Anemia: immune-mediated hemolytic

Autoimmune hemolytic anemia • AIHA

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  • Very rare in the cat.
  • Signs : pallor, lethargy.
  • Cause : antibody-mediated destruction of red cells by intravascular or extravascular hemolysis.
  • May be secondary to infection with FeLV and/or  Haemoplasmas (feline infectious anemia).
  • Primary AIHA is much less common in the cat than in the dog.
  • Diagnosis : hematology, Coombs' test.
  • Treatment : treat underlying disease +/- immunosuppressive therapy.
  • Prognosis : guarded.


Clinical signs

  • Pallor.
  • Pyrexia.
  • Tachycardia and tachypnea.
  • Jaundice (rare).
  • Hepatosplenomegaly.
  • Lymphadenopathy.
  • Hemoglobinuria.


Differential diagnosis

  • Stem cell damage by FeLV, FIE, Ehrlichia (rare in cats), drugs or chemicals resulting in pancytopenia.
  • Anemia of chronic disease.
  • Myelophthisis secondary to bone marrow inflammation or neoplasia (lymphoma    , lymphoid leukemia    , myeloproliferative disease).


Expected response to treatment

  • Increasing PCV.

Reasons for treatment failure

  • Failure to identify and treat underlying disease.
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