Canine Hemolytic Anemia
Our Alaskan Malamute Xena passed away on 2-27-09. She was a little over eight years olds and we had her since she was nine months old. Xena had been diagnosed with canine hemolytic anemia three weeks earlier and she had an extremely severe case. Unfortunately this disease is becoming more prevalent and our friend in the Redlands just lost her female Irish Setter who she also rescued to this disease. Please post information about this disease and educate your members. Thank you.
Canine Hemolytic Anemia
Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia in Dogs
Autoimmune hemolytic anemia is one of the most common of the autoimmune disorders known to affect our canine friends; causes include bee stings, infections, and vaccines.
Canines, like their human companions, are predisposed to developing many different autoimmune conditions. One of the most common autoimmune disorders to affect dogs is autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), which is also known as immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA). AIHA can occur as a primary condition or a secondary condition related to other autoimmune disorders or malignancies. Autoimmune hemolytic anemia is characterized by the development of autoantibodies that destroy red blood cells. Please see my other article on IMHA in Dogs.
Females of all breeds, even when they are spayed, have a higher risk for AIHA than males. Although all breeds can be affected, certain breeds have a genetic predisposition for developing AIHA due to changes in their immune system regulation, a deficiency of pyruvate kinase enzymes, or abnormalities in their red blood cell morphology. Breeds at higher risk for AIHA include:
Old English Sheepdogs
American Cocker Spaniels
English Springer Spaniels
American Springer Spaniels
West Highland White Terriers
Symptoms and Disease Course
6 years ago
Canine autoimmune hemolytic anemia may also occur as a feature in canines with various neoplasms, including leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and various tumors. In addition, canine AIHA can occur in dogs with other autoimmune disorders, especially systemic lupus erythematosus and canine hypothyroidism.
Treatment consists of corticosteroids such as prednisone and prednisolone as well as other immunosuppressant medications such as cyclophosphamide. Most canines respond well to a course of treatment lasting several months. In cases of relapse, a longer course of medication may be required. Other therapies for more severe cases include blood transfusions, splenectomy, and intravenous immunoglobulin therapy.
6 years ago
Anemia, with low red blood cell count, hemoglobin and/or hematocrit
Pallor of the mucus membranes
Hematuria (presence of blood in the urine)
Clinical Signs Used for Diagnosis
Spherocytosis seen on blood smear
Positive direct Coombs test
Known and Suspected Causes
As in humans, AIHA in canines occurs as a result of genetic and environmental factors. Dogs who are genetically predisposed develop AIHA when they’re exposed to certain environmental triggers. There have been several reports of canine AIHA caused by bee stings due to the constituents present in bee venom, especially melittin, histamines, hyaluronidase, hemolysins and phopholipase A. Other causes of AIHA include infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, and parasites), zinc toxicity from the ingestion of pennies, vaccinations, and certain medications, including antibiotics and analgesics.
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