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Anemia Caused by Renal Disease in Animals


Steven L. Marks

, BVSc, DACVIM-SAIM, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University;

Allison Kendall

, DVM, MS, DACVIM, North Carolina State University

Reviewed/Revised Sep 2019 | Modified Oct 2022

Chronic renal disease Renal Dysfunction in Small Animals Failure of the filtration function of the kidneys leads to the development of azotemia (an excess of nitrogenous compounds in the blood), which may be classified as prerenal, renal, postrenal... read more Renal Dysfunction in Small Animals is a common cause of nonregenerative anemia in animals. Erythropoietin is normally produced by the peritubular endothelial cells in the renal cortex. Animals with renal disease produce less erythropoietin, leading to anemia. Darbepoetin is hyperglycosylated compared with recombinant human erythropoietin and anecdotally is associated with a reduced risk of red cell aplasia. The recommended starting dose is 1 mcg/kg, SC, once weekly in cats and 0.5–1 mcg/kg, SC, once weekly in dogs. PCV is monitored weekly until the desired improvement is reached (this will vary with the initial degree of anemia), after which the dose interval is increased. Animals receiving darbepoetin or recombinant human erythropoietin require supplemental iron to support RBC production. (Also see Hematinics Hematinics Anemia develops as a result of three main mechanisms: hemorrhage, hemolysis, and decreased erythrocyte production. Some causes of anemia can be treated pharmacologically by directly addressing... read more .)

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