Anemia Due to Iron Deficiency in Dogs

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 Anemia, Iron Deficiency in Dogs

When the body is deficient in iron, red cells do not develop as they should. The lack of iron causes the cells that are produced by the bone marrow to be too small, and too low in oxygen-carrying features. In adult dogs, this condition is usually caused by some kind of blood loss. It is important to recognize iron-deficiency anemia, because the underlying disease can be life-threatening.

The most common site of the blood loss is the gastrointestinal tract. It is fairly common in adult dogs.

The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types 

  • Decreased growth rate
  • Anorexia
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased susceptibility to disease
  • Dark-colored, tarry stools


  • Any form of external blood loss
  • Blood-sucking parasites (e.g., fleas, ticks, hookworms)
  • Lymphoma
  • Mass in stomach or intestine
  • Urinary tract infection


  • Complete blood test (CBC)
  • Packed cell volume test (PCV)
  • Urinalysis
  • Bone marrow aspirate
  • Test for iron in the blood
  • Fecal flotation to rule out hookworms
  • Fecal examination for blood

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