Posted : 12/18/2008 12:20:09 PM
Do you have a dog with IMHA? Are you simply researching? Please feel free to email me -- I'm pretty knoweldgeable about this heinous disease.
AIHA = auto-immune hemolytic anemia
IMHA = immune mediated hemolytic anemia
Same disease. AIHA is the "old" name for it is all.
In IMHA/AIHA the immune system turns on the body and begins to kill the body's own red-blood cells. It may simply kill the 'adult' red blood cells in the bloodstream, or it may go deeper and kill the 'baby' red blood cells called reticulocites in the bone marrow where red blood cells are formed.
My Billy the Venturin english cocker spanYELL is an IMHA survivor. In June, 2006 he was diagnosed and between mid-June and mid-July, 2006 he had SIX blood transfusions. It took weeks for his body to absorb enough cyclosporine (Atopica -- dogs can NOT take the human cyclosporine formulation) and prednisone (super high doses) to push the immune system down enough so it would stop killing red blood cells.
Billy's immune system was killing the red blood cells deep in the bone marrow.
He was on prednisone for almost 8 months. He was on cyclosporine nearly 18 months before we could get him weaned off it.
You are never "cured" of IMHA -- you simply get the immune system used to not attacking the body. But it can, at any time at all, recur. OR the body can flip-flop and the immune system may attack *another* part of the body.
In Billy's case we used not only regular veterinary medicine, but also "TCVM" (traditional Chinese veterinary medicine). In addition to the pred, Atopica, and various stomach protectors (he took twice the amount of Prilosec that an adult human would take every day), he got acupuncture and took various herbs to help build his blood, combat side effects, and to help protect the liver (he took **massive** amounts of milk thistle, a/k/a silymarin, which protected his liver and kidneys and enabled his body to survive the horrible medicines used to save his life).
Since finally getting off the drugs, we have continued the TCVM/acupuncture and have also use homeopathy to help detox his body gently and help him swing back to real, true health. He's nearly 9 now. He feels good and does really well, but I watch him VERY VERY closely.
Auto-immune could raise it's head any time. Billy will never EVER be able to have another vaccine as long as he lives. He does *not* get rabies -- we titer for even that, and my vet helps me get a waiver from the State of Florida.
Yes, this has aged him, but he's doing well. Very very well.
Another note -- cocker spaniels generally do NOT respond favorably to IMHA. They rarely survive. In fact, I know of only one other buffy cocker who has survived IMHA (Mia is in the UK.)