Drug Breakthrough Holds Promise for Anemic Dogs

New drug temporarily stops red blood cell destruction in anemic dogs.

A team at Colorado State University is testing a new drug called liposomal clodronate to combat immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, a rare fatal blood disorder that affects primarily middle-aged female dogs, reported the Morris Animal Foundation, an organization that funds animal health studies.

Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia causes a dogs body to produce antibodies that attack its own red blood cells, leading to low red blood cell count and anemia. Clinical signs of the disease include pale gums, yellowing of the whites of the eyes, and lethargy.

Standard treatment consists of high doses of steroids, which take a few weeks to take effect. But some dogs do not have a few weeks to wait, says Dr. Steven Dow, the leading researcher of the study. We lose half our patients within their first week of diagnosis, he says.

Liposomal clodronate temporarily stops the red blood cell destruction in dogs with immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, buying time for the standard treatments to work. Preliminary studies indicate that the drug is effective, Dow says. He has applied for more funding from Morris Animal Foundation to support a larger clinical trial of the drug.

Posted: Nov. 28, 2005, 3p.m. EST


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christine   uk, UT

3/14/2010 11:15:04 AM

our 12yr old female collie cross was given a blood transfusion at xmas and is on a list of drugs still for this awful condition. she is weak but very alert. if only vets will listen to us early enough. our vet was told of some odd symptoms last summer buy put it down to "age". looking back they were classic warning signs of imhi and she may have been given a better quality of life if our vet had bothered to take some tests when we first took her to be checked over. do not believe all that your vet says, instead trust your own gut instincts, after all you know your dog best.

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Marilyn Mackey   Stevens, PA

1/25/2010 5:05:05 PM

It's a shame I didn't know about this drug before. We just lost our 7 year old Pomeranian on 12/26/09. He died less than a week after he was diagnosed with IMHA. It was devasting.

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sarah   bronx, NY

1/19/2009 11:22:47 AM

my furry baby was diagnosed with this imha any study that you are doingg towards this and or anything in refrence to our furry babies is fantastic keep up the great work...youve saved my furry babies life,,

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