Meet Lilly, the Jack Russell Terrier. Lilly was in hospital a few weeks ago with a condition called Immune Mediated Haemolytic Anaemia (IMHA). This occurs when the body’s immune system targets its own red blood cells, which can be due to either the immune system acting inappropriately, or being triggered by certain reactions leading to red blood cell damage.
The signs of IMHA can vary, but are usually attributable to anaemia (low red blood cells) which can include lethargy, weakness and pale gums. Lilly’s initial signs involved vomiting and weakness, and it wasn’t until blood work was performed that her anaemia was detected, and the immune-mediated component being confirmed with an autoagglutination test.
Lilly was started on some medications to suppress her immune system, and give her body time to regenerate its red blood cells. She is currently going well, and is in the process of tapering down her medications. This may take months, as stopping medications suddenly can lead to a relapse of IMHA.
We wish Lilly all the best in her recovery!
Photo by Anna Loosmore, 5th Year Veterinary Student, The University of Sydney.