Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals. – Winston Churchill
And they all can get iron deficiency. As you know, iron is an important component to hemoglobin which helps carry oxygen in the blood to all tissues. Usually, animals obtain enough iron from their diet, and interestingly, pigs obtain much of their iron from the soil. No matter the source of iron, sometimes the body consumes more iron than usual or cannot absorb what is available.
There are many causes of iron deficiency, such as
- Transient anemia in neonates with an all-milk diet
- Heavy parasitic load
- Intestinal malabsorption
- Intestinal bleeding due to ulcers or tumors
- Chronic kidney disease
- Blood loss from bladder tumors
- Blood disorders such as coagulopathy
Dogs and cats who are recovering from diseases like those mentioned above, or those recovering from surgery or injury can benefit from iron containing supplements. Also pregnant, nursing, and active senior animals could use some iron support. Active senior dogs and cats are especially prone to low iron levels due to metabolic changes and sometimes lack of appetite. These animals in their golden years deserve special care.
Also, your super-hero animals who donate blood need iron supplements. Whether these heroes are your clinic blood donors or client owned animals who occasionally donate blood, you want to make sure their blood is in top condition.
While acute iron deficiency needs to be treated with iron dextran, ferrous sulfate, ferrous gluconate, or other similar concentrates, chronic deficiencies can be managed with oral vitamin supplements containing iron. Vitamin C can be used to increase the absorption of oral iron.
Be sure to check out the available supplements that are best for your patients so they can continue to look up to or down on us, but do so in their top condition.