Jump to section
Anemia is a decrease in the mass of red blood cells, the result of lack of production, loss of red blood cells, or destruction of red blood cells. There are two types of anemia: regenerative and non-regenerative. In non-regenerative anemia, the cause is usually a decrease in erythropoietin (a hormone controlled by the kidneys that influences red blood cell production as a response to low oxygen in tissues) or bone marrow abnormalities. The bone marrow does not effectively respond to the decrease levels of red blood cells. With regenerative anemia, alternatively, the bone marrow responds to the anemia by increasing production of red blood cells and releasing reticulocytes (immature red blood cells that don’t have a nucleus). Regenerative anemia can be caused by a hemorrhage or hemolysis (the rupture or destruction of blood cells). Treatment depends on the underlying cause, but may include fluid therapy, removal of any external causes (such as drugs or foods), and blood transfusions. Prognosis depends on the cause, but in many cases, continued transfusions may be required.
Regenerative anemia is a type of anemia where the bone marrow acts as it is supposed to by releasing reticulocytes (immature red blood cells) in an attempt to make up for the absence of red blood cells. This loss of red blood cell mass can be caused by blood loss, poisoning, decreased bone marrow production, or genetics, among other causes. Symptoms include tachycardia, hypotension, lethargy, and weakness.
Symptoms vary depending on the degree, duration, and cause of the anemia, but may include:
Regenerative anemia is characterized by reticulocytosis, a condition where reticulocytes (immature red blood cells) are increased in circulation. This indicates that the body is responding appropriately to the anemia by releasing red blood cells (before they have matured) to compensate for the lower levels in the blood stream. These reticulocytes are polychromatophilic (they have an affinity to multiple acid, neutral and/or basic stains) on routine blood tests.
Non-regenerative anemia is determined by the absence of reticulocytosis, indicating that erythropoiesis (red cell production) is not functioning properly. Non-regenerative anemia develops slowly and has many potential causes.
Regenerative anemia can be caused by poisoning, infection, trauma, or other conditions that may cause a loss of blood or hemolysis (shortened life span of erythrocytes). Some of these possible causes include:
Your veterinarian will likely ask questions to establish a complete medical history. Some of these questions may focus on symptoms, exposure to certain toxins (such as rodenticides, heavy metals, or toxic plants), current drug treatments, vaccinations, history of travel, or previous illnesses. In addition, the following diagnostic tests may be used:
Analysis of red blood cells will focus on size and hemoglobin concentration. Complete analysis of the red blood cells will help to identify or rule out potential causes, including macrocytosis (increase in mean corpuscular volume) which suggests regenerative anemia, microcytosis (decrease in mean corpuscular volume) which indicates anemia from iron deficiency, lead poisoning established through abnormalities in hemoglobin concentration, and oxidative injury indicated by Heinz body formation.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause and severity of the regenerative anemia, as well as any underlying conditions that are causing or influencing the anemia. Some of these treatments may include:
Recovery and management will depend largely on the underlying condition. If the anemia cannot be completely treated, your veterinarian will likely require multiple follow up visits for blood transfusions or supplemental therapy to help with the anemia.
*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.
Regenerative Anemia Average Cost
From 367 quotes ranging from $1,500 - $8,000
Protect yourself and your pet. Compare top pet insurance plans.
1 found helpful
our 13 year old goldendoodle has just been diagnosed with anemia ( red blood cells being produced but cant keep up )(Regenerative anemia i think) she been healthy her whole life but has been less active and excessive panting at times for over a year She just getting over a bladder infection. She seems happy and healthy just low energy and strength. Our vet whats to do xrays and ultrasounds but we feel at her age there might not be anything that is treatable. We would rather have our dog happy for her time left rather than chemo or surgery . Is there something that can help with this? thanks
Sept. 28, 2020
Dr. Michele K. DVM
Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, you have to find the cause of anemia before you can treat it. That is what your veterinarian is trying to do, and if you choose to not have the testing, that is fine but that limits choices for treatment. If you are deciding to keep her comfortable as long as possible, that is definitely an option, but there would not be any treatments that anyone could suggest. If you decide to have the ultrasound or the X-ray, that may give your veterinarian a little bit more information as far as treatment. I hope that she remains comfortable for a while longer with you.
Oct. 6, 2020
Was this experience helpful?
0 found helpful
My 12 year old lab has regenerative anemia and has had it for 6 months. It is highly responsive to cortisone. When we take her off it she crashes into anemia and when we keep her dose at 20mg she is reasonably stable. However now her epidermis has been affected by the prolonged cortisone use. My vet wants to do exploratory surgery and take gut and liver samples. Nearly $3000 spent and still no answers.
© 2021 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.
Download the Wag! app
Download the Wag! app