Anemia in dogs and cats

Anemia in dogs and cats is defined as a decrease in the red blood cell (RBC) mass and in practical terms can be defined as a decrease in the pack cell volume (PCV), the hemoglobin (Hb) concentration, or the RBC count below reference values for the species. In special circumstances, anemia is diagnosed in a given animal with a PCV that has decreased over time, even though it may remain within reference values.

Because the reference values reflect the actual status in 95% of the feline and canine population, occasionally an “abnormal” value is indeed normal for a particular animal, prompting a needless evaluation in search of other abnormalities. It should be emphasized that anemia does not constitute a primary diagnosis; therefore every effort should be made to identify its cause.

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