Anemia in Dogs Caused By Hookworms

Anemia in Dogs Caused By Hookworms

One day I was working outside. I noticed that my dog was just lying around, and he looked lethargic. That was not like him. He usually followed me around the yard trying to play. So, I called him, and he didn’t come, and I noticed that his gums were a little pale. That got me scared, and I called my vet. She told me to make an appointment or take him to the emergency vet. The nearest emergency vet clinic was 100 miles from me. So, I made an appointment for the next morning. While I was at the vet she asked if he was still eating and drinking, and he was.

I asked her about his color change, and she said that he was a bit jaundice. She told me that she thought that he had had a problem with his liver but wasn’t sure. She needed to run some test. I left him over night and the next day I got the call I was waiting for. She told me that he had anemia. She needs to do more test figure out the underlying cause of anemia.

What is Anemia in Dogs

So, when I found that my dog had anemia, I wanted to know it was the same type of anemia found in humans. According to VAC  “Anemia is a medical term referring to a reduced number of circulating red blood cells (RBC’s), hemoglobin (Hb or Hgb), or both. 

How to tell if your dog is Anemic

There are many signs to tell if your dog is anemic, but the only definite way is have your vet do a blood test. This way you can easily find the underlying cause of anemia. Dogs show some of the same symptoms as humans when their blood count is low. But the only difference is that our dogs can’t verbally express their feelings, you’d have to look for signs. Here are a few signs:

  • Watch for a change in color
    • Gums looking pale
      • Pale gums is a sign of anemia in humans as well as dogs
    • Are they losing weight?
    • Are they eating and drinking fluids?
    • Are they lethargic? Mean low to little energy
    • Have you notice any changes in their stool?
      • Like color
      • Or Parasites
        • Some parasites can cause anemia

Common Causes of Anemia

There are many causes of anemia when dealing with dogs. Some of the most common causes is blood loss because of an injury, autoimmune disorders, cancer, infections, and vitamin deficiencies. In My cause my dog had a hookworm infection. So, what are hookworms? Hookworms are tiny bloodsucking worms that can grow to about one quarter of an inch in size.  Hookworms attach themselves to the intestinal lining by means of structures that are equivalent to teeth.  These teeth hold the hookworms in place and allow them to feed off the dog’s body while causing severe damage to the walls of the intestines.  The secrete a toxin that stops the blood from clotting. This caused my dog to lose blood and become. This could have been life threatening if not caught sooner. While I was researching, I found this article from Merck Vet Manual on Anemia in Dogs

 How to Treat Anemia in Dogs

When I was told that my dog was anemic due to parasites, we started him on some deformers the vet recommended. And he slowly got better, and on his last checkup he was worm free

However, if your dog’s anemia isn’t due to parasites; then you need to give your dog a special diet rich in iron, protein, and vitamin B12.  Here is a list of foods and supplements that your dog needs to treat anemia.

  • Beef liver which contains iron, protein, B complex, and B12.
  • Kelp powder which contains iodine and other trace minerals.
  • Green vegetables which contains iron and other minerals.
  • Nutritional yeast along with B12 which offers the same benefits as the liver.
  • Vitamin C, from 500 to 2,000 milligrams per day (depending on the dog’s size) which helps with the absorption of iron from the intestinal tract.

If you’d like to learn more about all-natural diets, and how to cook healthy real food for your dog then checkout this cookbook for dogs written by Connie Hogan.