Anemia in Dogs and Cats. Like humans, dogs and cats can suffer from anemia, or a deficiency of red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s tissue. Anemia in dogs and cats is generally found after a routine blood test by the veterinarian.
Symptoms of Anemia in Dogs and Cats:
Common symptoms of anemia in dogs and cats include lethargy, loss of appetite, and unusual weakness. Gum tissue in the animal’s mouth may appear a lighter pink or even white depending on the severity of anemia. In cases of severe anemia, the dog or cat may experience a rapid pulse and have increased respirations. Some severely anemic pets will collapse with exertion.
What Causes Anemia in Dogs and Cats?
Blood loss is the most common reason for anemia in adult cats and dogs. Traumatic injuries, tumors, or chronic slow bleeding within the gastrointestinal tract can all result in enough blood loss that an animal becomes anemic. Internal and external parasites often cause excessive bleeding for younger pups and kittens.
Red blood cells breaking down at a faster pace than normal can also result in anemia in dogs and cats. The accelerated decomposition of blood cells is known as hemolysis. Infectious diseases, adverse reactions to medications, bites from poisonous snakes, and severe infections are sometimes the culprits of hemolysis. Some animals are born with congenital hemolytic anemia. Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia is a result of the animal’s own antibodies attacking red blood cells.
Treating Anemia in Dogs and Cats
In order to treat anemia in dogs and cats, the reason for the anemia must first be understood. When the cause is determined, your veterinarian can take specific measures to attempt to restore the red blood cell count to a normal level. Unfortunately, little treatment has been proven effective to treat congenital hemolytic anemia.
Dr Carol’s Recommendation:
We have seen success treating many cases of anemia in both dogs and cats by using simple home-made diets that incorporate semi-cooked organic food sources that are rich in B-vitamins, such as beef or chicken liver and hearts. Natural vitamin-mineral supplements are very helpful to boost red blood cell levels.
Herbs that may be helpful include parsley and kombu. Parsley is high in vitamins A, B, and C. Kombu is known to be rich in various minerals and a broth made from kombu may be a consideration.
A homeopathic anemia treatment is Dong quai, or Angelica sinensis. Dong quai is a traditional Chinese blood-tonic herb. To use Dong quai for anemia in pets, use ¼ tsp per 10-15 pounds of body weight. Divide this into two daily doses.