Merck Manual

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Anemia Caused by Renal Disease in Animals

By

Steven L. Marks

, BVSc, MS, MRCVS, DACVIM (SAIM), North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine;


Allison Kendall

, DVM, MS, DACVIM, North Carolina State University

Last full review/revision Sep 2019 | Content last modified Oct 2019

Chronic renal disease 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 0.45 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.)

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