Treating Canine Anemia with Blood Transfusions

Canine anemia is manifested through a low red blood cell count or hemoglobin in the blood and may be due to a deficient diet or may be a hereditary condition. Blood transfusions may be used to control the condition. An anemic dog will be weaker due to the fact that the tissues and the organs will not get enough oxygen. The red blood cells have the task of carrying oxygen to the tissues and organs.

Canine Anemia

Canine anemia may be caused by blood loss, kidney disease, iron deficiency, hypothyroidism or bone marrow disorders. In some cases, the anemia is inherited.

Canine anemia will be signaled by the lack of activity and pale gums and pale mucous membranes. The lack of oxygen will make the dog less responsive.

The anemia may also affect the heart function, as the heart will try to make up for the lack of oxygen and pump more blood to the organs and tissues and you may notice that the dog has irregular heart beat or superficial and fast breathing.

The dog may also develop other infections, as the anemia causes a weaker immune system. The symptoms may be subtle, but the anemia may be detected through a few blood tests.

The treatment will be adapted according to the severity of the problem. If the anemia is severe, the dog will require blood transfusions.

Blood Transfusions for Dogs

If your pet has lost a lot of blood or the anemia is severe, he will require blood transfusions.

The blood transfusion is made to stabilize the condition of your pet and then determine the cause of the anemia.

After the cause of the anemia is determined, the vet may prescribe a suitable treatment for the anemia. This will vary according to what causes the condition.

Blood Type in Dogs

Prior to administering blood, your vet will establish the blood type of your pet. Just like in humans, certain blood types may not be suitable for your pet. Dogs have 11 blood groups; the most common being the A1 and A2. Dogs with A negative blood type are universal donors.

Blood incompatibility can be fatal in dogs. The blood type can be determined on the spot by getting a blood sample from your pet. Dog may only receive dog blood; blood from cats or humans will not be suitable.

If the dog receives multiple transfusions, even if the blood is compatible, the dog may build immunity to the donor’s blood and reject the blood.

If needed, the red cells or the plasma may be separated from the other components of the blood and administered separately.

The blood that is used for transfusion should be tested, so that it won’t contain any possible viruses or bacteria.

The blood is collected from donors. In order to be a donor, the dog must be in good health and meet the weight requirements (to weigh at least 50 pounds).