No one likes to watch their beloved pet become ill. That’s why it’s so important to provide them with the nutrition they require to maintain a strong and healthy immune system. Minor colds normally do not necessitate veterinarian intervention; but, if your dog has an immune-mediated disease, the symptoms and treatments will almost certainly be considerably more severe. Immune-mediated illness is a condition in which the immune system assaults the central nervous system inappropriately, causing major health problems.

Dog Immune-Mediated Diseases: Types, Symptoms, & Treatment

The most frequent immune-mediated illnesses in dogs result in anemia. To begin, let’s look into Immune-Mediated Haemolytic Anaemia (IMHA) in more detail. IMHA is curable in its early stages, but it can be fatal if it progresses to an acute level.

Primary IMHA and secondary IMHA are the two types of IMHA. Although the signs and etiology of these diseases differ, they are also anemic disorders that require specialist treatment. While anemic signs such as lethargy or a loss of appetite in some dogs can be indicators of IMHA, other dogs may show no symptoms at all in the early stages of the disease.

If you think your dog could have an Immune-mediated Disease, read on to learn more about the symptoms and treatment options. Your dog will almost certainly require veterinarian care to ensure correct treatment and a quick recovery.

Types Of IMHA In Dogs

A strong immune system can normally defend your dog’s body against bacterial, fungal, parasitic, and viral infections. Antibodies, white blood cells, and other proteins and tissues make up the immune system, which helps the body get rid of harmful substances. Antibodies are immune system components that are programmed to eliminate antigens, which are foreign substances that cause illness.

Typically, cells are labeled as “self” or “non-self,” which aids antibodies in determining whether cells should be preserved or discarded. This is how dogs, like humans, fight off colds and diseases that last no more than a few days.

When the dog’s immune system misidentifies its own red blood cells as foreign substances, however, these antibodies attack healthy red blood cells that deliver oxygen throughout the body. This indicates immune system failure, which promotes tissue failure by causing a critical “short circuit” in the immune system.

The bone marrow produces red blood cells, but if the body attacks these cells, the bone marrow will be unable to meet the high demand for red blood cells. This deficiency will cause anemia, and the body’s immune system will be weakened.

Primary IMHA

The red blood cell count in primary IMHA is significantly lower than usual. Although there are no known causes for primary IMHA, there are numerous speculations that have been linked to this illness. Some of these beliefs are based on additives present in dog food, environmental contaminants, cancer, and immunizations that may have changed the immune system’s functionality.

Other ideas link the disease to genetic predisposition or hormonal factors, both of which are more natural processes; however, most instances of primary IMHA cannot be traced back to their origins.

Causes For Primary IMHA

Possible causes include:

  • Hormonal influences
  • Cancers
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Additives found in dog food
  • Vaccination that has altered an animal’s immune system

Secondary IMHA

Anemia arises when the red blood cells do not function properly in cases with secondary IMHA. This occurs when the surfaces of a dog’s red blood cells are altered by an underlying disease, medicine, or toxin. The red blood cells are thus damaged, similar to primary IMHA, and the bone marrow cannot replace them quickly enough.

Causes For Secondary IMHA

Possible causes include:

  • Cancer
  • Skin Infections
  • Parasites
  • Chemical and Toxins
  • Allergic Reactions

Typical IMHA Symptoms

Symptoms differ from one canine to the next. The most typically affected breeds include Irish Setters, Poodles, English Springer Spaniels, American Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, and Doberman Pinschers, especially among children aged one to thirteen. Female dogs appear to be slightly more susceptible to this sickness than male canines.

Lethargy, poor appetite, quick or shallow breathing, jaundice, weight loss, pale gums, weakness, and a rapid pulse or heart rate are all common anemia symptoms.

Treatment Of IMHA In Dogs

In severe circumstances, IMHA can be life-threatening. As a result, if your dog has an immunological weakness, you must stabilize him as quickly as possible. Hospitalization is required to prevent their immune system from destroying their red blood cells. A blood transfusion or fluid therapy may be the only way to keep your pet stable and maintain healthy red blood cell counts.

Splenectomy (spleen removal) may be necessary for your dog’s recovery if medical treatment does not appear to fix the problem. If your pet is diagnosed with an acute form, your veterinarian will be the best resource for establishing the best treatment strategy. In cases with secondary IMHA, it’s crucial to figure out what caused the improperly functioning red blood cells in the first place, since this will be vital for a full recovery.

The length of time it takes for your dog to heal depends on a number of things. These factors include whether your dog has primary or secondary IMHA, how long the disease has been present in your dog, and how far the disease has progressed over time. Every dog may require a different treatment regimen, so speak with your veterinarian to develop a good plan that you are comfortable with – this may entail scheduling fewer or more visits to check that your pet’s levels are functioning properly.

Bottom Line

When it comes to immune-mediated disorders in dogs, be sure you can spot the symptoms as soon as they appear. Most importantly, do not lose hope if your dog has been diagnosed with this illness. You can easily improve your dog’s chances of survival and get them back to enjoying a happy and normal life with an aggressive treatment plan and veterinarian support.