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Anxious about Anemia? Check out this refresher

Anemia is defined as a decrease in red blood cell mass

  • There are different ways to measure a patient’s degree of anemia. Automated analyzers calculate hematocrit (HCT), while manual techniques measure packed cell volume (PCV)

The two major classifications of anemia are whether it is regenerative or non-regenerative; the main difference is reticulocytosis; however, keep in mind it can take 3-5 days for the bone marrow to reach a peak regenerative response

  • The main causes of regenerative anemia are hemolysis and blood loss

  • Some causes of hemolysis could include immune-mediated, parasites, oxidative damage, among others

  • Cases of blood loss anemia would have decreased total protein (TP) values

  • Clinical signs indicative of blood loss can shows signs of petechiae, epistaxis and melena

  • The main cause of non-regenerative anemia is decreased production

MCV and MCHC can used to identify patterns of anemia

  • Regenerative anemias are usually macrocytic and hypochromic

  • Iron deficiency anemia is characterized by microcytosis and is hypochromic

  • Non-regenerative anemia is normocytic and normochromic


  1. Tilley, L. P., & Smith, F. W. (2005). The 5-minute veterinary consult: Canine and feline. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

  2. Yin, S. A. (2010). The small animal veterinary nerdbook. Davis, CA: CattleDog Pub.

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