blood diseases in dogs

Blood disorders in dogs: Types, Causes and Treatment

Different pathologies can affect our dogs, especially if they have not been vaccinated or if they live in nature. Blood disorders in dogs often accompany these health issues.

If not treated in time, blood diseases can have a negative impact on the health and longevity of the dog.

Causes of blood disorders in dogs

Particularly dangerous, blood diseases in dogs can be of several types. In general terms, they affect the production of blood and its good circulation in the dog’s body. These are pathologies that cause changes in the amount of blood cells in the dog.

blood diseases in dogs


Some of these abnormalities are hereditary, others come from the following conditions:

  • Parasitic infection (on the skin or in the intestines)
  • Deficiency in iron, copper or vitamin B12
  • Tumor
  • Blood transfusion accident or trauma problem

Types of blood diseases in dogs

Blood disorders in dogs can have different causes and take different forms. In the majority of cases, it is simply a genetic problem. In some cases, it may be a parasitic or tumor disease. It can also be an illness due to drugs or infections of any kind.

White blood cell disease

In dogs, like in humans, leukocyte is a disease that affects white blood cells. This is characterized by a drop in the number of white blood cells. Otherwise, the animal may also have hyperleukocytosis or too much white blood cell presence in the blood. Finally, there is cancer of the white blood cells or leukemia which is an excessively large increase in the number of leukocytes in the blood of the animal.

anemia in dogs

Red blood cell diseases

As for red blood cell diseases, there is anemia or lack of blood. It can be cured simply by transfusion. There is also hemoglobinathy or an abnormality in the shape of hemoglobins and microspherocytosis or an abnormality in the shape of red blood cells. Finally, if the dog has too much red blood cell count, the condition is referred to as polycythemia.

Platelet diseases

Finally, there are platelet diseases. It can be a thrombocytopenia or a drop in the number of platelets or an hyperplatelet which is the opposite.

Signs of blood disorders in dogs


The clinical signs differ depending on the nature of the disease. In the case of anemia, as an example, the dog loses weight and appetite at the same time. If he’s normally spirited and loves daily morning or afternoon outings, he gets unusually tired and doesn’t like moving.

Palpitations as well as oral, genital or ocular mucous membranes may appear. Note that the lack of white blood cells causes bleeding in the gingival mucosa, etc. Also remember intestinal ulcers, irritations of the urinary system can also cause anemia due to bleeding.

Blood clotting

Blood clotting is a disorder caused by allergy to K antivitaminics, the presence of a tumor or liver failure and a number of signs can be observed. The dog will have pale mucous membranes and his skin may show small red lesions or bleeding.

dog examination at veterinarian

The bleeding can be external or internal and is accompanied by fever and shortness of breath or rapid breathing even if the dog is not being active.

It can also be evidenced by anorexia or loss of appetite and a feverish state due to disproportionate lymph nodes in the liver and spleen. Some dog breeds are also predisposed to hemophilia such as the German Shepherd.


As for parvovirus known by the common name of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis disease, the dog suffers from diarrhea and the odor of the stools is quite bad. He may also vomit what he is eating.

The condition of the dog affected by this infection is feverish. Due to the virus attack on the white blood cells, the dog’s immune defenses are reduced. This leads to a state of depression and dehydration.

Note that a dog can catch this deadly and contagious disease in an outdoor environment polluted by the stools of dogs suffering from canine parvovirus virus (CPV). Animals in pet stores or in communities are the most prone to this pathology.

dog getting blood transfusion


Leptospirosis is yet another blood disorder in dogs caused by bacteria and is passed through the urine or by contact with animals with leptospira. The manifestation of this infection is acute fever which is related to liver or kidney problems.

Signs of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis can also be detected. This form of infection requires the rapid intervention of a veterinarian because the untreated disease can degenerate into chronic renal failure or the appearance of jaundice.

Preferred treatments for blood diseases in dogs

As always, it is first important to know the causes of the dysfunction. Obviously, consulting with a veterinarian is essential because he will be able to effectively diagnose the condition and provide an appropriate treatment protocol.

If it is a disease caused by the presence of parasites in the intestines such as piroplasmosis, a specific drug-based treatment is required. Injections, infusions or blood transfusions can overcome the disease if it has not reached an advanced stage.

For anemia caused by tumors, surgery to remove the lump is the only solution. The lab staff will then take part of the tumor to analyze whether it is a benign or malignant.

causes of a blood disease in a dog

For other diseases, the care given by the veterinarian essentially consists in the prescription of anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids to boost the animal’s immune system. And in the case of an infectious lesion caused by leptospirosis, it will require a treatment with antibiotics.

If the blood disorder relates to anemia, the animal health professional will prescribe vitamins or iron. Establishing an adequate diet is also necessary to speed up the recovery of an anemic dog.

Blood transfusion

The veterinarian may also opt for blood transfusion in order to provide a sufficient amount of red blood cells in the dog’s body. This treatment is particularly related to hemostasis disorders. Since there is no blood bank at the vet, the owner would have to find another healthy dog to donate blood.

Blood analysis

Blood disorders in dogs can require a serology screening test with a blood sample if the dog has not had all of his vaccinations and booster shots. Otherwise, he will just do a stool test to identify the presence of an infestation.

treatment of canine blood disorders


Hospitalization is not to be ruled out in severe cases, because the dog would then have to undergo several treatments such as infusions, dressings for digestion devices, antibiotics, or even surgery in the case of a tumor. Bleeding disorders also require biochemistry.

In summary, the treatment depends on the disease. In any case, as soon as you observe signs such as shortness of breath, loss of appetite, yellow or pale mucous membranes, loss of energy, you should immediately take your dog to the vet.

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