Anemia is a clinical symptom (rather than specific disease) characterized by pale mucous membranes.
Hematologically, anemia is evidence by low levels of circulating erythrocytes (RBCs) below 15%.
Generally speaking, there are two broad categories of anemia:
- Regenerative anemia - significant numbers of immature (nucleated) erythrocytes
- Non-regenerative anemia - reduced numbers or no nucleated reticulocytes
Features of anemia include:
- - Anisocytosis with microcytosis - iron deficiency, sickle cell anemia
- - Anisocytosis with macrocytosis - Folate or vitamin B12 deficiency, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, cytotoxic chemotherapy, chronic hepatitis, myelolipoma, myelodysplastic syndrome
- - Anisocytosis with normocytosis - Early iron, vitamin B12 or folate deficiency, dimorphic anemia, chronic hepatitis, myelodysplastic syndrome
- - Microcytic hypochromic anemia - pyridoxine deficiency
- - Poikilocytosis, reticulocytosis, stomatocytosis
- - Thrombocytopenia
Causes of anemia are numerous, including:
- Hemorrhage - trauma, surgical
- Neoplasia - hemangiosarcoma, paraneoplastic syndrome, lymphoblastic anemia, leukemia
- Hemolysis - drug reactions
- Enteric parasites - Toxocara canis, Uncinaria spp, Toxascaris leonina
- Hemoparasites - Babesia spp, Theileria spp, Ehrlichia spp, Leishmania infantum, Mycoplasma haemocanis, Anaplasma phagocytophilum
- Immune-mediated disease - hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia
- Genetic diseases - Hemophilia, Von Willebrand's disease, Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, phosphofructokinase deficiency, pyruvate kinase deficiency, hereditary osmotic fragility
- Chronic diseases
- - Aplastic pancytopenia
- - Sideroblastic anemia - poikilocytosis, hypersegmented neutrophils and megakaryocytosis
- - Myelodysplasia syndrome
- - Chronic hepatitis, cholecystitis
- - Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, ulcerative colitis, protein-losing enteropathy
- - Chronic renal disease, nephrotic syndrome
Diagnosis is based on blood tests and treatment requires addressing the underlying cause.
Dogs with PCV <15 require blood transfusions.
- Pet Place
- Naigamwalla DZ et al (2012) Iron deficiency anemia. Can Vet J 53(3):250-256