Caring for a poodle who is physically exhausted due to anemia is emotionally difficult for the caretaker. Poodles are prone to specific blood disorders, a veterinarian needs to diagnose your dog to determine whether anemia is caused by one of those or another condition.
What is Anemia?
Anemia is a condition in which the body lacks enough red blood cells to provide oxygen to tissues. If your poodle has anemia, he may experience fatigue, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, shortness of breath or headache. These symptoms are not always obvious in dogs, but a vet will be able to diagnose the condition. If your poodle seems overly fatigued or displaying any unusual symptoms, it's time to visit the vet to determine the cause.
A Wide Variety of Causes
Some forms of anemia are caused by incorrect diets, including those with too little iron, vitamin B-12 and folate. Exposure to toxins in food and the environment can contribute to anemia. You and your veterinary nutritionist can work together to design a diet for your poodle that emphasizes foods and supplements with optimal nutrient ratios and no toxic chemicals. Other causes include cancer, kidney or liver disease, bone marrow disease, Chron's disease and other inflammatory diseases, infections and blood diseases.
Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia
Poodles are prone to two blood diseases, both potentially life-threatening. The first is called Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA). This disorder causes the poodle's immune system to destroy its own red blood cells. Potential triggers may include toxins, cancers, viruses, blood parasites, drugs or specific vaccinations. Symptoms are typical to anemia and include weakness, pallor and yellow-tinged whites of the eyes. Veterinary attention is required, and often includes steroid treatments and routine blood checks until the poodle patient stabilizes.
Von Willebrand's Disease (vWD)
The second blood disease is an inherited disorder in poodles. Von Willebrand's Disease compromises the body's ability to clot blood. This can lead to anemia and vulnerability to excess bleeding if injured or undergoing surgery. Otherwise, symptoms may not appear during everyday life. There is a genetic test for Von Willebrand's and it's diagnosed through blood work. Poodle parents who have furkids with Von Willebrand's should take extra precaution to avoid injury and be very careful in situations that may lead to potential bleeding, such as nail clipping.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.