Chihuahua Blood Diseases
What does blood do?
In order to better understand Chihuahua blood diseases let’s take a look at what blood does. Blood exists out of red and white blood cells, blood platelets and plasma. Plasma in its turn exists out of water, proteins, hormones, antibodies and other chemical compounds. Rode and white blood cells are made in the bone marrow. Rode blood cells that transport oxygen and typically reside within the spleen. White blood cells primary role is to defend the body against viruses, bacteria and diseases. Blood platelets form clots to stop bleeding from for example scratches. The heart pumps blood throughout the body in order to provide all tissue from the necessary oxygen, immune cells and nourishment. On the other hand it also takes away all the excess products so they can be excreted.
A lack of red blood cells is called anemia and can be caused by different reasons:
- A shortage of production of erythropoietin by the kidneys (due to a kidney disease) can cause anemia. Erythropoietin is a hormone which is responsible for stimulating the production of red blood cells.
- Malnutrition can lead to anemia due to a lack of calories, vitamins and/or minerals
- Certain chronic diseases can lead to anemia.
- Auto-immune hemolytic anemia is a disease where the body starts producing antibodies that destroy their own blood cells.
- Traumas such as external or internal bleeding after an accident can lead to anemia simply due to a loss of blood.
- If your dog has by accident eaten painkillers (mainly paracetamol) or rat poison be sure to take him to the vet as eating this can cause anemia as well.
When your Chihuahua suffers from anemia you can normally see following symptoms:
- Panting due to a lack of oxygen that is being pumped around
- Elevated heart rate due to the heart overcompensating for a lack of oxygen
- Gums look pale due to a lack of blood
- Lethargic behaviour
When your Chihuahua is in acute danger a blood transfusion could be a life saving necessity. But even after a blood transfusion it is important to remove the underlying causes of the anemia. In case of rat poisoning it’s administering an antidote. When confronted with other causes it becomes more complex. We always advise you to consult a veterinarian when your dog exhibits one or more of the symptoms described above.