fotolia_11099022_XSAutoimmune hemolytic anemia is the common disease that affects dogs. Anemia is an indication of other medical conditions or diseases. It is not a disease. When there is decreasednumber of flowing hemoglobin or red blood cells or both, it results in anemia. AIHA or autoimmune hemolytic anemia is a popular immune system disease. It destroys and attacks red blood cells in the body. If you are interested to know more about other autoimmune diseases in dogs, please refer

What are the causes of Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia?
Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia can be secondary or idiopathic (primary). When the dog is affected with primary AIHA, its immune system will not work properly. It incorrectly produces antibodies focusing its red blood cells. The majority of cases are due to primary AIHA.

Secondary AIHA can progress as infection, cancer, blood parasites like bee stings, toxins, chemicals, snake bites, drug reactions and babesia. Cancer or neoplasia remains as the major consequence of secondary AIHA.

What are the common symptoms of AIHA?
Dogs are cute little pets. It should be taken care just like human being. It does not require much care. You need to offer good healthy food and take for regular checkups. When the dog gets affected with serious illness or disease, it starts to react in different manner. You will find it either too active or too dull. AIHA can be easily diagnosed by checking its gums. The gums would turn pale instead of red color or normal pink color. If the dog is anemic, it will become tired and listless in quick time. It is because lack of red blood cells in its body to transfer oxygen to tissues. There are chances for your dog to appear disoriented or faint because of less oxygen levels. Dogs will breathe fast to balance the oxygen to tissue. Moreover, its heart would beat rapidly.

How Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia is diagnosed?
It is diagnosed by doing a simple blood test referred as CBC ( Complete Blood Count). A sample of dog’s whole blood will be taken and measured for different values. PCV (packed cell volume) will be measured to check for anemia. It helps to find out the red blood cells percentage in the body. Moreover, it will be counted and examined under microscope to find out their shape and size. Both the percentage and number of red blood cells will be less with AIHA. The shape and size of the cells will remain abnormal.

If AIHA is positive, your veterinarian will recommend to take additional tests to confirm whether the condition is secondary or primary. Reticulocyte test helps to find out the number of undeveloped red blood cells (reticulocytes) present in bloodstream. Other antibody tests like serologic blood tests and coombs tests helps to find out certain parasitic diseases.

How AIHA is treated?
If your dog has severe anemia, it can remain life threatening. It may require a blood transfusion. The physician will collect blood samples before suggesting blood transfusion.

Blood transfusion helps to soothe the dog and at the same time the cause of anemia will be determined. The doctor will start other treatments in serious note.

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