Iron Deficiency in Dogs
Iron deficiency in dogs is an ailment similar to that of iron deficiency in humans. When there is a deficiency in the blood, the production of hemoglobin is affected. Because hemoglobin is the part of the red blood cells that bring oxygen, iron is really a very important component of the blood. The insufficiency of hemoglobin would lead to anemia because the red blood cells do not develop correctly.
What is Anemia?
- Anemia is a serious problem. The deficiency in hemoglobin would make the bone marrow produce red blood cells with too low oxygen-carrying capabilities. These blood cells would also be smaller than they should be.
- There are many different causes of iron deficiency and anemia. This would include blood-sucking parasites, urinary tract infection, lymphoma, mass or ulcers in the stomach and intestines, and external blood loss due to injuries.
Symptoms of Iron Deficiency in Dogs
- Weakness and lethargy;
- Decreased growth rate;
- Rapid breathing;
- Dark colored, tarry stools; and
- Increased susceptibility to develop secondary illnesses.
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- Feeding the pet with commercial well balanced dog food (containing supplemental iron) can help solve the problem. Other food sources would be liver, whole grains, lean meat, and legumes.
- It is also important to recognize the cause of the ailment. If it is caused by blood-sucking parasites, the best recourse is to administer medication to kill these pests. Flea combs, shampoos, soaps, and sprays can kill fleas.
- For serious ailments, blood transfusion may be required.
- Iron may also be administered through IV or injected directly into the pet.
Points to Remember
- When treating against fleas and other blood-sucking parasites, clean the dog’s sleeping areas – rugs, blankets, pillows, and beds – thoroughly to ensure that no parasites are stuck there.
- Add flea powder to carpets and dog beddings.