cause the dog’s body to either fail to produce the needed blood cells, or to actively destroy even healthy blood cells in the body.
Knowing about common canine anemia can help in both chronic and emergency health situations.
Anemic dogs may require a blood transfusion
In the worst case scenario an anemic dog could require a blood transfusion.
A blood transfusion is the transfer of blood from one creature to another of the same species. Blood is usually taken from donor animals that are part of a blood donation program. They are tested and are considered healthy and free of disease. Their blood is then packaged and frozen into whole blood, or plasma. These materials can then be infused into other dogs that are ill from disease, blood loss from trauma or injury, or are lacking important factors in their blood. Like humans, dogs do have different blood types, so testing blood type is important to preventing an interaction that could destroy either the donated blood or remaining blood in the dog due to an immune reaction.
What are the symptoms of anemia in dogs?
Anemia can show symptoms such as blue or pale tissues in the body (especially the gums and tongue), decreased activity and appetite, trauma and injury, or it may just appear as your dog is feeling “not himself” and is laying around more.
How can I prevent canine anemia?
While some forms of anemia from disease or internal illness are not preventable, care can be taken to prevent anemia from trauma or blood loss. If your dog is involved in an accident or is otherwise injured, taking care to stop all bleeding and prevent blood loss can help prevent anemia. Providing your dog with plenty of fluids, especially on hot days, can also prevent dehydration which may lead to anemia in the long-term.
What should I do if I suspect my dog has anemia?
If your dog has experienced an emergency situation resulting in blood loss, it is best to bring him or her to your veterinarian or local emergency clinic immediately. This will allow your veterinarian to stop any bleeding and prevent further blood loss. Your vet may also recommend a transfusion if large amounts of blood have been lost, in order to provide the body with enough fluid and cells for staying alive.
If your dog has been showing signs and symptoms of anemia, making an appointment with your vet is beneficial. Your vet will most likely recommend a general blood panel which can indicate if anemia is present. If there is anemia, additional tests may be recommended such as X-rays, ultrasound or further blood work to determine the cause behind the anemia.
Immune related canine anemia may benefit from medications that help suppress the immune system and prevent destruction of the cells. Anemia that is caused by failure to produce cells can also be treated with medications that help bump up blood cell production in the body. In more severe illness, bone marrow transplants to reseed the body with cell producing materials, or blood transfusion may be needed. All of these treatments can help get the body back on track in the short-term, and provide a framework for long-term care.
Natural remedies for anemia in dogs
Some materials are needed to help create healthy blood cells in the body. Deficiencies of nutrients such as copper, B vitamins and iron can lead to anemia. Supplementing with a balanced diet or additional supplements can help your dog rebuild his or her blood cells naturally. Herbs such as Cleavers, Dandelion and Fenugreek may also help solve minor canine anemia issues.