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Anemia in Dogs

By: Dr. Erika De Papp

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Discussing specific therapies for the multiple causes of anemia is beyond the scope of this article. Articles on individual diseases should be referenced for more information. However, treatment in general may include the following:

  • Treating the underlying disease is the most efficacious way to resolve the anemia. This may consist of antibiotic therapy for some of the infectious diseases.

  • Suppression of the immune system is indicated for immune-mediated disease.

  • Removal of ingested toxins, like ingested pennies which contain zinc, whenever possible.

  • Avoidance of drugs is crucial in cases of suspected drug reactions.

  • Surgery and/or chemotherapy may be indicated to treat cancer.

  • Vitamin K therapy is a specific treatment for rat poison intoxication.

  • Iron supplementation is indicated in cases of iron deficiency.

  • Severe anemia caused by kidney failure can be treated with hormonal therapy.

  • Supportive care often consists of whole blood, or red blood cell transfusions in cases of severe anemia. Transfusions must be given at hospitals where close monitoring is available and there is access to an animal blood bank. Alternatively, there is a synthetic product that is available as a blood substitute. This is used in situations where blood is not readily available, or is not compatible with the patient's blood.

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