Autoimmune hemolytic anemia in dogs

What is anemia?

Anemia is not a disease, but rather a symptom of some kind another pathological process or disease. Anemia is medical term for a decrease in the number of circulating red blood cells, hemoglobin, or both of them. Hemoglobin delivers oxygen to the tissues and cells of the body, and the patient, who have anemia will suffer from symptoms associated with lack of oxygen.

Autoimmune hemolytic anemia in dogs

Red blood cells are mainly formed in the bone marrow, and then enter the bloodstream. When aging or damaging these cells, they are removed from the blood and recycled to form new ones. Red blood cell count may decrease if their production in the bone marrow decreases, or if in the general bloodstream their increased loss will occur.

What is autoimmune hemolytic anemia?

Autoimmune means an immune response directed against yourself, and the word hemolysis comes from the Greek words “hemo” and “lysis”, mean blood and crack accordingly. Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AHA) is a disease of the immune system, when it destroys its own red blood cells. In dogs with AHA red blood cells continue to be produced in the bone marrow, but as soon as they enter the bloodstream, they have shorter than usual, period of life.

This disease may also be called immune mediated. hemolytic anemia.

What are the causes of autoimmune hemolytic anemia?

AHA may be idiopathic or symptomatic (secondary).

In dogs with idiopathic AHA, the immune system does not work properly and produces antibodies that target their red blood cells. According to various estimates, idiopathic AHA in dogs accounts for approximately three quarters of all cases of AHA.

In dogs with secondary or symptomatic AHA red blood cells is altered by some pathological process or toxin. The immune system recognizes such altered blood cells are foreign and destroys them. Secondary aga may be caused by cancer, infection, blood parasites such as babesiosis, reaction to drugs, snake bites, poisons or bee stings. Cancer (neoplasia) in dogs is the most A common cause of secondary AGA.

Red blood cells can be destroyed in the blood vessels during a process called intravascular hemolysis, or when passing through the liver or spleen through a process, called extravascular hemolysis. In both processes, the level hemoglobin will decrease, which will increase the load on liver.

What are the symptoms of autoimmune hemolytic anemia?

Most dogs with AHA develop severe anemia, and their gums become very pale. Dogs with anemia become lethargic and get tired quickly, this is due to the fact that in the blood there lack of red blood cells that carry oxygen to tissues. Dog may faint or become disoriented. due to low oxygen levels in the brain. To compensate lack of oxygen in the tissues, the heart begins to beat faster, and the dog will breathe more quickly.

As the disease progresses, the body will accumulate high levels of bilirubin, a breakdown product of red blood cells as a result of hemolysis. Some amount bilirubin will come out with urine, as a result of which it will become dark. High levels of bilirubin make the skin, gums and others mucous membranes are yellow, i.e. cause jaundice. A dog can vomiting appears and appetite is greatly reduced.

How is AHA diagnosed?

Anemia is diagnosed using an advanced blood test. AT in case of AHA, the number and percentage of red blood cells will be low, and the size and shape of the cells will be abnormal. In many cases, AHA autoagglutination occurs, or abnormal adhesion red blood cells.

In case of detection of AHA, the veterinarian may also recommend passing additional diagnostic tests to determine whether the disease is primary or secondary.

Treatment of autoimmune hemolytic anemia

If the dog’s anemia is so severe that it is a threat to her life, then she will need a blood transfusion. Before transfusion, you need to take a blood sample for analysis. the main goal blood transfusion is to stabilize the condition of the dog, indigenous the cause of anemia should be diagnosed using tests, and then an appropriate course of treatment should be taken.

If the AHA is secondary, or symptomatic, then treatment should be directed to the root cause. If the main reason cannot be determined, or the disease will be diagnosed as idiopathic, immunosuppressive therapy will be prescribed. AT in some cases of idiopathic AHA, the dog responds well to immunosuppressive doses of corticosteroids. In other cases, the patient may require a combination of immunosuppressive preparations.

Based on test results, your veterinarian will outline a plan the treatment best suited to your dog’s needs. In complex In cases, the veterinarian may recommend referral to a specialist conventional medicine.

Prognosis of the treatment of autoimmune hemolytic anemia

The prognosis of treatment for dogs with AHA depends on the specific diagnosis, as well as the general condition of the patient. In many cases, the disease manage to be controlled with medication. After stabilization of the dog, anemia usually goes away, and veterinarian may recommend lowering doses of immunosuppressive drugs for several months to reduce any side effects. Relapses are characteristic of AHA, so you it is necessary to monitor the dog more closely after medication will be reduced or discontinued.

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