Canine Anemia (Low Red Blood Cell Count in Dogs)

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015

Definition of Anemia

Anemia is defined as a reduction in the normal number of circulating red blood cells, which are called RBCs or erythrocytes. Red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout an animal’s body. Dogs can become anemic when they lose blood, have an abnormality that causes their body to destroy red blood cells (hemolytic anemia), or don’t produce enough RBCs (aplastic anemia). Red blood cells normally are made by healthy bone marrow. When the bone marrow doesn’t produce enough red blood cells, the circulating number of RBCs is reduced. There is no way to categorically prevent anemia in domestic dogs. The causes of anemia are so varied and so fundamentally different from one another that prevention must be considered on a case by case basis.

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