Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) is an immune system disease in which the body attacks and destroys its own red blood cells. AIHA is a life-threatening condition. It is much more common in dogs than cats. |
In dogs with AIHA, red blood cells are still being manufactured in the bone marrow, but once released into the circulation, they have a shorter-than-normal life span. The red blood cells are either destroyed within the blood vessels or through the liver or spleen. Link Between Vaccines and Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia
Veterinarians who practice holistic medication believe there is a direct link between vaccines and autoimmune hemolytic anemia. They believe traditional vet practices tend to over-vaccinate these animals. However, traditional veterinarians believe there is no significant statistics to prove this theory.
My Maltese has been diagnosed with Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA). She has been on a Prednisone Treatment Plan for eleven months. The Veterinarian tapered off her prednisone treatment and we are now monitoring her health in case she has a relapse. We just returned from the vet. I asked the vet about the theory of vaccinations triggering a relapse of AIHA. She agreed that it was a possibility. I will now need to make a decision whether to have her vaccinated in the future.
Symptoms The symptoms of autoimmune hemolytic anemia are similar to those seen in other types of anemia which include but not limited to: Loss of appetite, Lack of energy, Tire easily, Excessive thirst, Rapid heartbeat and breathing and Pale gums.
Diagnosis Anemia is diagnosed by performing a blood test called a Complete Blood Count (CBC). A blood sample is taken and analyzed under a microscope to determine the percent of red blood cells. If the percent of red blood cells is low and the size and shape of the cells are abnormal, it will indicate a diagnosis of AIHA. If this is the case, additional diagnostic tests will be performed by the veterinarian.
Treatment AIHA may be treated with a high dose of prednisone. Prednisone is a corticosteroid which slows down the attacking of the red blood cells. If the drug therapy does not work or the symptoms appear to be life threatening, the veterinarian may perform a blood transfusion. Prognosis
Many animals with AIHA require long-term or even lifetime treatment because relapses are very common. The prognosis basically depends upon the underlying disorder. Only a veterinarian can determine the best course of treatment for a dog suffering from this disease. The veterinarian will prescribe a long term treatment plan for the animal with this disease.
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