Pyruvate Kinase is an important red blood cell enzyme that is responsible to convert glucose to energy when oxygen is low. If the amount of the enzyme is low, the red blood cells break down more rapidly than usual, leading to hemolytic anemia. The cells build up sodium, become swelled and eventually burst. Red blood cells that do not burst can become defective and are eventually destroyed by the liver.
The deficiency of pyruvatic kinase (PK) causes a marked shortening of the life span of red blood cells, and this causes a severe hemolytic anemia – low red blood cell numbers due to cell breakdown.
Certain breeds of dogs are predisposed to this hereditary disorder including the basenji, beagle, West Highland white terrier, Cairn terrier, miniature poodle, dachshund, Chihuahua, pug, American Eskimo dogs.
Common symptoms associated with Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency are
Pale mucous membranes
Elevated heart rate (tachycardia)
Inability to perform routine exercises