2001-Mon Oct 22 04:04:08 EDT 2018
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
3.Hemolysis: Demand Exceeds Supply
Red blood cells have a thin outer shell, or membrane. The membrane allows oxygen into the cell where it binds to hemoglobin, which is the molecule responsible for depositing the oxygen in the blood where it needs to be in our bodies. Although sturdy enough to bend and fold as the red blood cell circulates through the blood vessels, this membrane is easily damaged by drugs or an immune system problem. When damage occurs, the red blood cells can explode. This is called hemolysis. If the red blood cell membrane damage and hemolysis continues unchecked, the bone marrow will not be able to produce enough red blood cells to meet demand. There are a number of things that can cause hemolysis in pets. Infection of red blood cells with such organisms as Babesia, Ehrlichia and Mycoplasma; ingestion of such items as pennies, onions, and garlic; and a disease known as immune mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) are well known causes of increased blood cell destruction in dogs and cats.
4.Hemorrhage: Product Diversion
Even if the bone marrow is producing an adequate number of red blood cells and they are not damaged in any way, anemia can result if the red blood cells are diverted from the bloodstream by hemorrhage.From the standpoint of a veterinarian, anemia from blood loss can be extremely difficult to sleuth out. A dog or cat hit by a car and bleeding from an exterior wound is an easy anemia diagnosis, but low-grade blood loss from a bleeding tumor of the intestine, kidney, spleen or nose is much more difficult to detect. Your pet may need to undergo a lengthy series of tests to get to the root cause of anemia.
Given the complexity of red blood cell production, it is easy to understand why any glitch in red blood cell status makes anemia a common problem in both dogs and cats. Making a diagnosis as to the type of anemia and its cause is critical to determining the appropriate treatment. Figuring out if the cause is due to a “manufacturing” problem (bone marrow failure), destruction of red blood cells (hemolysis) or an inability to keep up with an increased demand due to blood loss (hemorrhage) takes perseverance on the part of the veterinarian and patience on the part of the pet family, but with these two critical elements, anemia can often be corrected.
More on Vetstreet:
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.