Your pet’s immune system provides the ability to resist and recover from disease and injury. This defense system regulates production of antibodies that aid in destruction of disease agents such as bacteria and viruses.
In autoimmune hemolytic anemia, this defense system attacks the animal’s own body tissues and red blood cells, causing severe, life-threatening anemia. Although such disruption of the immune system may be caused by infection, cancer, or other diseases, in many cases the cause is unknown. Certain drug reactions may cause autoimmune hemolytic anemia. In newborns, the disease may result from antibodies found in the first milk (colostrum) of the mother.
Important Points in Treatment
1. Autoimmune hemolytic anemia is a serious, life-threatening disease. In many cases, immediate blood transfusions are needed. Less severe cases are treated with a variety of medications. In some patients, surgical removal of the spleen or treatment with anti-cancer drugs is necessary.
2. Various laboratory tests are necessary to diagnose the condition and monitor the response to treatment.
3. Relapses are common.