Regenerative Anemia in Dogs

Anemia in dogs is a disease of the red blood cells that can cause serious issues in dogs. The good news is that anemia can be treated and managed in a way that will allow the dog to live a full and fairly normal life. In some cases the anemia can be cured, but if it cannot the advances in veterinary science allow for better diagnosis and prognosis for most dogs with anemia.

Regenerative Anemia

Regenerative anemia is one form of anemia that a dog may develop in their lifetime. Regenerative anemia means that red blood cells are being produced in the dog's bone marrow, but that the dog is losing blood faster than the blood can be produced by the dog's system.

Symptoms of Regenerative Anemia

There are several symptoms that can indicate that a dog is suffering from regenerative anemia. As with many symptoms of sickness in a dog the symptoms can mean many things, but here are key symptoms to look for that may indicate your dog is suffering from regenerative anemia. Those symptoms include pale gums, weakness, rapid heart beat, pale eyes and ears, panting, excessive sleeping, failure to groom and lack of appetite.

Causes of Regenerative Anemia

There are several possible causes of regenerative anemia. The causes can be a simple as a parasite like fleas or worms, however, the causes can also be a complex such as cancer. Wounds and anti-inflammatory medications can also be causes of regenerative anemia in dogs.

Diagnosis of Regenerative Anemia

Regenerative anemia is usually diagnosed by a blood test or a series of blood tests that look thoroughly at the make up of the dog's blood. There are also tests of the bone marrow, but this is usually just to determine if red blood cells are still being produced properly. A packed cell volume test may also be completed as well as a urinalysis. Usually it takes more than one test, but not necessarily all the tests listed here to determine if a dog is suffering from regenerative anemia.

Treatment of Regenerative Anemia

Most veterinarians will suggest a regimen of blood building vitamins and minerals that can help the dog overtime. Dogs suffering from very severe cases of regenerative anemia will require transfusions to maintain their health, but most dogs will not require such treatment.

Overtime many dogs can recover from regenerative anemia. Following the diagnosis many dogs will need to be checked by the veterinarian every 24 hours while their red blood cell counts are rising. The frequency of visits will reduce to weekly as the dog continues to respond positively to treatment. It is important that a dog being treated for regenerative anemia be separated from other animals so that the dog can get the rest necessary for recovery. Dogs that are suffering from regenerative anemia are likely to get tired quickly and when they are worn out they are not as likely to heal as well from their illness.