Anemia is a medical condition in which a dog does not have enough red blood cells, hemoglobin, or both. Technically, anemia is not a disease in and of itself, but rather a consequence of an underlying illness or medical condition.
Dogs become anemic for many reasons; the condition can result from a disorder of the immune system, excessive internal or external bleeding, bad reactions to medications, or cancer. Parasites, tumors, viruses, exposure to toxins, and traumatic injuries can also cause anemia in dogs.
Symptoms of Anemia in Dogs
In dogs, anemia typically induces a set of symptoms that include (note: treatment options are listed after the 6 symptoms below):
Symptom: Changes to Gums
The most common and easily detectable clinical symptom of anemia is changes to the color of your dog’s gums. Healthy dogs will have evenly colored pink gums, while anemic dogs often develop pale or white gums. This is because the animal’s decreased red blood cell activity is negatively impacting the appearance and function of its mucus membranes, with gums being the most visible example.
Chances are that in addition to pale gums, your dog will exhibit at least one other symptom of anemia.