Lumineux Sir Koda Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia - May 2014
best described in his owners words..........
Koda has been wonderful and always has been full of energy as we expected. Some months ago I noticed some unusual behaviour, with Koda loosing balance, coming off the pathway, or behaving like someone drunk. This behaviour was only happening after a hefty run and plenty of exercise. I initially attributed this to over-oxygenation due to his heavy breathing, which in turn can make the head spin or it is how it is for humans.
In early March we lost our Golden Retriever, Pashka, and Koda, not long after, stopped eating after reducing his appetite to nothing. We initially thought to be related to the loss of his companion, but after a while it was affecting him too much and we took him to the vet which didnt take it seriously and sent us back home with advice to provide other types of food to entice him to eat. It slightly worked but not for long and Koda returned into starving again.
Back to the vet which by then took our call seriously and with the loss of weight it was clear that Koda wasnt in a good shape. The vet diagnosis is an Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia and since then we have a blood test done every week and we provide Koda with: 2x a day 25mg Prednisolone
contacted by Koda's owner I looked this up on the internet
and asked about it in a Belgian Shpherd Health group I belomg to.
There are 2
types from the info I have seen, one type can be triggered by
something eg vaccinations.
These websites had the most useful information.
Information from members of BSD Health group
I lost my four year old Belgian last July to this. We did everything
including a blood transfusion, but nothing worked. I will pray that Koda
is strong enough to beat this terrible illness.
I didn't have a Belgian with it, but our Siberian husky had it. He
survived, but he went through a life threatening illness every other year
it seemed after that. He had an underlying disease that it is only in a
small section of the US (Valley Fever), so I doubt you have it in
Australia, but I believe it contributed to him getting the disease. Do you
have tick diseases, namely ehrlichiosis there? I believe such diseases can
trigger it. Also, Chinook got it soon after being vaccinated for rabies. I
don't know whether that was a factor as well or not.
A four-year old bitch that was a daughter from one of my dogs showed
symptoms of serious illness immediately following a rabies vaccination at
4 years old (she also showed some symptoms after her puppy shot). She was
diagnosed with IMHA a couple days later. Unfortunately she did not
survive. Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial. I don't think the
typical vet is prepared to handle such complicated cases. Supervision by
an expert internist/immunologist is essential.
I was just reading something about this and it was
linking problem to vaccinations. I will see if I can find info
I lost my 9 yr old Terv to IMHA during a sudden acute attack, he never
showed any clinical signs before this. The vet clinic in Portland who
treated him were unable to diagnose him in time and in retrospect, the
given emergency treatment was counterproductive, if not counter indicated.
Please tell your puppy people to seek help from someone experienced with
Sparkle got her shots in early March, so we know they did not cause her
AIHA. We also considered that she had been in season at the beginning of
February and wasn't due in until August. Sparkle had been dosed with
Advantix in May. I first noticed that Sparkle was acting off at a dog
show in June. She performed everything I asked but I kept thinking that
something was wrong. Her breeder could not see anything wrong as she
went BOS and got 2 RAE legs on Saturday and Sunday, finishing in the
ribbons for each class.
I agree with Dave that most regular vets do not know how to treat the
disease. We went to MedVet to an internist. He did everything he could
think of but we could not reverse her symptoms and I lost her within two
I pray for every dog that comes down with this terrible illness. Each
case is individual and sadly, many do not survive. I pray also, that in
the future, better treatments will be developed.
vaccines are implicated in this illness.
According to the article I found AIHA may be primary or idiopathic, or it
may be secondary.
With primary AIHA, the dog's immune system is not working properly and it
incorrectly makes antibodies that target its own red blood cells. In dogs,
it is estimated that about three-quarters of cases of AIHA are primary.
With secondary AIHA, the surface of the red blood cells becomes altered by
an underlying disease process or a toxin. The dog's immune system then
recognizes the altered red blood cells as 'foreign' invaders that must be
destroyed. Secondary AIHA may be triggered by cancer, infection, blood
parasites such as Babesia (see our handout on Babesiosis), drug reactions,
snake bites (see handout on Snakebite Envenomization), chemicals, toxins,
or bee stings. In dogs, neoplasia or cancer appears to be the most common
cause of secondary AIHA.
I know of a few cases in Belgians and also a few in the "general dog
population". Prognosis is quite variable based on the cases I am aware of.
It really depends on the individual case and the vets expertise.
As for what caused it I could repeat the old mantra of things usually
having an environmental, a congenital AND a genetic cause of one kind
or other. So there is no ONE thing one could do different to prevent
If at all possible getting the dog into treatment or at least
treatment supervised by adequately licensed vets with an expertise in
the are aid certainly useful, because they may have ideas that go
beyond the "standard treatment" depending on the disease process. At
least that is generally the case. It might also be helpful to rule out
other conditions that might mimic AIHA. There are not many, but there
are some infectious diseases that at a first glance may also lead to
symptoms of the disease (e.g. tick transmitted diseases). Also
hormonal conditions can influence the disease process. So ruling out
some other hormonal issues such and esterus, thyroid, etc may help.
If possible, contact Dr. Jean Dodds who knows quite a lot about
autoimmune issues in dogs. Sounds like sooner would be better than later.
We did a necropsy on Sparkle to try and find a cause. None was found, so
we assumed it was Primary AIHA.
We saw this all the time at the hospital where I worked...I can honestly
say that MOST were dogs that had been vaccinated anywhere from 3 days-3
months later....quick treatment is essential . Some dogs break with it and
we don't know why, we always send out a tick titer ( its a test for AIHA )
on them but all came back negative.
We have a bitch that has been living with this for almost eight years.
Luckily we never had to transfer her. Early treatment was very high doses
of prednisone, about six months of high doses of tetracycline, leukaran,
and iron supplements. Her medication for the rest of her life will be 5mg
prednisone every other day, leukeran every other day and iron
supplements. We will always have to manage her weight and the side
effects of her medications. Ran a bunch of tests and never found the
We have a bitch that has been living with this for almost eight years. Luckily we never had to transfer her. Early treatment was very high doses of prednisone, about six months of high doses of tetracycline, leukaran, and iron supplements. Her medication for the rest of her life will be 5mg prednisone every other day, leukeran every other day and iron supplements. We will always have to manage her weight and the side effects of her medications. Ran a bunch of tests and never found the underlying cause.
Thanks for your info everyone, I'll pass on to owner, my condolences to those of you who have lost dogs to it, thankyou for sharing info even though I'm sure it brings back sad memories....
If anyone else has info to share please do and I will pass it on to the owner as well.
I know of several dogs, both Belgian and not. Three were post vaccination, two were not. One non Belgian survived with blood transfusions. Despite this non-Belgian having the event post vx, the family continued to do annual boosters for travel outside the country. Kylie had pancytopenia, and was treated similar to protocols described above, pred and dox for 30 days, but then an herbal and acupuncture program for 4 years after this. Hers was not IMHA, but a blood disorder. We did also suspect a form of cancer in her case. five years later, cancer was ultimately what killed her. As Lilith says, rapid diagnosis and treatment are critical. The prednisone can have pretty severe side affects, however it can also save the dog's life. On pred, kylie was more lethargic than before the pred, she lost coordination of her rear, and had to wear a diaper. It can make them ravenous and excessively thirsty. Her thyroid also crashed while on this, but as we weaned her off the pred, and did acupuncture, her numbers came right back up. Yunnan Baiyao was given really immediately, along with caulis melitaea. Those two were continued a long time. I wish them success.
I know of several Belgians who had it, all were post vaccination - mostly rabies.
Kylie's was post rabies vx also
Also since our girl's diagnosis we have not vaccinated her. We do not want to risk this being a trigger for a relapse.
hi helene i had a belgian with it he had to have a blood transfusion to try and sort it out and he was put on prednisolone it worked for about a year then he started to deteriate they tried him on a new drug that are vets researched but didnt work so they gave him more prednisolne but i,m sorry to say we lost him about a week ago he was 3yrs 4 mths and 2 days some times it works they had another dog with same condtion and its working for them so i will keep my fingers croosed that it works sending all my love to the owners of it and if they need any questions answered i will try to give an honest answer of what we went through and what are vet said xxx