Merck Manual

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Professional Version

Anemia of Chronic Disease in Animals

By

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

Medically Reviewed Sep 2019 | Modified Oct 2022

Anemia of chronic disease can be characterized as mild to moderate, nonregenerative, normochromic, and normocytic. It is the most common form of anemia seen in animals. The anemia can be secondary to chronic inflammation or infection, neoplasia, liver disease, hyper- or hypoadrenocorticism, or hypothyroidism. The anemia is mediated by cytokines produced by inflammatory cells, which lead to decreases in iron availability, RBC survival, and the marrow’s ability to regenerate. Treatment should be directed at the underlying disease and often results in resolution of the anemia.

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