Low white blood cell count in dogs is one health issue that you definitely shouldn’t disregard. Apart from composing an integral part of your canine family member’s immune system, his white blood cells also play a key role in keeping illnesses and infections at bay.
This means that a dip in his white blood cells will affect his overall quality of life and may even result in life-threatening situations sooner or later.
As a pet parent myself, I’ve put together this blog post to walk you through the essential things to know about low white blood cell count in dogs to help you keep your canine family member as happy and healthy as can be.
Moreover, I’m also sharing a few natural options you can go for when it comes to helping boost your dog’s white blood cell count just to make things even more informative. Make sure you read this post all the way through to find out what they are.
So without further ado, let’s start things off by having a quick walkthrough of what low white blood cell count in dogs is…
What is low white blood cell count in dogs?
Low white blood cell count in dogs or neutropenia indicates a significant decrease in the number of white blood cells—technically referred to as leukocytes—produced by your canine family member’s body.
Just to emphasize, there are different types of white blood cells that circulate in your dog’s bloodstream, which are organized into two main groups called lymphocytes and phagocytes.
Lymphocytes are white blood cells whose main function is to seek out and extinguish unidentified cells, foreign tissue, and organisms that may set off infections. These are created inside your canine family member’s bone marrow. Examples of lymphocytes include B cells, T cells, as well as natural killer cells.
On the other hand, phagocytes are white blood cells that consume unwanted fungi, parasites, and bacteria that may have somehow made their way inside a dog’s body. They are also in charge of doing away with waste materials secreted by other cells. Examples of phagocytes include basophils, eosinophils, and neutrophils.
The term “low white blood cell count in dogs” can either pertain to the reduced number of white blood cells in a dog’s body as a whole or to the sharp reduction of a specific type of leukocyte. Regardless of which one your pet is going through, the same adverse effect will take place: his immune system will be negatively affected one way or another.
Although all dogs can be at risk of this health issue, there are specific breeds that are deemed as more vulnerable to this condition. These pedigrees include the Weimaraner, Chinese Shar-pei, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, German Shepherd, Gray Collie, Basset Hound, Doberman Pinscher, Beagle, Irish Setter, Giant Schnauzer, as well as the Jack Russell Terrier.
Now we’ve got that out of the bag, let’s touch on the adverse effects that your canine family member could be exposed to if he has a low white blood cell count…
What does low white blood cell count mean in dogs?
If your pooch has a white blood cell count lower than what is considered normal, his overall immune system will be immediately affected. Apart from becoming an easy target for various illnesses and infections, it will also take much longer than usual for him to get better should he be afflicted with the same.
Additionally, your canine family member could be susceptible to health issues that his body usually didn’t have a tricky time staving off before.
Even the slightest viral, bacterial, or parasitic infection could become amplified and turn into serious problems if your pet is suffering from low white blood cell count in dogs. This is the biggest reason why immediate and proper care and attention should be given as soon as you find out that your pet is going through this condition.
Next up, let’s find out if canine low white blood cell count is a serious health issue…
Is low white blood count serious in dogs?
The short answer is yes.
Unlike what a lot of people mistakenly think, though, low white blood cell count in dogs is not a disease in itself, but an indicator of some more serious underlying condition. You can think of it as a catalyst that amplifies minor health problems such as ear infection, itchy skin, stomach upset, as well as mouth inflammation even more serious than they should.
However, since your canine family member’s body is now highly vulnerable to illnesses and infections, it can be categorically considered as a serious health issue.
Now let’s discuss the low white blood cell count in dogs that can be deemed as alarming or even life-threatening in most cases…
What is an alarming WBC count in dogs?
It is crucial to take note that a reading of anything below 5,000 per microliter of blood already signifies low white blood cell count in dogs. However, this figure can still be hopefully corrected if immediate and proper care and attention is given.
But the thing is a white blood cell reading of less than 500 per microliter of blood is already deemed as extremely serious and can even be fatal. Make sure that your dog’s WBC never reaches this figure by all means.
Next, I will walk you through the possible factors that can set off low white blood cell count in dogs…
What causes low white blood cell count in dogs?
There are generally four (4) common causes of low white blood cell count in canines, namely infections, viral problems, genetic disorders, and some conventional drug therapies. We’ll check out each one below:
Some infections set off by bacteria and fungi, such as canine ehrlichiosis and histoplasmosis, tend to force a dog’s immune system to only focus on certain parts of the body instead of freely circulating its army of white blood cells in the bloodstream.
Hence, a low reading shows up when his WBC is checked.
On the other hand, severe viral attacks like in the case of canine parvovirus, coronavirus, and infectious hepatitis cause a suppressing effect on a dog’s immune system by inhibiting the release of white blood cells produced by the bone marrow.
In severe cases, parvovirus has also been observed to actually breach into the bone marrow itself to destroy the cells it is producing, which includes white blood cells.
Genetic disorders such as idiopathic neutropenia, the Pelger-Huët anomaly, and the Gray Collie syndrome induce low white blood cell count in dogs by either impairing the bone marrow’s ability to generate the ideal number of leukocytes or hampering the same from developing properly.
It’s not uncommon that dogs who are afflicted with these genetic disorders tend to die at a very young age or grow up severely stunted and extremely prone to serious illnesses and infections.
Did you know that some conventional drug therapies used for the treatment of seizure disorders (Phenobarbital), sepsis, and cancer (cephalosporins and chemotherapy agents) can have the counterproductive effect of suppressing white blood cell production in the bone marrow?
While this effect is often temporary in nature, its impact on your dog’s WBC can still be rather significant.
Now let’s talk about the signs of low white blood cell count in dogs…
Low white blood cell count in dogs symptoms you need to keep an eye on
The following are the key indicators that your canine family member could be experiencing low white blood cell count in dogs. Please take note that these should be recurring despite the constant administration of conventional medicines and similar treatment methods:
Sudden bouts of diarrhea and fever
Unexplained episodes of nausea and vomiting
A seemingly faded nose and coat color
Persistent lethargy and lack of interest in play
Bleeding spells, particularly in and around the gums
If you notice that your pooch is manifesting three or more of these symptoms, it is highly likely that he has canine low white blood cell count.
Next up, let’s touch on something that many pet parents and animal lovers have been asking me a lot lately: can low white blood cell count in dogs be cured?
Can low white blood cell count in dogs be cured?
The short answer is yes.
But the thing is contrary to what is generally believed, low white blood cell count in dogs isn’t just cured with conventional medicines such as antibiotics and similar therapies administered intravenously. You can actually boost your canine family member’s WBC using natural means.
And speaking of naturally supporting your pet during this health issue, allow me to walk you through the food that can help increase low white blood cell count in dogs for this section…
How do you treat low white blood cells in dogs naturally?
For this section, I’m going to give you a quick rundown of the foods you can use to help increase your dog’s white blood cell count. What makes the whole thing even more interesting is that chances are you’ve already got these foods in your kitchen or pantry.
Yogurt has a stimulating effect to white blood cells.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that the regular intake of yogurt was seen to have a stimulating effect on the production of phagocytes or white blood cells that consume unwanted fungi, parasites, and bacteria.
It is hypothesized that the “peptides produced from the fermentation of milk” may have a key role in this stimulating effect.
The study’s researchers emphasize that besides helping boost white blood cell production, yogurt consumption also had the beneficial effect of sustaining ideal digestive function, which kept health issues like constipation, acid reflux, and gassiness at bay.
To use yogurt to support your dog when he has a low white blood cell count, directly add this dairy product to his food. The amount will entirely depend on how large your canine family member is.
A single spoonful will already suffice for a small dog, while two spoonful will be adequate for a medium or large-sized pooch..
Red bell pepper encouraged white blood cell production.
The said study even highlighted that “animals fed the antioxidant-supplemented diet had significantly higher total white blood cell counts than the animals fed the control diet.”
To use red bell pepper to support your dog when he has a low white blood cell count, throw a couple of these in a blender and hit the pulse button for a few seconds. The goal is to get them finely minced, but not to the point of already being soggy.
Mix in half a teaspoon of the finely minced red bell pepper to your dog’s food. Remember to integrate the red bell pepper thoroughly so its natural sweet taste will infuse properly.
Blueberries help stimulate the development of white blood cells.
According to the NCBI, blueberries are abundant in anthocyanin flavonoids that have been observed to have a contribution in raising overall immune system health. It is hypothesized that this benefit is partly due to the stimulation of white blood cell development by flavonols and proanthocyanidins.
To use blueberries to support your dog when he has a low white blood cell count, you can either add these fruits to your pet’s meals or feed them as a standalone treat. About six (6) of these sweet berries will already be sufficient to accommodate a normal-sized pooch.
Fish oil helped bolster white blood cell robustness.
The Journal of Nutrition shares that the supplementation of fish oil was observed to stimulate the rapid incorporation of Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) into phospholipids of white blood cells, which helped improve their overall health and resilience.
To use fish oil to support your dog when he has a low white blood cell count, make sure you integrate fatty fish like tuna, trout, mackerel, anchovy, salmon, and herring in his regular diet. Keep in mind that the skin and flesh should only be served.
Additionally, it is important to take note that the fish should only be plainly cooked without the use of additional seasoning and flavoring.
Green tea helped increase T cell numbers.
ScienceDaily reports that green tea has been seen to help encourage the growth and development of the immune system’s regulatory T cells. Apart from boosting their numbers, green tea also makes them more efficient in doing their functions like producing cytokines and doing away with potentially harmful foreign particles.
To use green tea to support your dog when he has a low white blood cell count, steep it in warm water for at least ten (10) minutes or until the mixture has taken on a deep amber color. Let the whole thing cool down completely and mix it with your canine family member’s water.
In an alternative approach, you can also give your pet green tea straight.
Watermelon supports white blood cells by helping reduce oxidative stress.
Another study published in the NCBI shares that watermelon is loaded with a red carotenoid called lycopene, which has been observed to have antioxidant properties. It also has the ability to reduce oxidative stress.
By effectively blocking the effects of oxidative stress, lycopene not only helps white blood cells to develop like they should, but become more efficient in keeping the immune system in tiptop shape as well.
To use watermelon to support your dog when he has a low white blood cell count, give him a sufficient amount that correlates with his size. Make sure you remove the seeds and rind before serving.
Now I’d like to share with you my favorite natural and high-quality product when it comes to supporting your canine family member should his white blood cell count dip below normal…
A natural and high-quality low white blood cell count in dogs booster you should keep in mind
Zumalka by HomeoAnimal’s very own WHITE BLOOD CELLS is designed to promote your dog’s immune system by helping to maintain a healthy white blood cell count. As an added benefit, this product helps support joint health, too.
Moreover, WHITE BLOOD CELLS can also be used together with and in support of traditional treatments.
To use WHITE BLOOD CELLSto support your dog when he has a low white blood cell count, open a capsule and mix the contents either to his food or water. Depending on your canine family member’s size, up to three (3) capsules may be used each day.
Next, let’s find out how long it takes for a dog’s white blood cell count to regain normalcy should his WBC plummet…
How long does it take for WBC in dogs to return to normal?
While there isn’t an exact timeline as regards the period it takes for a dog’s WBC count to return to normal, fresh white blood cells tend to be slowly released into your canine family member’s bloodstream anywhere between five (5) days and two (2) months.
This is due to several factors that should be considered when it comes to white blood cells returning to their normal levels in a dog’s body, namely age, overall health and wellness, as well as the severity of any underlying condition.
However, regardless of these factors, it is still crucial that you give your canine family member immediate and proper care and attention as soon as you determine that his white blood cell count is dipping to avoid aggravating this health issue.
Remember, very low white blood count in dogs can lead to extremely serious or even life-threatening situations. This is why administering the proper support such as WHITE BLOOD CELLS as soon as possible will definitely help maintain the quality of life you’ve always wanted for your canine family member.
So that pretty much wraps up my blog post on low white blood cell count in dogs. I really hope that you learned a lot, especially about the natural options you can go for when it comes to supporting your pooch during this health issue.
In case your canine family member is suffering from another illness or condition and you’d like to find out how to give your dog the proper care and attention he deserves using natural means, I highly recommend that you sign up for our FREE HEALTH ADVISOR GUIDANCE right now.
Besides giving you a rundown on the natural products and treatment options that best fit your dog’s health needs, our Natural Health Advisors will also share lots of tips and recommendations on how to keep your pooch as happy and healthy as can be.
HOMEOPATH & CO-FOUNDER OF ZUMALKA
Suzie Cyrenne co-founded Zumalka over five years ago, and has worked in naturopathic pet medicine for more than six. Day-to-day, she works as the lead manager for the Zumalka staff and specializes in training the team to have thorough knowledge of pet health and the company’s extensive line of naturopathic remedies.
Suzie has gained a lot of experience from years spent in the pet health field and she earned her degree in Homeopathy at the School of Classical Homeopathy in Quebec, Canada, (a partner of the European Academy of Natural Medicine (AEMN) in France).
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