Immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia (IMHA) is an autoimmune disease of dogs that causes severe anaemia when the immune system attacks and destroys red blood cells. Despite the widespread availability of blood transfusion and immunosuppressive medications, up to half of affected dogs unfortunately do not survive the disease. In those dogs that do respond to treatment, immunosuppressive medications, particularly steroids, may cause severe side effects that have a major effect on quality of life.
In this study, we intend to collect residual (left over) blood samples from dogs being treated for IMHA at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals at the RVC. We will use these blood samples to try to identify novel biomarkers that can be used to predict response to treatment and likelihood of developing side effects related to medications. We hope to use these markers in future to individualise treatment for individual dogs, aiming to control disease while minimising side effects and maximising quality of life.
We are interested in seeing dogs with IMHA who may qualify for this study. Eligible patients would have primary IMHA but must not have received immunosuppressive medications for more than 24 hours before referral (because this may interfere with the markers we intend to measure). If you are a veterinary surgeon treating a dog with IMHA, please feel free to contact our Internal Medicine service for advice and to discuss whether the dog may be suitable for this study.
This study is kindly funded by a grant from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.