Preventing and Treating Anemia in Horses
With horses, anemia is characterized by low blood volume. The condition may develop rapidly or it may be a chronic condition created by one of many different causes.
What Causes Anemia?
Chronic anemia may be caused by cancer, gastric ulcers, chronic kidney disease, severe nutritional deficiencies or other similar causes. Acute anemia is generally caused by rapid blood loss from a ruptured blood vessel or traumatic injury.
What are the Symptoms of Anemia in Horses?
Symptoms of anemia in horses include poor performance, weakness and general lethargy. An anemic horse may also experience a loss of appetite, hair loss and depression. Heart murmurs and pale mucous membranes may also be present in an anemic horse.
How is Anemia Treated in Horses?
Treatment for anemia depends upon the underlying causes. If it is due to blood loss, the cause of the blood loss must first be stopped. After addressing the cause of the blood loss, the horse may be put on IV fluids to help bolster the circulatory system until the bone marrow produces more blood cells. For horses suffering from chronic anemia, management of the cause is the best way to address the anemia. Whether chronic or acute anemia, the horse will need to rest and may also be prescribed a dietary supplement of iron and vitamins such as B12.