Published: 19 Jan 2018 | Last Updated: 24 Jan 2018 10:20:40

Dr Barbara Glanemann and Dr James Swann have been awarded a Kennel Trust Charitable Trust grant for Evaluation of Biomarkers for assessing response to treatment and outcome in dogs with immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia.

Immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia (IMHA) is an important autoimmune disease of dogs that results in a high death rate and considerable distress for affected animals and their owners.  Several breeds, including Cocker spaniels, English Springer spaniels, and Maltese terriers are predisposed to developing IMHA.  The disease can be treated with immunosuppressive drugs but these also have side effects that may compromise the quality of life (QoL) of dogs and their owners.  Currently, standardised treatment protocols exist for dogs with IMHA, but we suggest that this ‘one size fits all’ approach is no longer appropriate if it is possible to modulate medical treatment according to the needs of each individual.  

Dog with pale anaemic gums

The researchers propose to analyse left-over blood samples from dogs with IMHA to assess novel markers of disease severity that could be used in future to refine and individualise treatment.  In particular, they wish to determine whether the concentrations of inflammatory molecules and expression of particular genes in the blood can be used to predict whether dogs will respond to treatment, survive, maintain an acceptable QoL, or suffer a relapse of the disease in the future.  

It is anticipated that this study will provide new and clinically useful tools to monitor the progress of dogs with IMHA.  These tools will then be used to refine the therapeutic approach for individual animals to maximise their chance of a positive outcome, while minimising side effects.

Dog with agglutinating blood, which is a feature of the disease.

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