Reticulocystosis, defined as increased red blood cells in circulation can result from both physiological and pathological processes.
- Physiological reticulocytosis
Physiological reticulocytosis is commonly due to bone marrow release of reticulocytes prematurely or splenic contraction. Causes include excitement, exercise and certain drugs such as erythropoietin in dogs with chronic renal disease and adrenalin.
In most cases, reticulocytosis is transient and morphology of erythrocytes is normal.
- Pathological reticulocytosis
Results from increased in bone marrow production secondary to external or internal blood loss and hemolytic disease.
If the blood loss or destruction is greater than the rate of new blood cell production by the bone marrow, anemia will be present. If the rate of erythrocyte production matches or is greater than loss or destruction, the animal will not be anemic. Reticulocytosis can also occur with conditions that cause absolute erythrocytosis (polycythemia vera).
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