AIHA | Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia in Dogs | Information on Canine AIHA

Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA) in Dogs

Definition of AIHA

Autoimmune hemolytic anemia – also called immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, IMHA and AIHA - is a common, sometimes manageable but potentially fatal disease where a dog’s red blood cells (RBCs) are killed prematurely. Normal RBCs live for about 110 to 120 days. Old ones are broken down and removed from circulation. Healthy RBCs distribute oxygen throughout the body. The immune system of dogs with IMHA destroys its own RBCs, because it mistakenly identifies them as being dangerous. When RBCs are destroyed faster than they are regenerated, the dog becomes weak, lethargic, depressed and disinterested in food and normal activities. Its gums and tongue will get pale, its heart rate will elevate and it can collapse with mild exertion. The dog’s, skin, ears and eyes may become yellow, called jaundice. Survival rates for dogs with IMHA are fairly low. However, if diagnosed early, treatment and management can be effective.

Causes and Prevention of AIHA in Dogs

Autoimmune hemolytic anemia – also called immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, idiopathic nonregenerative immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, AIHA and IMHA - is a common disease in dogs that involves destruction of red blood cells (RBCs) by the dog’s own immune system. Why this happens is still a medical mystery. However, given the severity of the condition, owners should take this form of anemia very seriously.There are several different classification schemes or subtypes of IMHA.Primary or idiopathic IMHA involves

Symptoms and Signs of AIHA in Dogs

Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), also called immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA), is a common, often manageable but potentially fatal condition in domestic dogs. Basically, the dog’s immune system begins attacking and destroying its own red blood cells. This significantly reduces the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen to body tissues, which in turn causes the observable signs of the disease.Dogs suffering from autoimmune hemolytic anemia typically show the same signs as dogs suffering from other forms of

Diagnosing AIHA in Dogs

Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIMA, IMHA) is not especially easy to diagnose. Veterinarians must conduct a number of tests to rule out other causes of anemia to ultimately arrive at a diagnosis of IMHA. Owners must be patient and committed to the diagnostic regimen.The initial database for dogs that show signs suggestive of anemia includes a complete blood count (CBC), a serum biochemistry panel and a urinalysis. The CBC should include what is called red blood

Treatment and Prognosis for AIHA in Dogs

When an owner suspects that her dog may be anemic, she should take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA, also called immune mediated hemolytic anemia, or IMHA can be very serious, as it is caused by the dog’s immune system targeting and destroying its own red blood cells. Left untreated, and even sometimes with appropriate treatment, an estimated 40% to 60% of dogs with IMHA will eventually die from

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