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Dog anemia?

 
chip sanft
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Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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Long story short: I'm wondering if anyone has had experience successfully treating severe anemia in a dog.

After an apparent misdiagnosis that let the problem (the root of which is still unknown) get serious, our little dog has life-threatening anemia. She received a blood transfusion and is getting treated for the two most likely causes (determining which it is would take time and we wanted to get started on treatment), tick borne ailments and an autoimmune issue.

Anyway, it seems like we can do things to help her get better (we hope) and the vets are mostly interested in drugs etc. We'd like to do more. If you've experienced something like this, your suggestions would be very welcome.
 
Anne Miller
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I would suggest giving your dog a egg or two a day.  I give mine a raw egg everyday.  Also previously a vet suggested we give one of our dogs sweetened condensed milk, I don't remember the amount.
 
Mike Turner
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A bad hookworm infestation can cause anemia.  If the dog is kept in a lot where it spends time walking near to where it defecates, the hookworm larvae can keep re-infesting the dog.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Chip,  anemia is a low iron level so any foods rich in iron are good for combating this issue. Liver and heart (cooked is easier on a digestive tract not accustomed to raw meats) are really good sources for dogs.
Give these in  small amounts, a few times a day if possible or at least morning and evening, no more than around 3 oz.

If it is hook worms, DE in the dogs food is a very good de-wormer and it will do no damage to your pet.

Don't forget this, a second opinion is never a bad thing. 
Also see if you can find an Herbalist nearby, you would be surprised at how much good they can do for your dog.

Good Luck, I hate to see any animal suffer, which it sounds like this one is.
I will light some cedar and sage for you and your pet and offer up prayers.

Redhawk
 
Annie Lochte
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I want to second the suggestion to feed some liver and organ meats. I have a pup with liver disease and switching to a raw diet has made her a well, normal pup. For the 1-2 meals a week she gets liver I have to let it sit in the sun for a day, or sit in her bowl over the pilot light to dry an firm up a bit before she'll eat it... For my other dogs boiled in chicken broth makes it palatable...
 
Peter Kalokerinos
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I'd try tumeric and vitamin C (sodium ascorbate). Half a teaspoon of each, twice a day - depending on the weight etc of the dog. Also a large vitamin B complex supplement. You probably want to look into that.

C and B are needed to assist with iron absorption. So if the levels are low, it doesn't matter how much Iron you give, it wont be absorbed.

Tumeric is useful for all sorts of things and contains a good amount of iron that can be digestred due to the other minerals in it

PS. Find a holistic vet to assist



 
chip sanft
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Thanks for the thoughts and suggestions, everyone.

She had egg for the first time and loved that. Unfortunately liver isn't on her list. I'm going to try some other organ meats now, too, just to see if she'll eat them. Mostly she's eating chicken, and beef when she decides to accept it. Plus other things as her mood dictates: apples, nuts, bits of pizza crust (homemade whole wheat), pumpkin. Basically anything we can think of that she'll eat. I'll try some of the other things, too.

For the record, our dog has seen two vets at two different clinics and both diagnosed severe anemia and the most likely possible sources. The exact cause is still unclear: there's further blood work in store soon that will either establish or eliminate tick-borne and similar illnesses. A positive for one of those is the best outcome, as they are treatable. The other possibility is an autoimmune condition, which is not well understood and probably not curable. That means death, though they may be able to keep her around for a while with heavy chemicals. Let's hope it's a tick thing. GO TICK BORNE ILLNESS.

That's gallows humor.

This situation is sad -- I haven't cried this much since... actually I can't remember this many tears ever. But both vets agreed when I asked that our pup doesn't seem to be in pain. She's lethargic and probably doesn't feel good, but there is no indication of real discomfort. We're just trying to keep her loved up and hoping.
 
Anne Miller
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I am glad she liked the egg. We also give our little girl, pumpkin (which you mentioned)as it is helpful for anal glands, green beans as they are not fattening, and carrots for bad breath.

Canine Anemia

"Know the Iron-clad Facts

Iron is a strong component for a dog's nutritional plan when he's anemic. Iron is one of the building blocks of hemoglobin, which is the source of red blood cells. Dogs need approximately 35 mg of iron each daily to every pound of dried food they eat.

Canine anemia is also treated with herbs such as red clover, burdock root and nettle, which contain minerals and iron. Along with herbs, the following fresh foods are ideal in rounding out daily menu items for your dog.
Dietary sources for iron:

    Liver: buy treats made out of liver.
    Lean meats: select ground beef with a high percentage of lean beef.
    Fish: serve premium dog food with fish or cooked fish in moderation like salmon or sardines.
    Additional iron-heavy foods: incorporate whole grains, lima beans and chicken."



Wishing your girl a speedy recovery.  When introducing new foods feed only small amounts the first few days as they can cause diarrhea until the dog is used to them.
 
chip sanft
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Thanks, Anne!
 
Michael Cox
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Our dog suffered from severe anemia with an unknown cause a few years ago. We were back and forward to vets for months - they were looking for parasites, infections, autoimmune diseases - the full works. Eventually he was diagnosed with internal bleeding. We never did figure out a cause, although the vets suggested either trauma or a foreign body might be behind it. We only figured it out when we saw one morning a huge spreading bruise under the skin of his arm pit. The bleed had probably been going on for weeks if not months, slowly leaking into his chest cavity. He'd get better for a while, then just as we were getting hopeful he would relapse - presumably a fresh bleed leaking from the same site. He is not a big dog, and the CT scan showed a shadow the size of a grapefruit in his chest cavity full of gelatinous old blood.

Eventually he got better, the relapses stopped, and now he is fit and healthy. He spent a long time in and out of vets, needing drips and drugs to control his temperature which was spiking crazily high.

Two years later he is asleep at my feet at work.
 
chip sanft
Posts: 332
Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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Thanks, Michael, for some optimism! The vets have been talking about her as pretty much doomed if this isn't a tick-borne thing (which should become clear today or early next week) and it's really good to know there are other, non-fatal possibilities.
 
Michael Cox
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You might consider looking into a CT scan... talk to your vet about it. Something like chewing on a stick can lead to a small piece of wood floating around in the body that doesn't show up on x-rays. It won't show the stick, but it might show a bleed site.
 
chip sanft
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I'm putting this up in case someone else encounters dog anemia like this and searches for advice.

The short version: Our dog is on the mend. The cure seems to have been due to 1) LOTS OF PROTEIN AND LOTS OF LIVER, and 2) she was in good shape to start with. Oh and of course 3) drugs from the vet (nothing expensive).

At first the pup didn't want to eat much of anything and we pretty much were trying anything she might take that has lots of protein. Mostly that meant chicken and hard-boiled egg and a little rice, although she'd take an occasional bite of this or that. She wouldn't eat straight beef, liver, or most of her regular treats, though. She was one sick puppy and we kept after her to eat. She was down about 2lbs+ at the lowest. Considering she weighed 12.5lbs to start, that's a big loss.

Once she started to get better, her appetite improved. (I suppose the prednisone helped that, too.) We kept giving her lots of chicken and added liver -- lots and lots and lots of liver. As in we were (and still are) buying it by the pound. We cook it so she won't meet with something her weakened system might have trouble with and she loves it now.

As she started getting back to something vaguely resembling her usual self, we added kibble and cut back on the meat, though not the liver and eggs. We took her to the vet to check on her progress and he was impressed. He described her recovery as "almost miraculous" and very rapid considering how sick she had been.

She's still not 100% but she's getting there. She's extremely pleased with the high liver diet. She has even learned the word "liver": shout "LIVER!" happily with a piece in your hand and she'll jump in the air (like Odie). She gets lots of exercise usually and being in good shape to start with probably helped.

The vet is pretty sure that the anemia was a reaction to something but there's no way to know what. She tested negative for all the usual infectious agents. That doesn't mean there wasn't one -- it could have been something not usually encountered. But a reaction of some sort seems most likely.

As a result we're cutting out as many chemicals and treatments as possible. We especially suspect the topical anti-flea treatment. The vet didn't reject that possibility; he just said he has never seen that sort of reaction. I searched some veterinary databases and didn't find any research on that either. But it is the one correlation that seems to fit the timeline. Being that food grade diatomaceous earth is cheap, well, we aren't going to risk using flea treatments again.

Thanks for everyone's concern and suggestions! This was pretty shocking: a happy and very energetic pup just a bit over two years old laid low out of the blue.
 
Anne Miller
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I am so glad to hear that your little pup is much better.  Thanks for keeping us informed.
 
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