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Anemia in Dogs

Dog suffering from Anemia getting blood transfusion

What is Anemia in Dogs?

Anemia is a deficiency of red blood cells (erythrocytes) in the circulatory system. Adult dogs are anemic when the concentration of red cells in whole blood is less than 37% by volume. Anemia can be caused by trauma, cancer, immune-mediated disease, which is a disease in which the body attacks its own cells or organs, infectious disease, toxins, genetic defects, inflammatory disease, iron deficiency, drug reactions, kidney failure, and generalized chronic (long term) illness.


Dogs with a sudden onset of anemia may be clinically sicker than animals with chronic anemia. The impact of anemia and the symptoms on your dog will depend on the cause of the anemia as well as the severity of the anemia. This is due to the fact that animals can become partially adapted to the anemia over time, and may feel relatively good in spite of the anemia. Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Pale gums
  • Lethargy
  • Generalized weakness
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Episodes of collapse
  • Evidence of blood loss
  • Blood in urine or stool
  • External blood loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Yellow discoloration of the skin
  • Abdominal distension
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss


There are many treatment options available including medications, transfusions, IV's, antibiotics, vitamins, dietary changes and surgery. Pet insurance will pay for anemia treatment if your dog suffers from the disease but you must be enrolled before your dog is diagnosed or shows signs of Anemia.

Cost to Treat: $500 to $2,000

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