Symptoms of anemia include loss of appetite, weakness, listlessness, fatigue and pale gums.
An anemic condition means that the red blood cells or erythrocytes are decreasing and not being replaced as fast as they should. There are several tests a veterinarian can do to detect anemia. In dogs, between 35 – 55% of the blood should be red blood cells. If the hematocrit (the ratio of the volume of red blood cells to the total volume of blood) is lower than 35%, a dog would be diagnosed as being anemic.
• Hemorrhagic Anemia, Loss of Blood, due to hemorrhage or slow bleeding (internal or external)
• Aplastic Anemia, due to diseases of the bone marrow, usually caused by serious chronic infections, the over-use of certain powerful prescription drugs, vitamin deficiency
• Hemolytic Anemia, caused by parasite infestations, protozoa or bacteria, streptococci
If not too severe the body will usually correct the problem by making more red cells. The remedies that will step up the process and reduce bleeding include:
- Aconitum 12c. For sudden onset of an acute state leading to fever or inflammation which may cause broken blood vessels, nose bleed, etc. The blood will be bright red.
- Arnica 30c. When the hemorrhage is caused from the effects of a trauma to the body. The animal may be oozing dark colored blood from any orifice.
- Ficus Religiosa 6c. This is a very good remedy to stop hemorrhage. Especially when the animal is vomiting blood or if there is blood coming from the bowel or uterus.
- Crotalus Horridus (rattle snake) 200c. When there is hemorrhaging throughout the body (can be but not always associated with a severe disease, cancer, etc.). The color of the blood is dark and very fluid and does not clot. Blood may ooze from the ears, nose. The color of the urine may dark red and bloody. The animal may vomit dark black blood or bloody slimy mucus and or have intestinal bleeding. It can also be beneficial for absorption of intra-ocular hemorrhages and non-inflammatory retinal hemorrhages.
- Ipecac 30c. Consider this remedy if the bleeding bright red, gushing and there is a lot of it. Characteristically the bleeding comes in large surges not in a continuous stream. There may be bleeding from the bowel and lung. The animal may vomit and have an aversion to food.
Aplastic Anemia/Hemolytic Anemia
- Silicea 200c. Dosing is done on an as needed basis (refer to blog post "How to Give a Homeopathic Remedy to Pets"). Consider this remedy if the anemia originated from a long standing infection. For marrow dysfunction, it has a specific affinity for the bones (where red blood cells are made). In cases where anemia and malnutrition exist together silicea can be beneficial.
- Plumbum Metallicum (Lead) 12c. 2 times daily as needed up until 2 weeks. As with all remedies, you should discontinue dosing as soon as the animal has markedly improves. The blood, alimentary and nervous systems are the specialities of Plumbum's action. There is a rapid reduction in numbers of red blood cells; hence unhealthy pale appearance, jaundice and anemia. There may be weakness in the limbs, weight loss, depression, yellowness in the whites of the eyes, greasy face, blue lines along the margins of the gums, colic, hard stools, ineffectual urging to urinate (drop by drop), cardiac weakness, dry coat, tongue trembles, disposition to yawn and stretch.
- Arsenicum Album 200c. This remedy is valuable in the treatment of chronic anemia especially if the animal exhibits extreme exhaustion and weakness. The anemia may be accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea. These animals will seem restless and thirsty but only for small drinks of water.
- Ferrum Metallicum (Iron) 3c or 30c. This remedy helps to increase hemoglobin, it is especially useful in young, animals who are not thriving. These subjects lack strength and weaken after any active effort. The guiding symptoms include great weakness, cold extremities, oversensitiveness, the animal may have flabby relaxed muscle tone, emaciation, white gums, heart palpitations. The Ferrum type pet may be worse late in the evening around midnight. Dose: 6c, once daily for 1 week, followed by 12c once daily for 1 week followed by a 30c once daily for 1 week. This should produce a rapid rise in hemoglobin. If Iron is going to aid in the pet's recovery it will do it rapidly. Dosing the remedy should be discontinued as soon as the improvement has taken place. If there is no improvement early on in the dosing, the remedy should not be continued.
- Ferrum Phosphoricum 3x, increases hemoglobin. In pale anemic subjects, with violent congestions. These animals are often susceptible to respiratory problems and fevers. Hemorrhages, are bright and can flow from any orifice.
- Calcarea Phosphorica 6x, 3 times a day for 2 weeks will stimulate the formation of new blood cells in young animals who have developed anemia after an acute disease. The animal may have bone problems, cold extremities and poor digestion. This remedy is more suited to young lean animals rather than animals who are fat and slow moving.
Natrumn Muriaticum (Chloride of Sodium) 6x, 3 times a day for 3 weeks. This remedy is of value in unthrifty conditions arising as a result of anemia. Animals needing this remedy may also have one or more of the following problems; the animal eats well but becomes emaciated, intermittent fevers, great weakness and weariness, oversensitive, prefers to be alone, dry mucus membranes, dry cracked skin and lips (especially in the middle), eruptions where the body meets the legs, eczema; raw, red and inflamed, alopecia, gastric problems, constipation, enlarged glands.
Acupressure Points for Dogs and Cats
Acu-points for Anemia
Spleen (SP) 6, strengthens the blood building organsSpleen (SP) 10, nurtures the bloodStomach (ST) 36, strengthens the bodies qiUrinary Bladder (BL) 23, tonifys the blood, strengthens the kidney and spleen
The spleen, pancreas, kidney and liver contribute to making the blood. Deficiencies in any of these organs could lead to anemia. The 4 acupressure points in this treatment are focused on strengthening and restoring the spleen qi and the quality of the blood.
Healing With Whole Foods
Foods Rich in Iron and B12
These foods will warm and nourish the spleen and regulate the qi: oatmeal, potatoes, chicken, lean red beef, mackerel and sardines.
Beef liver will provide the B complex vitamins, protein and is one of the best sources of assimilable iron.
Kale is a warming food, it will aid in blood clotting and will help to nourish and strengthen the spleen.
Kelp is rich in iodine and trace minerals 1/8 to 1/2 tsp. daily depending on the size of the animal.
Nutritional yeast is high in B12, small cats/dogs 1/2 tsp. daily mixed into food. Medium/large dogs 1 tsp. daily mixed into food.
Black Strap Molasses is high in iron and sulphur. 1/2 to 3 teaspoons daily, depending on the size of the animal (mix with food or a treat).
Herbs for Anemia
Alfalfa contains considerable amounts of vitamin K. K is thought to help accelerate replacement of red blood cells. Herbalists use alfalfa as an appetite stimulant and to strengthen to the body. It contains protein, fiber, high amounts of chlorophyll, calcium, trace minerals and vitamins A, B12, B1, C, D, E and K.
• Cats/small dogs: 1/4 tsp. powder daily, mixed into food
• Medium/large dogs: 1 tsp. powder daily, mixed into food
Note: Alfalfa should be used in small doses. It should not be used in animals with Hemorrhagic anemia because of it's 'coumarin' content which has anticoagulant qualities.
Visit our website to learn more about alternative healing methods for pets. "Pet Remedy Charts".