Symptoms of Heinz Body Anemia in Dogs

By Jane Meggitt

While their owners may love a good meal with plenty of onion and garlic, these items are toxic to dogs and cats. Consumption of onions or garlic may cause Heinz body anemia in pets, which affects red blood cells. Also referred to as hemolytic anemia, this condition can be fatal, so if your dog has any of these symptoms, take it to the veterinarian immediately. Do not feed any table scraps that may contain onion or garlic.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

Dogs with Heinz body anemia may vomit or pass loose, watery stools. While vomiting and diarrhea have many causes, call your veterinarian if you suspect the dog has eaten onions, garlic or other toxins.

Discolored Urine

Very dark, reddish urine may be a symptom of Heinz body anemia. Blood in the urine causes the discoloration. The veterinarian will conduct urine and blood tests to determine the cause.


With any form of anemia, gums appear pale. In Heinz body anemia, the gums and whites of the eyes may be jaundiced, or yellow in appearance. Jaundice indicates liver damage, a sign of the disease.

Breathing Difficulty

Anemic dogs may experience trouble breathing, or appear to have asthma-like attacks. Heart rate may also increase. As with any respiratory problem, get the dog to the veterinarian at once.

Subtle Symptoms

Less-specific symptoms include depression, lethargy, general weakness and lack of appetite. While these symptoms indicate a number of conditions, Heinz body anemia is a possibility. If your dog seems not quite right for more than a day or two, call your veterinarian for testing and diagnosis of the problem.