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Immune Mediated Anemia


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Belle, my heart dog, was diagnosed with Immune Mediated Anemia today and started on prednisone, a vit. mineral supplement and sucralfate.


I was doing some internet researching and everything I've read has me scared for her recovery. :(


Has anyone else had to deal with this and what was the outcome.


I think I'm sort of numb at the moment. I just don't understand how this could happen. Just yesterday morning she was playing and carrying on just like a normal healthy border collie and yesterday afternoon she started stopped playing and just started to lay around.


If anyone has ANY information they can pass on, I would be truly grateful!!


Thanks for reading.



This is my girl, Belle.

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I'd also ask the vet to check for tick-borne disease. At least a couple of tick diseases can cause IMHA.


From Vetnet.uk:

Anemia is not a disease by itself, it is a symptom of some condition. In this case the condition is infection with tick disease. So treating the condition should begin to resolve the anemia. But it's not quite so simple as that. The immune system is now on high alert and needs to be checked while the doxycycline fights the tick disease. It is really a careful balancing act.


From vetinfo.com


Ehrlichiosis is one of the causes of immune mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) [emphasis added] and this must be kept in mind in areas in which the infection is likely.


From Gil. Ash's page on Tick Links:

In the first, or acute stage of E. canis, the outlook for cure is best, but symptoms can be vague and easily missed or put down to a mild viral infection. If a dog is feverish, if his lymph glands are enlarged and he's generally off-color, a vet looking further may find the characteristic signs of early TBD: an enlarged spleen, an abnormal decrease in blood platelets, an abnormal decrease in white blood cells, and/or nonregenerative anemia.




Babesia canis and Babesia gibsoni are protozoal parasites, not bacteria like the other organisms that cause TBD. Hemolytic anemia, essentially destruction of the red blood cells that carry oxygen to the blood, is the hallmark of babesiosis and half of all infected dogs will need transfusion.


...In the chronic stage, the jaundice and anemia of earlier stages is not as apparent but dogs are weak, their mucous membranes may be pale and body condition deteriorates along with appetite. The spleen of a dog with chronic babesiosis is very enlarged, according to Ron Hines, DVM, Ph.D., and often kidney and liver function is poor. Feces may be yellow and the urine may appear orange. Babesia canis can infect any dog and is very often found in greyhounds rescued from race tracks, while B. gibsoni is almost always found only in pit bull terriers. Babesiosis is generally detected in blood work done on a dog without symptoms or in the chronic stage. Direct blood-to-blood transmission of B. gibsoni has occurred in fighting dogs. Unfortunately, the disease can be mistaken for Auto-immune Hemolytic Anemia (also called Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia) as an infected dog will test positive for AIHA. [emphasis added]


The testing lab of choice for tick disease (per the tick list) is Protatek in Arizona.


From a Greyhound page:

ProtaTek is uniquely specialized in the diagnosis of tick-borne disease. Our staff consists of individuals with long-term scientific/University experience with such diseases. Because of our concern for the Greyhound breed, ProtaTek has established a panel with a special discounted fee for diagnosis of all four tick-borne diseases, as well as Valley Fever, to make testing affordable to the Greyhound owner.


For more information about the services available, have your veterinarian contact:


Dr. Cynthia J. Holland

ProtaTek Reference Laboratory

574 East Alamo Street, Suite 90

Chandler, AZ 85225

Tel: (602) 545-8499 Fax: (602) 545-8409


Here's the Protatek website:



You can download the brochure to see what they offer. When I contacted them they were very helpful. As noted on the greyhound site I quoted above, they do have "package" deals. I was told by folks on Tick-L to ask for the test that checks for four basic TBDs and to get the test for anaplasmosis as an add on. When I looked into the testing, the prices were very reasonable.


Don't let the vet tell you that TBDs aren't a problem in your area. Get the testing done. In fact, I'd probably insist that my vet put my dog on an aggressive dose of doxycycline while awaiting test results. The doxy won't hurt and could help.


Here is the Tick Links page. Lots of good information is there. If you go to Gil. Ash's page, and click on treatment, you will find the recommended standard treatment protocols for TBDs.



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I am sorry about the diagnosis. Can't add anything to the medical info already posted.

However, my love Blimpie, was diagnosed roughly 6 years ago and just celebrated her 12th birthday last saturday and is going strong.

Wasn't any easy ride and I am still having to be vigilant. No episodes in the last 3,4 years now. We did the doxi and pred. Along with some supplements and a few lifestyle changes.

Keeping you and your girl in my thoughts and prayers.

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I had a 4year old returned because the owner was moving. Her chance for a nice home came up, but I could not get the 1 1/2 year old rabies certificate. So I took her in for her rabies vaccination. A week later, she became weak, ate very little, so I made a vet appointment for the next morning. I had to carry her from the house and the vet carried her into the clinic. He checked, and concluded she had AIHA. Might be from the rabies shot - at another clinic. We had to euthanize. I hate having to do rabies ever since. Scares me. I think this autoimmune stuff can be stimulated by many challenges. Best of wishes to Belle. My bel is soon to be 14, and still like helping with the sheep.

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Thanks Karen for passing on my Thanks to everyone. I can't even type this without crying.


Hopefully ProtaTek will find that she has a TBD that caused this and we can get on with the treatment. At least she's on doxy now.


I'll try to keep everyone posted, but if I can't, I know Karen will be willing to take over.


Thanks again everyone for the great information and the well wishes. We are definitely going to need them even if it ehrlichia.

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Due to antique veterinary equipment and lots of other major mistakes it was found today that Belle does NOT have IMHA. What she does have though is a new vet :)

Here's hoping there will be good news soon!

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Well the new vet got the blood test, the urinalysis and the fecal results back today.


Belle is a very health little pupper. :D


I guess she just a have a catch or something that day. :blink: I may never know.


Anyway, she is scheduled for spaying at her appt. in May. DH and I had been discussing doing this anyway before this scare, but now I've made the appt.


Thanks everyone for their well wishes and happy thoughts. :D

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