Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA)

Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia is a condition where the pet’s own immune system begins to attack their own blood cells, resulting in anemia. This condition can be life-threatening if left untreated and can affect both dogs and cats and can be either primary (idiopathic) or secondary to another disease process.

Clinical signs of IMHA include weakness, pale gums, inappetence, vomiting and or diarrhea.

Diagnosis of IMHA includes various blood tests, with radiographs and ultrasound being helpful to rule-out any primary causes.

Treatment of IMHA varies depending on the severity and progression of the anemia, with the more complicated cases requiring hospitalization, IV fluids, blood transfusions, injectable medications and supportive care and monitoring. Most patients require long-term medical management and monitoring but usually do not remain on medications for life. Prognosis is guarded pending the patient’s response to treatment, and re-occurrence of the disease. Relapse of the disease has been reported to be roughly 12-24%. It is vital during treatment that you and your veterinarian monitor your pet closely with frequent blood work monitoring, and all medications be given as directed by your veterinarian.