Differential diagnosis for anemia in rabbits




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Anemia relates to a condition where the level of erythrocytes (red blood cells, RBC) or hemoglobin, or both, is below the normal reference level. Many causes can relate to this condition. Symptoms of anemia in rabbits may include low energy level, weakness, and dizziness. Appropriate blood tests will confirm the diagnosis of anemia and help clarify its etiology, which can be classified into 4 categories:

           Nutrient deficiencies;

           Bone marrow disorders;

           Chronic diseases;



A deficiency of nutrients (like Iron, vitamin A, B12, C, folic acid) due to:

           An unbalanced diet;

           A chronic metabolic disease;


           Increased demands by the body, e.g. gestation, neoplasia, uremia (presence of excessive amounts of urea and other nitrogenous waste products in the blood, as occurs in renal failure).


Bone marrow related diseases leading to anemia can be related to:

      Toxic medication, e.g. chloramphenicol;

      Lead toxicosis;

      Infections, e.g. presence of fungal infections;

      Neoplastic diseases, like uterine adenocarcinoma, leukemia, lymphoma, or bone marrow metastasis, among others.


Chronic diseases leading to anemia can be related to:

      Presence of bacterial infections, e.g. subacute endocarditis, osteomyelitis, chronic respiratory infection, nephritis;

      Presence of fungal infections;

      Chronic blood loss, e.g. hemorrhages, internal bleeding;

      Chronic kidney or liver diseases;

      Chronic inflammatory diseases, e.g. arthritis, vasculitis (swelling condition of the blood vessels) or inflammatory bowel disease;

      Endocrine dysfunction, with a low levels of erythropoietin production, a hormone that promotes the production of erythrocytes and is produced both by the kidney (90%) and the liver (10%), hypo- or hyperthyroidism, adrenal insufficiency;

      Neoplastic diseases, see bone marrow related diseases;





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