The central organ for so much in the body: the liver.
As long as the liver is happy, the body can continue to function without issues. Unfortunately, there are many reasons for the liver to become sick, so let's take a few moments to talk about some of the reasons why this can happen. In future posts, we will dive into these reasons a bit further.
Let's dive in
There are several causes of liver disease that can be seen throughout your pet’s life. The most prevalent categories of liver disease are as follows: infectious, inflammatory, metabolic, toxins and trauma.
The wildfires in California have been front and center in the news the last few weeks. we wanted to share some important disaster preparedness info.
The ASPCA has put together a comprehensive list of items to include in your disaster preparedness kit. Here is a list of recommendations:
Who can get IMHA?
The bad news? Any breed can be diagnosed at any age. Both dogs and cats can be diagnosed with IMHA. Cats are definitely not as common, but they can still get it.
Some risk factors reported include:
What is IMHA?
Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) is also known as Auto-Immune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA). Both names are for the same disease. It is when the body’s immune system sees erythrocytes, or red blood cells (RBCs), as a foreign invader needing to be destroyed. The immune system no longer recognizes the RBC’s as belonging to the animal and starts breaking down the cells. This causes severe anemia, or low red blood cell counts.
As you can imagine RBC’s are essential for life. They are important for the body as they carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. That is why when a patient is anemic, they are weak and have exercise intolerance because the cells in the body are not getting the oxygen needed to perform their tasks. The term for decreased oxygen in the blood is hypoxemia.
In dogs and cats we check the packed cell volume, or PCV, to tell us how anemic the patient is. Normal for dogs and cats is typically between 35%-55% and 25%-45% respectively. What this means is of the blood circulating in the body, how much is RBC’s and how much is fluid. The body likes to have a normal percentage of RBC’s and fluid concentrations.
To know what the PCV is, a small blood sample is place into tubes and spun down with a centrifuge. This can take anywhere from 8-12 minutes. After the sample has been centrifuged the blood has separated into solids (blood cells: predominantly RBC's) and the liquid, plasma, portion of the blood. See the pictures below.
We're looking for pet parents to share their insight on these immune mediated blood disorders:
Our goal is to create a book for owners of pets diagnosed with these diseases to help navigate diagnosis, treatment, and living with the disease.
We created a survey and would appreciate your input. Please follow the link below and be part of creating a road map for pet parents.
If you are a veterinary professional and would like to give us feedback, please go to this link for a survey geared more toward care givers.
General Diagnostics to Run
When your veterinarian suspects an immune mediated disease it is important to screen for any underlying diseases that can stimulate the immune system. Common diseases that can trigger an auto-immune response is cancer, and tick borne diseases.
Cancer screening include thoracic radiographs (chest x-rays), abdominal ultrasound, and full blood work including a chemistry and CBC.
Tick borne disease testing looks for these common infections that can trigger an immune response:
This website is NOT a substitute for veterinary care with a veterinarian. We recommend you follow the advice and treatment plan as prescribed by your veterinarian, and only after discussing anything found on this website with your veterinarian, with their approval, implementing advice found here.
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