AutoImmune Haemolytic Anaemia (AIHA)

Written by Julie Buchan

I felt that the following experience may be of interest to people in the Irish setter Community..

Spook (Loskeran Jitterbug Sh CM) has been diagnosed as having AutoImmune Haemolytic Anaemia (AIHA)

We were getting ready to come home from Driffield when I went to clean some sleep out of his eye and it immediately struck me that he looked pale. I checked his gums and mucous membranes, took him outside to check again and them compared them to Casper's. He was very pale. We came home and I got him straight my vet, I was worried he might have a bleed from something like a splenic tumour but he couldn't feel anything. Blood tests showed he was very anaemic On Monday 23rd September he was admitted for that day and had x-rays and scans. As everything inconclusive a bone marrow biopsy was taken from his hip.

My vet rang on the Wednesday to confirm he had AIHA, but the form of it he has is killing the immature red cells which is why his blood test did not confirm it. He started high dose steroids the following day. So far he has not been unwell (anyone seeing him showing off his heelwork-to-music moves in the ring at Driffield can testify to this!) , although a couple of days after I noticed he was pale it became obvious that his heart was having to work harder. The last week or so he has slept a bit more, but that is just as well as he has to rest. A blood test taken today has shown that he has neither improved or deteriorated but we have decided to put him on an additional drug whilst he is still well rather than wait for him to deteriorate or go into crisis.

I am sure everyone who knows Spook will understand that Dave & I have had the wind taken out of our sails a bit , but we will remain positive and optimistic although we fully realise the implications of this condition. As long as he is alert and happy we will do all that we can to get him through this.