IMHA: Four Letters You Never Want to Meet

It can happen with remarkable speed

April 15, 2013 (published)

Most of the diseases that we see and treat in the ER can be pretty easily comprehended by non-medical folks: trauma, infection, cancer – all of these seem to make sense to pet owners when we discuss them. But there is one disease that almost always sends heads spinning and puts a look of blank incomprehension on the faces of pet owners. This disease is immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, or IMHA, and I will give you a little insight into its nefarious workings right now.

Your immune system keeps you safe and protected from all the zillions of things that try to kill you every day.  Every minute of every day, viruses are trying to enter your sinuses, bacteria want to creep into your blood stream, and even your own cells decide what the heck – let’s mutate and try and cause cancer. Your immune system stands a post, grabs a gun and keeps all these hazards at bay so you can spend another day looking for just the right pair of jeggings at the Gap.

Your immune system is an amazingly choreographed and intricate machine with dozens of types of cells and hundreds of chemical messengers that allow it to determine what’s you, what’s not you, and what’s potentially trying to kill you. It doesn’t always work the way it is supposed to.

In some cases, it gets confused and decides that something totally harmless is worthy of note and launches a counteroffensive – this is what happens with most allergies.  Your immune system decides that pollen, for example, is dreadful and must be eliminated at all costs and mounts an attack that leaves you with puffy eyes, a runny nose and a bad case of the sneezies.  To my knowledge, pollen has never killed anyone – so, why the big fuss, immune system?

In other cases, your immune system gets even more confused and decides that little bits of you – important bits of you, like joints and blood – are the bad guy and takes them out. These are the so-called autoimmune diseases, many of which you have heard of: rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Grave’s disease.  There are many more. Even diabetes (Type I, in which the body stops making insulin) is an autoimmune disease at its core; the body attacks the cells of the pancreas that make insulin. No one knows why. I think it’s because the pancreas said something about the immune system’s mama once, and it all went downhill from there.

One of the more common autoimmune diseases that veterinarians see is IMHA, in which the immune system decides that red blood cells would make a tasty snack and goes after them like Chuck Norris after the bad guys. In most cases, the trigger is never known – one day, your immune system wakes up and says “yesterday – viruses and bacteria, today – red blood cells! Tomorrow – who knows?!” and starts destroying them with abandon. The ‘hemolytic’ in the name refers to the process of popping or lysing red blood cells. Incidentally, onions, mothballs and the zinc found in pennies minted after 1982 can all cause the same thing.

Some of the signs of IMHA include:

  • Pale or yellow gums
  • Extreme weakness and lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaundice (yellow discoloration) of the whites of the eyes.

It can happen with remarkable speed – one day your dog is happily snoozing by the fire, the next day your veterinarian is telling you that he’s in a 50:50 battle for his life. The speed always amazes clients, and makes it one of those diseases that prompts people to use the old ‘but, doc he was fine yesterday’ line.

Your immune system moves fast – think of how fast you go from the depths of the flu to feeling fine; one or two days and you are back to normal, once it gets a toe-hold on the invading bugs. It moves at the same speed when it is confused. It is mercilessly efficient whether it is covering your butt or kicking it.

IMHA and its close cousin Evan’s syndrome (in which red blood cells and platelets are both consumed) are not easily treated. The odds we give pet owners are around 50:50, and some days even those poor odds seem a tad optimistic. Doing battle with the immune system is not for the faint of heart or lean of wallet.  Many days in the hospital, multiple transfusions and, in some cases, medications costing thousands can all take their toll and many owners elect not to go ahead with therapy. Not all cases reach the financial limit for owners, but I have been involved in enough that have gone down that path that I always warn families of the potentially rocky road that may lay ahead. I never fault owners who decide not to even dip a toe in the pool and call it quits once the diagnosis is made. It is that bad.

One of the dreaded consequences of IMHA is a blood clot that can travel to the lungs and is often fatal – a pulmonary thromboembolism, or PTE. After treating several cases that seem to have dodged a bullet, enduring transfusion after transfusion, only to catch that bullet in the form of a massive PTE, I always let people know the worst than can happen.

Those that we do treat are on medication for months (steroids like prednisone are the cornerstone of therapy) and about one dog in five will have a relapse at some point.  Cats, for some reason, are relatively resistant to IMHA; they can still get it, but I have treated hundreds of canine cases and only a handful of cats.

There is an association between recent vaccination and the onset of IMHA, but I don’t want to infer that vaccines cause IMHA.  It’s just not that simple, although folks love to paint vaccines as the bad guy. The association between the two is tenuous and somewhat unproven, and vaccines are still one of the most important tools we have against dreaded diseases like parvo and distemper. We do, however, usually recommend that patients who have had IMHA not receive vaccinations ever again in the future, out of, as they say, an abundance of caution.

Since most cases of IMHA are seen in middle-aged to older pets (females are slightly more likely to get autoimmune diseases in general; Cocker spaniels are the poster dog for IMHA) and vaccines have the greatest protective effects in the young, this recommendation does not usually mean that skipping a vaccine will open the door to potential diseases. Whatever you do, don’t skip vaccines in the hopes of avoiding IMHA, especially in a younger dog. Parvo has killed millions more dogs than IMHA and the vaccines are proven and effective in preventing it. It is simply not worth the risk.

Your immune system is something you absolutely can’t live without, but when it gets off track and sets its sights on some vital part of you – look out. It is hard to get the genie back in the bottle. It can happen, but not without a fight, and with IMHA we are up against a formidable foe.



September 4, 2022

We are heart broken! Our 6.5 yr old whippet, Devo, was diagnosed on 8/27 with Evans Syndrome and on 8/29 we had to say goodbye. Just like the rest of these comments, he was fine and all of a sudden he wasn’t eating, drinking very little and then started peeing blood. Rushed him to the ER vet thinking UTI and that he would be fine with some meds. He did indeed have a uti but was also told that his rbc and platelets were low as well. We had never heard of this horrible disease before but after doing some research, quickly realized it was not a good diagnosis. We were sent home with steroids and antibiotics and told to bring him back if he got any worse. We were back the next day. This time his blood was low enough that he needed a transfusion. We left him overnight but the transfusion didn’t do what they wanted it to. We were able to pick him up from the Er vet and went straight to our regular vet. He need more blood but there wasn’t any local. We were advised that we could go to the UT vet center. We are about 1.5 hours away and I don’t even know if he would’ve made the trip. My 12 yr old son made the decision to spend the day with him and then say goodbye. He didn’t want his puppy to be away from us when he passed. He still says that Devo was the greatest Christmas present he has ever received even if we didn’t have enough time with him.

Nikki Taylor
June 4, 2022

I lost my heart dog, my perfect Shih Tzu, Ruby to this horrific disease 5 days ago. Thursday last week she was off her food, same Friday and very flat. When I saw she was staggering when trying to walk I called the vet and they said to take her in. She did a bright red pee outside the vet practice and I was hopeful it was just a bad UTI. As soon as the vet saw Ruby she didn’t like the look of her even though all her vitals were normal. She asked to run bloods and for us wait for the results even though they were waiting to close. When she told me what was wrong I don’t think I realised the seriousness of her condition. We were sent to the local out of hours vet for her to have fluids overnight. When we got there they explained they didn’t have blood for Ruby should a transfusion be needed (her PCV was 15 at this point) and we needed to take her to the vet hospital an hour away, but first they wanted to stabilise her with some fluids. I was told this would take an hour so nipped home to see to my other 2 Lhasa girls. Then I missed a call from the vet, when I rang back they said to go straight there. At this point I thought I’d already lost her. I’ve never been so pleased to see Ruby as when the vet appeared with her in her arms explaining they couldn’t get a line in and she needed to get the the vet hospital ASAP. We got her there as quickly as we could, I thought she’d stopped breathing 3 times on the way there. Ruby was taken from me as soon as we arrived and it was 3 hours before we saw the vet for an update. She explained how grave her condition was, that her chances were 50/50, she was having oxygen and was very poorly. They had done an ultrasound and could see a mass on her spleen. I was told it was possibly cancer and if it was that her spleen was probably pumping out diseased red blood cells to try and compensate for those being lost. I was asked if I wanted them to continue treatment as she was likely to be there for around 5 days and that would be very expensive. She would also need surgery to remove her spleen once she was strong enough. Of course I said yes, giving up on her was never an option, she was my rock and had got me through the last few months after I lost my mum. I asked if we could see her before we left so they brought her to me. She looked so very small and very sick, my heart was breaking. I gave her lots of kisses and cuddles and told her how much I loved her, I honestly didn’t think she’d last the night. But she did, she had a transfusion and the next day her PCV was 29. She maintained a good PCV level all day and when the vet rang me again on Sunday he was pleased with how she was doing and she’d still not had another transfusion. She wagged her tail for him and even managed to eat. I was hopeful.  When they called me on Monday morning I was told she’d had a transfusion overnight and was OK but her breathing was laboured again so they did chest X-rays and could see her lungs were wet. They were going to do further imaging to have a better took at the mass on her spleen and see if there were any more . I asked I could visit her and they said we could discuss that when they knew more. The vet rang me back a couple of hours later with the news her breathing was worse and when could I get there, and that then I would need to make a decision on doing what was best for Ruby. I said I’d be there in a couple of hours as my was cousin was going to take me, I was in bits and not fit to drive. 10 minutes later they called again to say she wouldn’t last that long unless they anaesthetised and intubated her. She said in her opinion the kindest thing would be to let her go and end her suffering so I had to agree, I didn’t want her suffering.  I wasn’t even there to hold her when she left this world, I feel so bad about that. Later that afternoon I went with my 2 other girls to say goodbye, I thought it would help them understand why Ruby had just disappeared. One of them had really struggled when we lost our 2 Lhasa boys to old age last year. Ruby has now been cremated and I picked up her ashes on my birthday. I am broken, I don’t know how to carry on without her, but I must for my 2 other girls. It is now my mission to raise awareness of this dreadful disease, I had never heard of it a week ago. I am also fundraising for the Pet Blood Bank, I am so grateful that their work meant there was blood available to try and save Ruby. Ruby, you were the nicest dog I have ever met, I loved you with all my heart  and I will miss you forever.

June 1, 2022

I actually have a good story. Back in February 2022 My mastiff mix dog was diagnosed with IMHA. He is a very food motivated dog and had stopped eating and his gums were yellow one morning. My sister and I scooped him up and took him to the local 24 hour vet hospital where he was diagnosed. He ended  up getting two transfusions put on 40 mg a day of prednisone and an immunosuppressant. He spent five days in the doggy ICU. I was so worried when I get home went two days after discharge for more lab work and I’ll kind of stay the same about it 22. He’s slowly been creeping up his bloodwork. Today we had blood work as follow up which we’ve been doing every two weeks since February , and he has a completely normal blood panel. For the longest time he stayed exactly where he was and wasn’t making a lot of progress. I started doing some stuff on my own, I’m an ER RN, and I figured I had nothing to lose. I added spinach to his diet thinking hey he didn’t have red blood cells he’s gonna need iron give him that. I did some research and studied his labs and figured out that his spleen is what is destroying the red blood cells what makes you have a healthy spleen? I read and I read and I read and someone suggested blackstrap molasses so I added that with diet. Things are were going ok then massive diarrhea  took him back to the hospital they suggested adding probiotic Metamucil and I had heard pumpkin helps so I added that too. At one time on the 40 mg of prednisone he started having breathing problems that really freaked me out took him to his local vet who cut his prednisone to 20 mg a day and put them on terbutaline for the breathing which resolved pretty quickly. I don’t think the internal medicine guy at the vet hospital like that very much but he kept him on the 20 mg for about 6 to 8 weeks. He started recovering at six weeks ago. I don’t know if the black strap glasses and the pumpkin and the probiotics helped much. So I got back to reading and reading and reading and I came across turmeric at Costco and read up on it and figured what the hell just give it a try. After one week his labs started have a tiny increase. Two weeks an actual increase and they lowered his prednisone 15mg. After a solid four weeks of spinach cabbage blackstrap molasses turmeric probiotics and meta-Meusel they have lowered his prednisone 10 mg a day now and he is doing so well. I don’t know if what I added to his diet made any difference at all and if he was going to recover anyways and I know that a relapse is always a possibility but for right now and after four months of no sleep and keeping a constant eye on  him he is doing really well and I’m really grateful. I read these other stories in my heart just breaks because I was so close to these very stories and could have been in the same place. I don’t know how much longer I have with my big baby but I’m going to keep him on his diet and on his medication and be grateful for every day I have him. I don’t know if this helps anybody but wanted to put it out in the universe.

May 31, 2022

Our three year old cat is at the vet waiting on an ultrasound to check his gallbladder. If that is okay, then it is primary IMHA. We recently adopted him and his brother from my aunt, who passed away in March. It will be tough if we have to put him down.

May 25, 2022

Dear Reets- I’m sorry about the loss of your dear BC. Unfortunately we fought this same battle less than a year ago. My posts are below. We had the same situation. Our regular vet advised that a transfusion would be useless if the dogs  immune system was not responding to steroids. He said that any transfused cells would most likely be destroyed and could potentially cause a worse condition. Our dog was sent to the ER for care because of the holiday. The ER vet insisted on transfusing her because her PCV was at 15. We made the choice to transfuse and all of the worst occurred, as our vet cautioned. The transfusion should have brought her PCV to at least 30. It took several hours for the transfusion to be completed. The ER vet said she perked up a bit during the transfusion. When they checked her later, her PCV was only 18 and her heart rate was increasing. She was breathing harder and the feared she was creating clots in her system. We decided it was best to let her go rather than have her suffer. Up to this point, she exhibited lethargy but no real signs of suffering. I believe the transfusion reaction was a debilitating shock to her system. They say that the steroids should have a noticeable impact on slowing the autoimmune response in 5 days or less. In our case, that didn’t happen. Your case seems to be similar. So, it is highly likely that your BC would have rejected the transfused cells. I know this does not lessen your pain but hopefully it will relive some of the “what if” that you struggle with. We still can’t find a cause or a trigger for what happened to our dog. I try to give our case information to any researcher who is working on improving IMHA treatments. Not a day passes that I don’t think about her. Not a day passes when I don’t miss her. My prayers are with you and anyone else who has had to endure this with their dog.

May 13, 2022

We lost Meg, our 6 year old border collie to this horrible disease 3 weeks ago today. I feel so empty. She was weak on Sunday and died the following Friday.  She wouldn't eat, was extremely weak and breathing was heavy.  We never tried transfusions.  Vet felt she was not responding to steroids and we would be fighting a losing battle so we let her go.  Beating myself up constantly...should I have fought harder? Did I let her down. My heart is breaking.

Sandi Miller
April 11, 2022

I have just lost my labmix 7yo Casey to this dreadful disease. I am heartbroken beyond. She was fine on Sat morn, collapsed at 1. Rushed to ER, given a transfusion and meds, Sunday another transfusion and on Mon, couldnt walk and not eating. She passed at 5pm. I miss you Casey love, you fought a tough battle.RIP

Ronda Earley
March 29, 2022

Mark & Lisa I just read your story and Cried like a baby�� I am sincerely Sorry and I feel your PAIN! My 9 yr old Yorkie was Diagnosed 3 weeks ago. His RBC went from 20%-13%. In the last week. Went for blood test Monday. He began eating again & we thought he is on his way to recovery. He takes Prednisone and 1 more Suppressant. Now he cant stand he is wobbly eye conjunctivitis he was drinking water on his own but he wont do that now. I'm just praying he fights until 8am...6.5 hrs...and hopefully get a blood transfusion. My Rocco is a true Rockstar. Full of life He did everything but Talk. He knew what we said to each other...and He was NEVER left at Home! I would love to send a picture but I dont think I can. I live in Central ARKANSAS USA. My heart is breaking and life will nvr be the same!I haven't spoke outloud about possibility of death in fear It would cause further negativity. I'm hoping He is Strong enough to make it!

Nicole Miceli
March 28, 2022

I just lost my sweet Akira, 5 years old, on Saturday to IMHA. I was one of those “bit sue was perfectly fine yesterday” people. I am devastated and in shock. We lost her brother to cancer a few weeks prior so I totally think she internalized her sadness so much she flipped a switch. None of this makes sense.

Michelle B
March 20, 2022

We lost our 4 year old Havanese to IMHA/ Evans 4 days ago. She was playing over the weekend. Didn’t eat and somewhat reserved on Monday. By Tuesday she had yellow gums, ears, and slight fever and rushed to the vet. Transfusion that night raised her PCV from 13 to 23. Fluids on Weds decreased it to 20. Urinating dark red. Unsteady on feet. Can barely stand. By Weds night PCV back down to 13. Taken to to the university vet center on Thursday morning and made the difficult decision. They gave her 30% survival odds since her case was intravascular. So many stories are just like ours. She had not had her shots in a couple years so I can’t blame rabies vaccination. What is triggering this tragic condition in our pets?

March 4, 2022

We have lost our beloved 7.5 year old shiba corgi mix to IMHA , Kona was fine on Sunday throwing his leash wanting to go on his walk and then by Monday night he’s in the emergency room fighting for his life . We lost Kona to this horrible disease three days later!

Chelsea Norman
December 26, 2021

I lost my wonderful cat Little Bear to this disease. He was fine 2 days ago, then yesterday I noticed a change in behaviour. Today he had laboured breathing and we took him to the vet and had to put him down. I'm so dumbfounded he was only 3 and a very playful and energetic cat. I will miss him so much, I wish I could have somehow prevented this. May he rest in peace.

December 7, 2021

It has been a week and a half since I lost my Shipoo Sebass to this horrible disease. He was the second dog I’ve lost to IMHA. He was only 6 1/2 years old. He was a loving healthy dog with no other prior issues. I too am seriously thinking it has to do with the vaccines. I know numerous family members who never vaccinate and this has never happened to their dogs. I have always vaccinated my dogs, Sebass had just gone in for his a month ago and now I wonder if I killed him.

November 23, 2021

My dog just passed away from this and i 100% blame the vaccinations.

Aimee Moore
November 10, 2021

Omg that is so horrible.  I’m 82 and battling the immune systerm crap and it sucks.  I feel so badly for you. I love my dogs

Mark and Lisa
November 1, 2021

We lost our beautiful almost 14 year old Oscar - Maltese shih tzu on 29th Oct 2021. To say I am heartbroken is a complete understatement. I live in QLD Australia. This disease is cruel as all these comments echo. It happens in the blink of an eye. Sometimes there are subtle signs, sometimes none at all. Our boy was a fun loving happy playful kind of guy. You would have never thought have thought he was almost 14. He was perfectly healthy, aside from a bit of arthritis, he was loving life. A year ago I noticed he was lethargic and had small bruising on his belly, I took him straight to the vet and they did not think much of it, ran some bloods and he has a slightly low blood count and at same time he had a mouth infection so he was put on antirobe, within 24 hours, he was fine and happy and bruising  disappeared, so we thought okay, maybe he was fighting an infection on top of the mouth infection. Few months later he was due to for his annual vaccine, had his shot and about a week later he became lethargic like he was having a reaction to it, his gums were pale, refused to eat, my thought again was maybe mouth infection with not eating, gave him some antirobe which I kept on tap and again within day he was  coming back to life. Antirobe then became my best friend. At this stage I still had no idea what he was really facing. I was naive and as antirobe seem to work, vet also suspected infection, so why would we need to go down a rabbit hole if it worked right! August last year he woke and was lethargic, wouldn’t eat, gums pale, my thought, oh no not again another infection, I also noted this time round he had cloudy eyes - conjunctivitis? they were all closing up and cloudy, I noted as well his poos were black, very black and runny along with a very  bloated hard belly that  would gurgle continually. Straight to vet and he ran bloods, his red blood cells were very very low and bilirubin high. Vet immediately said I believe he has IMHA, I had no idea what this was and he put him on an antibiotic and 20mg prednisone twice day, his bloods were not that low to warrant a transfusion. Within 24 to 48 hours he came back and was again our lovely beautiful happy boy. Things were fine from August last year till June this year. In matter of hours  one day in June he absolutely crashed, black poo, lethargic, wobbly when walking, a very sick little man, I rushed him straight to the vet and again the aggressive treatment, antibiotic and prednil this time. Again  he bounced back and was perfect. From there vet advised to  keep him on half prednil every second day which we did and he was perfect, no problems, happy, played with his baby rescue brother, everything was perfect and I thought okay we are able to manage this, still having no idea just how insidious, cruel, evil and fast acting this  disgusting disease is.   I also developed a habit of checking our boys gums daily as well as inside ears and belly to make sure they were their beautiful  pink  colour, as well as on our walks I would check to see his poos were not black. Now for the hardest part and the part that  is tearing me up right now and my heart is breaking, life was normal, life was great, on Monday 25th October 2021, I bathed my boy, he ran around like a lunatic as he does, played lil ball, he was perfect. I also forgot to add on 13th August he had routine tooth clean and  came through it just perfect. On Tues 26th Oct, he woke with conjunctivitis, as its spring and he loved to itch his eyes, my  immediate thought was okay bit of amacin which I kept on tap, I also checked his gums, ears, belly, perfect. Wed 27th Oct, mid-morning he started to  act odd, bit wobbly, very tired, tried to eat but  wasn’t that fussed. Checked his gums, slightly pale but not that pale. Called vet, was advised to increase his prednil to a full one in morning and night. That night he was still tired but ate, I knew from past it can take 24 hours and I thought  we got to it early and every other time has been fine so why would this time be any different. Boy do I hate myself and the guilt I am feeling. Small hours of Thurs 28th something made me wake, normally my Oscar dels would be beside me in bed but this night he wanted to be on the floor, so something in me made me wake at 2.30am, I got up and couldn’t find him in the bedroom, I came out into lounge and found him on kitchen mat in a superman type pose panting, so lethargic and  like a rag doll. I picked him up and carried him into bed with me. Thursday 28th day, called vet, long story vet wasn’t available and was advised increase prednil to 20mg, I did. Thursday day was most  horrendous thing I have ever witnessed ever, he went from no longer being able to walk at all, he tried to stand and vomit and fell over  hitting his head on the tiles and the sound was horrendous, gut wrenching. He was almost lifeless, sparing and more details as they are far to upsetting and truly  heartbreaking Friday 29th came round as I slept with him on floor all night hoping  the new dose will kick in soon, Friday morning he was yellow, barely  breathing, struggling to  get a breathe, could not walk at all and started pooing  pure black as he lay there and vomiting on himself.  Off course it was a public holiday  that day and I could not get hold of our normal vet  or any vet, I searched on line and found an in home vet asap as it was then I knew he was dying, at 12pm Friday 29th October I held my  boy as he was put to sleep. As he passed he relieved himself and it was nothing but blood. I was and am in shock, I am struggling to process how we went from  a happy beautiful loving boy to gone within a matter of days. This disease is unpredictable, it strikes so quickly and it can take the life of our beautiful  fur kids so quickly and it is brutal  to watch what it does to them, it is so cruel, I have never witnessed such a cruel  down turn and I hope to never again as it has left me in a bad place and hating myself and full of guilt on  what's, ifs, should have, if onlys. I empathise and my heart goes out to all these comments, the same common theme is echoed throughout this page, it happened so fast, it  struck so quickly, I wasn’t expecting this, how did this happen, but  he/she was fine only hours ago…I found this page in my search for answers to try and understand where I went wrong and what I should have done and didn’t do, my guilt is endless. When I found this page whilst your stories are so sad and all have the same theme, I was able to soothe myself a bit that I didn’t do anything wrong, that  it  hit when I never expected it and I did what  had previously worked. I felt I had to write my story to share with others whom I feel will sadly come across this page, to try and give you  what I was looking for, help, understanding and to  help my guilt and self-loathing that I let my  best friend down whom I  adore and love so much. The house is nothing but a shell now, my head is still  trying to process  the speed in which this happened. The lil balls my tot loved so much and was playing with only  cple days before sit where he left them waiting for him to return to pick them up. I am absolutely heart broken. Based on the year comments started right up to my  comment, this article and page obviously offers something to  a group of extremely sad, shocked and grieving fur parents. I hope they keep this article and comments live to  help others who may sadly  find themselves here reading. May you have all found some peace during this brutal  road of grief we travel.

Mary Jo
October 23, 2021

We lost our 20month old lab to IMHA, over a short time we noticed our pup being decreased in wanting to eat. Thought he was just being a picky eater, then it came down to him not wanting to eat at all. Ended up bring to vet hospital and doing blood transfusions,  plasma, they even needed to remove his spleen do to it affecting it. Then more blood transfusions and plasma he was in forc4 days and that last night we got a call from the vet saying he was brain dead. As they said he had DIC also which was a clotting disorder.We decided to help him pass completely. We ended up paying $13,313.00 for all of this and he didn't make it. So sad we did all we could. I brought him to the vet one month prior to his death and told them he was not eating as good as he use to and was lacking his leg alot, they told me its behavioral and to bring him to day daycare to help him work off some bored behavior when in fact it was the beginning of his decline, if that vet had only did her job and did blood work and not just assume then maybe my pup could of had a better chance of survival.  So I want others to know vets do not always know what they are talking about so second quest them push for better answers from them as I wish I did. I feel for any pet owner who has to deal with losing a pet to this disease.

Matvey Zakharov
October 21, 2021

Lost my 11month bull terrier tonight. Don't know for sure wether it was IMHA or not but all the symptoms checks out. I woke up at 8:30 AM and there was a pool of blood near the puppy's place. Poor pup was lethargic and didn't wanted to eat or drink. Took him to the vet and by 11AM had ultrasound results (blood in bladder, both kidneys "looks bad as i nvere seen" as the vet said) and blood test (5x higher potassium, 3-4x higher urea and low eritrocytes). Also he had low temperature (35-36C) and low blood preassure. By 2pm i found stationary clinic and brought him there. They took him to an emergency room around 3:30 with a poor prognosis and that's a last time i saw him. By that time he became even colder and even more pale. He died just after midnight, less than 24h after any evident emergency signs. Should've put him to sleep to ease his pain. Writing this to ease mine.

Karen Murray
October 20, 2021

My 9 year old whippet has been diagnosed I feel it would be best to let her go but my minds in turmoil I have a consultation tomorrow with the vet and hope this gives us support to do what’s best in my heart I want to let her go but worry I’m not giving the steroids and Gemma a chance.

Tierra Copeland
October 13, 2021

My heart hurts reading your stories about your fur babies. I’m so sorry as my dog is currently fighting for his life with this disease and I need help please. Jersey is 5 years and he is a Bichon. I took him to the emergency vet on Sunday as he was very lethargy and they gave me options to do a blood transfusion right away or put him down. I went with first option to at least try. Jersey got his first transfusion and his blood count was increasing until he got bit by a stray dog while under the ER vet care so of course it threw him and his blood count started to decrease again. So they had to give him another blood transfusion and we are believing that his blood count will start to increase. Which is did but now we are home and he still isn’t himself. He isn’t his regular dog food and he also deals with seizures which they believe the seizure medicine is the cause of this. I need help because since he was injury while in their care, his treatment is now free but I don’t they are giving him the best treatment. Any insight would be appreciated?

October 13, 2021

I have just lost my beautiful 4 year old Miniture Pincher to these terrible illness. On Sat 2nd Oct we took her to the vets with an acute onset of cloudy eyes ( uveitis) . She had some steroid medications and eye drops. Her eyes were back to normal 48 hours later. However on Thursday 7th Oct I noticed her back legs were weak and she was panting  we got an emergency vet appt who said she had an infection a WCC and ESR ( in blood raised) also she had a very high temperature and was dehydrated.  She had iv fluids and sent home 2.5 hours later with oral antibiotics. Well in the early hours she was panting again , vomited twice and was lethargic. We went to another vet who thought she had a multi joint infections. Later that evening g we received a call to say her red blood cells were very low and she needed to be taken to the Emergency hospital for a blood transfusion. She received 1 transfusion but unfortunately started to reject the donor blood. She became jaundiced and was worse than before the transfusion . I visited her the day after the transfusion and she was extremely unwell, could hardly walk, looks disoriented and had yellow eyes. I made the decision to end her pain. I was with her when she passed. It was very peaceful and after she passed her coat seemed to go back to her lovely brown colour and her eyes looked has their twinkle back. There was no way I was going to prolong her treatment as I felt she was in pain. It is an awful illness. I am not coping well without my beautiful baby girl who was only 4. Im sorry for anyone that has to go through what my baby did.

Teri S
September 22, 2021

We lost our beloved dog Josie (a 5 1/2 year old Pembroke Welsh Corgi) to IMHA in August.  We had taken her to the vet for lameness in her rear leg.  The vet suspected a partially torn ligament in her knee and prescribed Gabapentin and Carprofen.  We gave her one dose each that evening.  The next morning she vomited, refused food, was very lethargic and had pale gums. We rushed her to the vet thinking she had a reaction to one of the meds.  She was transferred to a hospital that could provide 24-hour care and was quickly diagnosed with IMHA after blood tests.  They had never seen or heard of either of these meds triggering IMHA after just one dose and insisted it was just a coincidence.  They said it was Primary IMHA after running tests and not finding anything else that could have triggered it.  She spent 7 days in the hospital and had 5 blood transfusions.  She never responded to the steroids during that time and developed difficulty breathing on day 7.  The specialist was worried about a thromboembolism and she was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia after another x-ray.  Given her condition on this day we made the very difficult decision to put her to sleep. Our food-loving Corgi never ate that entire week despite being given appetite stimulants.  During our daily visits with her she would have a blank stare in her eyes.  We are heartbroken and still shocked that this disease we had never heard of could take the life of our healthy and energetic pup so quickly.  I really hope they can find a cure someday.

September 17, 2021

Thank you  everyone for sharing your stories.  My beautiful Siberian Husky just succumbed to this IMHA disease on September 13th 2021.  She was a lively and healthy 12 year old with what I thought had couple more good years ahead of her, then one day she just fell on the floor and couldn’t walk. I took her into the pet ER and they told me she had this horrible disease and since her RBC was at 10, she needed a blood transfusion.  Once the transfusion was complete, her RBC went to 15. The treatment included the steroid prednisone, and cyclosporine and about 14 other meds. Although she could not get up, when we pulled her up she was able to walk very slowly.  For 2 weeks on a hugely complex treatment schedule at home, my pup looked like she was going to recover and her RBC went up to 37.5  and she had a bit off an appetite although she had finally lost 10lb. However then all of a sudden in a matter of a couple days, her front legs  muscles now also were initiated along  with her hind legs and her head. I tried to lift her to get her to walk but she totally collapsed and by morning she was completely limp to the point her head hung when I held her in my arms.  We had to make the decision then to stop her suffering and we lost this beautiful being.  You are all right, this is a terrible disease and I Was always very diligent with my pups to ensure their health, keep up with anything that could cause them harm but never knew about this disease to even watch out for the signs.  This week I’ve blamed myself thinking I did something wrong, maybe I should have pushed back on all the meds, seen signs earlier, but in the end, it was our decision to give her a fighting chance but this disease was just too much and extremely aggressive.  I’m so very proud of how hard she fought to stay home with us and impressed at how hard the hospital staff worked on her for these 3 weeks.   A week before she was diagnosed with this, my Shepard kept smelling her back and she (my husky) became very clingy, which hindsight I believe were signs something was off. That said it would most likely not have changed the outcome.  To all of you, I thank you for sharing your stories as they lent support for me as I go through this grieving process and I wish you all peace in the knowledge that your beautiful beings were in your lives, filled you with many memories and such wonderful unconditional love that only they can provide. I will continue on my journey now with an objective of bringing transparency to this disease in anyway I can.  Thank you all. Sedona’s mom

September 9, 2021

I am adding our experience with IMHA that afflicted our 6 year old lab golden retriever mix this past June.  I found this article and many comments to be helpful in preparing us for the ten day ordeal that we went through with our dog and ultimately letting her go after 3 blood transfusions, tx with prednisone, dexamethsone, mycohenolate and chemotherapy. Her HCT levels never stablized above 19% and the decision to euthanize was made after she failed to respond after the cessation of chemotherapy. We were grateful for the special hours spent with her during treatment and heartbroken with the loss. My KEY LEARNINGS with this terrible disease are that the odds of survival are low with current tx and letting your animal go is an acceptable decision at any point in order to spare them further suffering. Our vet team was heroic and wonderful however you as the owner bear the burden of making the call with little to go off except hope. Pay attention and act early on the signs/changes that your pet is giving you.  I noticed and was concerned that our relatively young dog was not able to complete 3 mile walks with out panting and rests but did not act on them until I found her collapsed on our kitchen floor.  It may have not changed the outcome in this case but maybe it would have bought her more time.  Lastly, to file under prevention, spread awareness of onion/garlic toxicity for animals that can accumulate over time and trigger IMHA.  Our dog's diagnosis was idiopathic IMHA but I have become especially aware of the potential exposure to animals. Thank you for this honest article (I have read many) and the many stories posted that helped me and my family process the loss of our special dog Gertie.

September 2, 2021

Hi I'm writing from Australia as I just lost my beautiful 11year old English springer spaniel to the horrible disease IMHA. I have been reading your stories and can see I am not the only one to have a dog catch this disease. My Bella was such a happy energetic girl right up to the end. On the Monday she was normal but I did notice she wanted to eat her dinner but hesitated which was very odd but after 1 Min she ate the lot.  Tuesday morning I could see she just didn't have any energy. I cuddled her and had a little cry as I could see she was not herself and as I cuddled she could wag her tail. We took her to our local vet and he said straight away she was very sick and after 2 hours of xrays blood tests and ultra sound they said there was nothing sinister in her body but they thought she had an autoimmune disease and urgently needed a blood transfusion so I took her to the vet hospital and with covid they took her in and I had to stay in the car which was so hard as I didn't get to say bye and it would be OK. Anyway after 2 blood transfusions in 24 hours and her liver was starting to cause issues I had to make the most horrible decision to let her go. It has been the worst time in my life and even now 2 weeks on I still cannot believe she will not be coming home or that I will never get to hug and talk to her again.  I truly hope they can get a cure for this horrible disease.  Reading your stories have helped me with the grieving.  Thank you

August 9, 2021

My dog recently passed suddenly and had all the symptoms oh IMHA . Did any other dog owners whose dogs passed from this have a shot of the drug CYTOPINT a month or so before passing .

Jen M
July 29, 2021

Two years ago I found this 2013 article. Our soulmate dog died two years ago today and I find myself back at this article. Why? Because I’m angry this disease doesn’t get as much attention as other diseases. I’m angry my dog is gone and it was sudden and tragic. IMHA needs a face. It needs attention. All those who are helping their pet fight IMHA and those who have lost their pet to this horrible disease- we need a voice.

July 28, 2021

my beautiful holly 10 years old has I.M.H.A went from a bouncy cocker in just few days swollen belly no energy went to vet said they would try steroids which she has been on for 5 days but now she hasant had any bowel movement for 24 hours even though she is eating and drinking chicken and tuna only i cant look at my fur baby suffer like this she has no quality of life just lying in her bad heavy breathing and sleeping so im going back to my vet tonight i think this will be our final journey im totally brokenhearted the hardest decision i have ever had to make

July 19, 2021

In reading these stories of love and compassion it provides a small amount of peace to my grieving heart. We are all astounded with the speed of IMHA progression. We are left with the horrible “WHY?”. The common thread is the randomness with which it strikes. The guilt of missing something or not doing something is somewhat lessened by reading these stories. In my case, I had a completely healthy dog.Last vaccinated for rabies 8 months ago. She received regular vaccines, heart worm preventative, flea and tick treatments. She was not a scavenger ( unlike my other 2 dogs) and she was fed “high end” kibble. When I first brought her to the vet they thought maybe she had pancreatitis from a new glucosamine treat. They checked her for heart worm, leptospira and a few other parasites…all negative. We don’t treat our grass with fertilizers or bug sprays. We have the usual complement of bees, wasps, spiders and snakes (non venemous). So we are still searching for a “WHY?”. The more I read, the more I realize that there is most likely no answer….and I don’t know if that helps. We want a reason, a cause, something to avoid in the future, something to guard against. Like most of you, our Niki was like a child in our family. She depended on us for everything and in exchange she gave is joy, companionship and love. It hurts to feel so helpless in her suffering. It hurts to lose her so fast and at the same time feel that we did all we could to try to beat this IMHA beast without extending her suffering. In the end, we know we made the right choice for her…as she could have never thrived in an immunocompromised state or been restricted in her LGD instincts. It still hurts, it REALLY hurts. I love my Niki and miss her.

Heather Vose
July 15, 2021

7.13.21 Our Lucky passed away of this horrible disease. He went from an  energetic, eating healthy dog to not eating, could not even stand up within two days. We are absolutely devastated.

July 12, 2021

We just lost our beautiful 5YO Great Pyrenees to IMHA. We are devastated. She turned away food on Monday night. Tuesday she was blah but drinking a lot. It had been in the 90’s and she was inside almost all week so I didn’t think she was being  dehydrated. Her pee was very yellow which didn’t make sense since she was drinking so much. Vet visit Wed morning showed her HCT at 34, bili slightly elevated. Vet Rx prednisone, anti nausea meds and anti parasitic. She ate on Thursday but was still blah. Friday afternoon she looked pale. Brought to vet. HCT at 20. Vet advised taking her to emergency for a transfusion. The emergency clinic was so underprepared for IMHA. No IV meds- which I was lead to believe they had in order to speed delivery and bypass pilling a sick dog. HCT at the ER dropped to 15. She was a 115# so they gave her 2-double units of packed cells. A few hours later, her HCT had only gone to 18….should have gone to 30 with the amount of record they gave. She had shown no signs of regeneration in her marrow (low retic). Her immune system was killing off the RBC too fast. She began having difficulty breathing, turned yellow. They feared she was having pulmonary embolisms. I could not watch her suffer. I could not imagine going through this scenario over and over again. She was a GP through and through. She ran the perimeter, chased away every squirrel, leaf, bird that “threatened” her territory. She had a majestic thundering gait and a bark like no other. She was my beautiful Niki and I am missing her terribly….we all miss her terribly. We have her sister , Tess and her border collie brother, Scooter who are grieving. IMHA is horrible. There are research grants available to find causes and better treatments. Hopefully these fundings will provide better outcomes. No one deserves this horrible affliction.

July 8, 2021

I lost my best friend and heart dog, Bailey, on 2/14/21 from this awful disease.  She had just turned nine years old and was a gorgeous, sweet, smart, and loyal black lab/border colie mix. Her last day with us was her ninth birthday... 2/12/21.  We spent the day celebrating her with cake, steak, and a present (that she surprisingly unwrapped herself).  That day, she was lethargic, but I thought she was just tired.  I noticed ZERO symptoms leading up to her diagnosis; in fact, I even thought a few days beforehand that she was the happiest and healthiest that we had seen her in years... I even thought about jogging with her again in the upcoming summer. When we woke up on 2/13/21, she was laying in a corner in my closet, which was not normal for her.  She went down to have some water, but just stood at her bowl panting and staring off into space.  We offered her breakfast, but she wasn't interested... This was a HUGE red flag as she was obsessed with her food.  I told my husband before that whenever Bailey didn't want to eat, something was MAJORLY wrong.  We then took her to go potty, and her urine was bright red.  I had already been on the phone with the ER (it was 6:00 A.M.) and decided that we should take her in.  I honestly thought she just had a really bad bladder infection as she had some UT issues in the past.  We dropped her at the vet... My husband carried her in/out of the car.  I put her little chin in my hands and kissed her on the lips before the tech came out to get her.  I remember her walking back into the hospital very slowly, and I broke down into tears.  My husband kept telling me she would be fine, but I knew something was really wrong with my baby girl. We couldn't stay by her due to COVID, so we went home (it was only about 15 mins away).  We got breakfast (I'll never be able to eat french toast again).  When we were finishing, we got the call that her red blood cell count was low and that they'd need to monitor her with bi-hourly blood draws.  They weren't sure what was causing her count to be that low, but made the IMHA diagnosis after her second draw.  When we brought her in, her count was at 19%.  It had dropped to 16% in just two hours. We didn't have much time to think or even learn about this disease.  The vet said that we could try a transfusion and see how she did; I didn't know that even if she had stabilized, she'd likely have a LONG road ahead of her and would never be herself again.  They started the transfusion early afternoon.  They called to let us know that her counts rose to 26%, and we felt some relief.  Clearly, she wasn't out of the woods yet, and they wanted to keep her and continue to monitor her counts. Shortly after this transfusion, she had an awful, awful reaction.  Eyes darting all over the place.  Shaking.  Labored breathing.  They were able to calm her down with more meds and get her to sleep a bit.  They let her be for a few hours.  We called before bedtime, and they said that they'd only call us if we NEEDED to know something or make decisions.  I hated the phrase "make decisions."  The techs texted me a picture of Bailey, and she looked so scared... I deleted it, and it recently resurfaced in my instagram. :( That day was just awful... Waiting around the phone for updates on whether my best friend would be ok.  I think about it five months later and get a horrible pit in my stomach. My husband and I went to sleep fully clothed.  I was emotionally exhausted but somehow slept.  We had our other dog, Reese, in bed with us. Sure as sh*t, the phone rang around 1:00 A.M... Her count dropped to 12%.  We decided that we needed to do right by Bailey as she had always done right by us.  I could NOT imagine losing her without being able to say goodbye, and the thought of her passing alone and scared in a hospital made me sick.  We got out of bed and drove in the -10 degree weather to the hospital.  We called to let the vet know that we had made the decision to not let her suffer anymore.  She initially said that they would need to bring Bailey out to our car for the procedure. I started sobbing and begging her to change her mind; sitting in negative temps would have been awful for everyone.  Thankfully, they changed their mind and allowed us to go into a little room for fifteen minutes. How could I saw all the things I needed to say to Bailey in just 15 minutes?!  When we walked up to the door, she was on a stretcher.  She lifted her head, her eyes lit up, and she wagged her tail when she saw us.  We got into the room, and they left us alone with her.  We held her, kissed her, and thanked her for ALL the days (I always used to say "thank you for another day" when we went to bed). Throughout her life whenever I'd take a trip/go away, I'd say, "Mumma go, Bailey stay."  This time, I said, "Bailey go, Mumma stay..."  I sang "You Are My Sunshine" to her while they administered the meds, and then she was gone.  When they wheeled her out, I literally collapsed onto the floor and was screaming and sobbing. I still can't wrap my head around any of this, and I'm in tears five months later from writing all of this out.  Ironically, a month before we lost her, I found the song "Choose you Twice" by Ben Zaidi.  Listen to it (with kleenex) if you've recently lost your baby.  Bailey wasn't just a dog... She was my best protector.  She stayed by my side through a divorce, the loss of my grandma, and four miscarriages.  She protected me up to the very end by never allowing me to witness any of her bad days... I only had good days with her, and my memories (except for this) are all of my healthy, beautiful little girl. If you're reading any of this and not sure what to do, I URGE YOU to think about what your dog needs from you - not what you need from your dog.  They have given you SO MUCH love, comfort, and companionship over the years; letting them go with dignity and with you by your side is the best gift you can give them.  They never leave us... Just 12 hours after Bailey died, I was standing in my kitchen, thinking about how she was in heaven, running through open fields, rolling in the grass, and chasing birds.  A few seconds later, I heard birds chirping.  The sound was coming from our bedroom.  I thought I was losing it, but I walked up there anyway.  Sure enough, our alarm clock was going off with the sound of birds at 2:30 in the afternoon.  I've NEVER set an alarm for that time, especially not in the middle of the day.  I KNOW that was Bailey telling me she made it to heaven and that she was safe.  Now every time I hear the birds chirping, I think of her and feel comforted.  I'd choose you over and over again, Baby Girl.  Rest in peace, and please wait for me.

Davinia Aubeeluck
June 19, 2021

We just our dog within 24 hours because of this disease. Thursday we go for our run. Friday she is a bit more quiet but showed a lot of excitement when we packed her bag to go away. Saturday she refused to get up the stairs and screamed of pain and wasnt following us. My husband found blood in her stool. Thought it was a bone. Call emergency. She get weird epileptic episode. She is admitted at 6 pm and passed away at 10 pm. The vet was doing tests and was surprised that it happened so quickly. It had attacked the brain. There were just a few bruises on her body which were not there on Thursday except a tiny spot on her ear which I thought was a mosquito bite. This is a terrible disease. Hope you can find a cure.

June 12, 2021

Are there breathing symptoms with this?Like trying a breath in and not being able to get it in and back out...jerky short breaths trying to catch a normal one?I have a white red nose pit..she is almost three...her pink ear skin has turned white but her gums are still red and normal...she already has yellow can I tell...!!I'm scared she is my life!!

May 27, 2021

My dog Jake just gonna be 7 in Aug. One minute running after squirrels to in the icu for 3 days red cell count 15 today not eating much, weak don't want to even lift his head. Also he swallowed a nail. But hospital says it's not related to IMHA or didn't cause that. He's on multiple meds and no quality of life. We are making a very hard decision after spending 4000 on trying to save him. I truly cant comprehend this disease. I am just so devastated over this. Signed broken hearted mama

May 8, 2021

We lost our sweet Westie Buster in 4 days to this horrible disease. He was fine last Saturday and passed this past Thursday. We were so bewildered as we watched him decline. Thank you to everyone for sharing your stories. It makes us feel less alone.

April 9, 2021

We have been battling this dreadful disease for 3 months with our 7 year old cocker/ doxie mix. He’s had 4 transfusions and  is on 20 mg of prednisone, cyclosporine, micophenolate, telmisartan (his kidneys were affected) and clopidogrel. His blood transfusions are lasting longer and there seems to be a slight response from his bone marrow.  Praying  the last one works long enough for his body to start responding better to the meds.  Praying for my sweet pup!

Jane Panitz
March 6, 2021

Our sweet boy Jaxon born this past SEPTEMBER 2020 was just diagnosed with Hemolytic Anemia at only 22 MONTHS! He is in hospital receiving care. Waiting for 2 other tests to come back. Came on very suddenly. In less then 48 hours his RBC went from 25 to 15. Not a good sign. Too young.

February 15, 2012

Our beautiful boy Bongo, our 13 and a half year old grey  Cavoodle, my best mate ,my little love & my 6 year old sons fluffy brother passed away from IMHA two weeks ago. Three weeks prior he was fine, then one day he just didn’t want to walk far and same the next day. Then his legs started to give way. I thought it was his back or ticks but I was very worried. We rushed him to emergency & after blood tests t& CT scans they  said it was IMHA. They kept him from jan 2-7th . He came home on steroids (prednisone & cyclosporine), anti blood clotting tablets. He lost over 3kgs in under two weeks. He was 17.6 then down to 14.8.. he had prolific muscle loss. He went back every 5 days approx for blood tests to see if his anemia levels were ok.. they were fairly stable and he seemed to have more energy and happier.. but all of a sudden after 17 days after his discharge he got weaker until he couldn’t get up to drink or wee .. it was sooo sad and I took him back and the vets took bloods and said it’s normal, he’s just tired from massive muscle loss from the steroids and it will get worse then better they hope, well the next day I took him back to our beautiful normal vet we’ve been at for 12 years.. we hadn’t been able to go there because of Covid lockdown. Our normal vet Pete did an emergency ultrasound and said he has pancreatitis and it’s painful and a high temperature. He put him on antibiotics and I took him home. It was a sad night as I realised he was very very sick. I slept on the floor with him and helped him drink and the next day was my sons first day back at school for the year. I put Bongo and Dylan in the car and on the way Bongo put his paw right on Dylans lap during the journey which as Dylan said ‘Bongo never does that’. Bongo knew it was time and loved his (human )brother . I was so teary. After we dropped Dylan to school I took Bongo to our lovely vet Pete who gave him 4 days of every chance he could , fairly, to stand up and show some improvement but he was sooo tired . He had his steroids lowered faster than normal to control the pancreatitis ... he still gobbled down his favourite chicken., he never lost his appetite. My son and husband and I , picked Bongo up from Pete and brought him home on Sunday afternoon 30th Jan 2020 and we spent this last evening together. His bowels weren’t great and he could t get up unassisted but geez he was a tough little fellow, stoic, living and brave. I lay with him all night and all the next day, Monday 31st jan 2020, crying and patting him & letting him know it’s ok to rest now and that we will be ok and my son said his goodbyes knowing he most probably won’t make it through the night, he’s 6.. I had my last licks and breathes with the most incredible spirited, gorgeous dog, my little  soul mate and he went to sleep in my lap... it’s a very sad time in our lives.. we are so grateful to have him in iur lives and so sad to say goodbye for now.. out beautiful Bongo

Melanie Noble
February 2, 2021

Yesterday we lost our 2.5 year old pit bull hazel to this horrible condition. I left for work Sunday morning and she seemed fine. By 9am my husband text me that she was urinating bright red blood. Being a nurse myself I thought UTI, kidney stones, she ate something, maybe even trauma because she was so hyper and crazy. Never did I think in 24 hours she would be dead. She continued to urinate blood throughout the day and get progressively weaker. This is a puppy who bum rushes the door with every visitor. She had the worst manners lol. When I got home from work she didn’t move off the couch. I told my husband this is not normal we need to take her to the emergency room now. Unfortunately due to covid restrictions they wouldn’t allow us in. They called us and told us that she had IMHA and that she needed a transfusion and steroids. She stayed the night and was transfused. The next morning her levels barely increased and I was told her red blood cells were being destroyed as soon as they were being transfused and that without multiple very expensive transfusions she would not survive. I wanted an honest answer so I called around and did my research. Unfortunately this is a horrible diagnosis. If these poor dogs do survive after thousands of dollars and multiple relapses, their quality of life is not the same. They may need lifelong steroids which then come with other complications. I decided to take her home and try to give her the steroids  and force oral fluids with a syringe. We got home from the vet at 12 noon the next day and 2 pm she started having labored breathing and was incontinent of urine and stool (which was still so bloody). She was orange (her gums, whites of her eyes, belly skin, the skin inside her ears, and her nose) all from her own body destroying the red blood cells it so needed to oxygenate her vital organs. She did not seem in pain but she seemed scared. I can’t imagine what it felt like for her to be unable to catch her breath. Knowing the end was near I called my vet begging for him to put her down because it was so painful to watch. I wanted her to live so badly but I knew that she was already gone. She wasn’t interacting and had a blank stare. He had the nerve to tell me two things which I will never forget. One, he could see us tomorrow (I’m like she will be dead by then) and two, I cannot be with her during the process of putting her to sleep. Here I am with my dying puppy and I’m having to choose between keeping her home and suffering, or letting her die alone and scared on a cold metal table. Fortunately I pulled myself together long enough to google search home euthanasia options. I found a mobile vet that came to the house and did it while she lay on the couch in her favorite spot wrapped in a soft blanket with her head in my lap. The thought of her being gone was too hard to bear, but once I saw her struggling to breath for as long as she did, I just wanted her to be calm and rest. I was the saddest and most traumatic thing myself, my husband, and my kids have ever had to witness.

January 25, 2021

My 11 year old neutered Belgian Malinois , a former sheriff patrol dog was diagnosed with IMHA. I noticed signs of trouble very early. He has been healthy up until this Dx. He has been fed a raw diet for 9 years prior to this. Then due to the vets and/or city clerks and what I will call laziness on their part, my Mal ended up getting rabies vaccine 4 years in a row. I believe this is what triggered the IMHA. The corticosteroid treatment was causing other issues, including "depression" in my dog. I read every research article I could find and access on this disease. I continued with his raw diet and added particular herbs to boost his system. He just turned 13 and is doing better than any of us dared hope for. His vet, the one that diagnosed him is impressed. She agrees he should not receive anymore vaccinations and said to keep up with the changes I made in his diet. I notice that a couple times a year he get a small flare-up of symptoms so I increase the herbs until the symptoms are reduced again. I empathize with dog owners who have lost their beloved friends to this and with owners still fighting for their dog's life. I'm not sure if what I'm doing is truly working but hoping I'll have my buddy for several more years.

Joanne Elaine Miceli
January 23, 2021

Our 9 year old, healthy GSD Leo received the merial lepto vaccine on may 4, 2020 and by july 9 he had developed Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia and spent 8 days in critical care before he died.  This explains why our 7 year old GSD/St Bernard developed IMHA in 2007, four months after her only lepto shot. Four days in critical care and died.  We need to get the word out somehow.

December 19, 2020

We lost our beloved 22 month old Golden retriever to this horrible disease yesterday. In the space of 4 days she want from being able to run and walk to having no energy and no appetite. Losing her has ripped our heart out, the suddenness of it and the sheer shock we will never be able to run or hold our baby again. Thank you to everyone’s post here as it’s comforting to know we aren’t alone

Brandi Jackson's Mommy
December 16, 2020

A week ago our beloved English bulldog dog who always a ys always full of life became ill. I took him to the vet and was told he had IMHA. They gave me medications for him and I took him home think ok hell be fine. Then I came on here 3nights ago learning more about IMHA and reading what others had go through. OMG I cried and cried as I started to lose hope in Jacksons recovery. The very next day he was declining. I had to carry him out side, he wouldn't eat, he was white as a ghost and was struggling to breath. The vet ran blood work on him and comes in to tell us that the good news is his rbc levels went from 14 to 17 but his wbc went from 1200 to 4200. Because the steroid suppressed his immune system now he had a bad infection. So she gave us some more medication and told us he's a fighter and to take home and see what happens. The vet bring jackson to the car and hands him to my friend to put into the car while I was inside paying. When I came out side I opened the back door of the car to set with jackson and comfort my baby of 8yrs. He passed away at that very moment. I feel so lost without my baby. IMHA is a horrible disease. It sucks the life of of my happy healthy dog in a matter of days. I am truly heart broken. He was my best friend, he was very special. We spent all our time together. Even in his last days when he didn't have the strength to eat or go out side he would still find strength to get up and come find mommy if I left his side. When you have such a bond with animal how do you move on from the emptiness I now feel.

December 15, 2020

I lost my Molly Sunday at 2:30 am from this horrible Evan's syndrome. I mean she was fine from Feb on after a bout of ITP/ Prednisone.  They never told me this could happen. All last week she was fine until Friday I noticed she couldn't climb the tree or jump the fence. Saturday 12/12/20 she would not eat barely drink and I had to carry outside.  By 12 she was barely here and my daughter said we should take her ER Vet. They gave her 50:50 chance but said it would >5000 dollars to to try stabilize her. She could not walk at this point barely opened her eyes. As RN I knew that my beautiful Beagle would not make it despite fighting. I looked at her and said do you want to go home (meaning Heaven). In her own way she said Yes. I wish they would've told me when she had ITP.  She was just at the vet 12/2/20 getting a Cytopoint injection could that have triggered something.  What a awful Christmas this will be.  My daughter's dog is so depressed.  Prayers to all who lost their doggie friends.

December 11, 2020

After reading so many heartbreaking stories, thought I’d share a positive one. My 9 year old Coton de Tulear was diagnosed with IMHA in early July and is still with me 5 months later.  It was a horrible experience and several times in July thought he wouldn’t make it despite multiple medications, three blood transfusions, IV hydration and several overnight stays in the vet hospital.  He was weak, lethargic and wouldn’t eat.  After almost four weeks on Prednisone, cyclosporine, clopidogrel and more IV hydration, he started to improve and continued the upward trend through the summer.  As his red blood count remained stable, Prednisone was gradually reduced from 10 ml to 1 ml daily.  Maybe this month it can be stopped. He is still on the other medications.  Unfortunately prednisone likely triggered diabetes so that added insulin and a glucose monitor to his health care regiment.  (I’m still struggling with getting the monitor to consistently stay attached.). Diabetes has now triggered cataracts; going to vet ophthalmologist next month.   What’s most important is that he’s happy, feeling good, eating well and the only other side effect was losing a lot of his normally very fluffy coat.  It’s hoped the reduction and eventual ending of prednisone will restore his coat and moderate his diabetes.  Getting to this point was incredibly difficult emotionally and very costly.  I consider myself and my dog very lucky;  we had an excellent vet, he responded to treatment and I could afford it.  I often feel guilty spending so much to save one dog but when I look at him, I’m glad I did.  Now the goal is no relapses.  Anyone with pets developing IMHA have my utmost understanding and sympathy; it is a terrible disease.   I hope my story provides encouragement in knowing sometimes IMHA can be successfully treated.  Just be prepared for a very rough ride. 

November 5, 2020

Grappling with the loss of our girl this evening... fine yesterday and this morning definitely NOT fine, she urinated all over the floor and it was so dark, I thought something was wrong with her kidneys. I looked at her gums and they were so yellow. We managed to get her into a vet around 1130 and she was dead before 5 pm. My heart hurts so bad.

Mehdi Lasker
November 5, 2020

I went through some of the most traumatic experiences with my dog dealing with this she is a minpin. Needless to say I waited about 5-6 days before realizing something was seriously wrong with her. When I finally figured it out I rushed her to the emergency room and they said they had no idea what was wrong with her and she only had 5% of blood in her entire body! The vet stated at the first place that it would be humane to euthanize her and I said well I want to see how she responds to a blood transfusion before anything else. She said they didn't have blood there but I can drive her to another Vet where they did have blood. I ended up driving in about 110-degree weather with no AC to another Emergency vet about 20 minutes away. We got her there and the Dr. said her theory was IMHA about 6,000 later and still ongoing treatment she is alive and the best part she doesn't have cancer which is one of the biggest worries. She went from almost being dead and a Vet Recommending her to die to living and thriving she's almost completely off any medication that has to do with IMHA and I am hoping she lives at least a couple more years. If your vet tells you there is a slim chance get another opinion I didn't accept it and my dog lived yes it can be expensive but if you have the means I would recommend it. I could have put my perfectly healthy dog down and instead shes alive doing great.

November 4, 2020

Just like many of you, I find myself looking for answers online as to why beloved dog "Blue" lost his battle to this rare and devastating disease (IMHA/EVANS SYNDROME). Our baby boy was a beautiful Blue Boston Terrier and had just turned 3 on 10/07/2020. Three weeks later on 11/02/2020, he would lose his battle to EVANS SYNDROME. Why did this happen? Why did he quickly start deteriorating? What could we have done more to save him? On 10/15, we noticed Blue was not himself. He was lethargic, wouldn't eat and was in pain. Of course we took him to the doctor and at first they thought he had taken a tumble and thus the reason for his pain and lethargy. They ran some blood work to be on the safe side and noticed his platelets where a little low. So they sent us home with pain killers and prednisone. The next day he was a bit better, but still a little lethargic but was eating like a champ. As the days went on, he wasn't getting much better. We rushed him back to our vet and they were able to run a full CBC with labs and he came back with abnormal low platelet count and this time they noticed his red blood cells were also falling. The vets put him on a higher dose Prednisone and also put him on Omeprazole, Leflunomide and anti nausea meds. He bounced back for about 3 days and on 10/28 we were rushing him to the ER after vomiting a lot of blood that morning. They ran x-rays and an ultrasound on him, and all came back normal. But his red blood cells and platelets continued to drop. Doctors recommended an immediate blood transfusion which bounced him back, but his red blood and platelets were still at low levels. After two days in intensive care, they had to give him a second transfusion and up his medication. His platelet count at this point was practically zero and his red blood count dropped from 32% to 13% overnight. After being in the hospital for 4 days, two blood transfusions later and countless medications. On 11/01, his red blood count and platelets were at a level that the doctors agreed he could go home. So we decided to bring our pup home to make his as comfortable as possible. We were praying for his recovery but on 11/02, he woke up even worse than when we brought him home. He wouldn't eat and barely had the strength to get up to pee. His little body was losing the fight, and at 5pm that same day we decided to end his suffering. This rare disease took our precious boy and I'm still in a state of shock and just wondering why this happened to him. At the end, we will never know. I find comfort in knowing we gave him the best chance at life and the doctors did everything in their power to save him. (5 well experienced vets, couldn't save his life). That's how serious this was for him. With this experience, all I can say is...If you notice strange bruising, lethargy, loss of appetite or yellowish gums. Take this as a very serious sign and get your pet to the Vet ASAP. And above all, make sure you have your pet on health insurance. I wish I did! Perhaps my Blue would still be here if we had the financial assistance to get him through it all. But again, the doctors said "even if money wasn't the issue, this disease is vicious and incredible hard to treat". At the end, our boy was just too weak and EVANS SYNDROME took another life. To those of you who are battling this right now. I am truly sorry and wish you and your beloved pet the very best outcome. They have a very, very hard battle ahead and they will need you 100% by their side. In Blue's memory. We will always love you Blue Blue's. 

Theresa M. Collier
October 28, 2020

This article was a eye opener for me. On 10/26/2020 we lost our loved Lily (shi Tzu) to this horrible disease. Never in my wildest dream did I ever hear of something although Lily has had her share of bladder stone surgeries 3 to be exact so when she started acting strangely not eating but actually took a treat so I said umm maybe she is just feeling tired because being 10 years old in doggie life is draining. After day 2 i told my husband she is not eating but she still drank water he sated well maybe she has a bug at least she drank water on day 3 (Sunday) again turned her nose up at her food. Monday came and the same thing I said ok Im calling the Vet thinking she has some sort of virus or her bladder stones are coming back. Dropping her off at the Vet during these time of the pandemic I had to wait in the car. The vet calls me and tells me the blood test are not normal which she want on to explain this horrible disease, especially how her gums were very pale (how did I miss this) The vet explained blood transfusions although there was not a good chance of hope for her this felt like someone punched me in the gut I couldn't understand how she went from being perfectly fine and getting this sort of news I cried like i have never cried before and begged the doctor what could I do when she went on the explain the blood transfusion and how this would have to be a exact match, I told her I have her brother at home Im sure he would be the match, but she went on to say it would probably be a very small chance our girl would come out of this.  I had to make the pain staking choice of letting her go. Words cannot explain how I hurt for her and how I held her little body as she received her last shot. I felt sick to my stomach and cried like i have never cried before. Its been 2 days now and I still long for her and her silly ways of picking up her toys and running around and bothering her brother. I can only hope my grief for her passes I know she wouldn't want me to feel this way especially whenever I would either sniffle my nose she would look at me with the big eyes and say what's wrong mom.  I will forever love her my sweet Lil.

October 26, 2020

We had to say goodbye to our 3 year 8 month old beautiful border collie around 7pm this evening. On friday we went for a walk on the beach, played ball had great fun like any trip to the beach and on saturday morning she was very lethargic not her usual self so we headed straight to our vet who diagnosed anemia we minded her all day but she continued to go down hill, i sat up all saturday night with her and we were in our vets again at 8am sunday who diagnosed IMHA, we transferred  her immediately to the ucd the best vets in ireland where they treated her with amazing care and kindness, within an hour of arrival she had a blood transfusion but no matter what they tried IMHA ravaged our beautiful baby and she just could not fight it, her stats continually dropped all day today despite all their best efforts to save her. My husband and his sister went in this evening to be with her for her final moments, she went off peacefully and we are left absolutely heartbroken and devastated and stunned that our beautiful girl who was a perfectly healthy dog on Friday is gone today.  Id never  even heard of IMHA until Saturdayl and it has wreaked havoc on our world. 2020 hs been a horrendous year for many reasons but our beautiful precious collie kept us laughing and going throughout it all. Im not sure how we will cope now

Francesca Maiorana
October 22, 2020

My Daisy (jack russel)  who will be 12 in January and is my very best friend seemed to be slow on her walks last week and not wanting to go out anymore. I chalked it up to she is aging. Turning grey etc. sat morning she woke and there was blood on her bed I noticed an abscess in her mouth I went to vet and they said she needed her teeth extracted but sent her homes with meds. Today is Thursday she was still bleeding and not going out at all her stool was black this morning. She didn’t eat or drink at all yesterday. I took her to vet this morning and she also has this disease. They did a chest X-ray and it’s clear so they don’t feel it’s cancer as their is no metastatic cancer. I made them keep her to start a transfusion and meds and an ultrasound tomorrow. I’m so upset right now. I’m beside myself. I don’t want her there. But I want her better. Idk what to do. Her platelet count is 0 and her encyclopedia is 13%. Will she come home will she recover from this. I feel like I stopped her off and I won’t see her again. I feel terrible that  she’s  there abs probably scared and thinks I left her there. I’m just distraught right now.

October 15, 2020

I wanted to share my story here to help anyone if I can. My Maltese was 11 but very healthy and playful and looked and acted like a puppy. She had one bout of Thrombocytopenia 2 years ago which she recovered from quickly with Prednisone. Saturday she couldn’t stand and would fall over and seemed sick. Went to the vet, but since it was Saturday couldn’t get bloodwork results until Monday. Gave her a bunch of stuff and said if things got worse go to Pet ER which I did several hours later. From there she spent 3 days. PCV went from 19 to 17 to 15 and then up to 23 after a transfusion. They let me take her home to watch her because I couldn’t bare her being there. Next morning I took her back to get an appetite suppressant and they took her in for a quick PCV because gums were pale. PCV was 12. I really had to make a tough choice at that point if I continue with more transfusions, more poking and prodding, more days away and then how it would be for her for months. I had spent $4,500 at that point and it would be maybe another $4500 for this next stage and then ongoing medications, tests and checks. I would do anything to help her, but I also couldn’t stand the idea of her suffering. I had found this forum at the beginning and thought there weren’t a lot of success stories  and had hoped that was because maybe once their outcome was good they didn’t bother to post, but it seems that usually it’s just so unknown what will happen case by case and it’s really hard to treat. The doctor said to give an idea of odds that 1/3 respond poorly and die at the hospital, 1/3 respond and go home but time is unknown whether that’s for a day, a week, a year etc., and 1/3 respond to treatment and go on  for a long time. With her being 11 and already having an immune event, we made the impossible decision to say good-bye and it’s impossibly hard and painful and you can’t know what might have been and I can’t stop going to take her out or opening the door and expecting her. I’ve lost people before and this was so much more to lose someone who was with me 11 years and was  the best friend I have ever had. I had to tell the kids and that makes it even harder. I’m so sorry for everyone here. The vet said after he can’t tell people what he would do, but that he would have said good-bye also. Not sure if they just tell everyone that, but it made me feel better and they reminded me of all I had done for her with her dental work and always trying to give her the best care and I think all we can do is our best. The pharmacist who made some her medicines said you just have to go with your stomach and I think we all innately know what’s best, it’s just hard to do it. I think I knew the first day when she got sick, but I had to try. These stories helped me know I’m not alone and I hope mine helps someone.

October 11, 2020

Approximately 5 years ago, my beautiful 2 year old Russian Siberian Cat developed this horrible disease.  I took him to the emergency clinic and luckily was referred to a wonderful vet in a close major metropolitan city.  He ended up receiving 2 blood transfusions and spent 2 weeks in the emergency hospital.  I spent a fortune.  For the next two years, he had a revolving amount of pills.  For the past 2 years, he has been without any medication and has fortunately remained in remission.  I treasure each and every day with this boy.  Its been a difficult illness but I been fortunate to have such great care of him. I recall reading about it after his diagnosis, feeling nothing but despair but I wanted to try to save his life.

October 4, 2020

On October 1st, we noticed our 15 month old female Golden Retriever acting not like herself. She was still walking around, but was definitely not the same. By early Saturday (the 3rd) morning, we were very concerned and took her to the emergency vet. Her eyes were yellow and she rapidly declined in the 30 minute drive to the vet. They took her back and that is the last time we got to see her. She made it through the night and were told that she had a good chance of recovery. She threw a blood clot the next evening and died without her family, without us ever getting to say goodbye. This disease is horrible and I wish there was something, anything we could have done to prevent it or treat her. She was the most healthy, loving dog we ever could have asked for.

October 4, 2020

Lost my American Staff yesterday morning. She was running and playing fetch on Monday. She even snuggled in the nook of my legs as I fed our new baby and loving licked the baby’s feet. Her eyes were bright and she was happy. She ate her dinner and then sat under the dinner table hopeful for scraps at the kids feet, just like every night. The next day, she wouldn’t get up from the rug. She seemed depressed. Never came to bed and slept on the rug where she was most of the day. Took her on a walk and she dragged behind me, lethargic and sad. Could barely hold her head up. Vet told us it was IMHA. We started steroids but she eventually wouldn’t even eat the small food we stuffed the pills into. She kept drinking copious amounts of water though. I eventually had to carry her everywhere including outside to potty. I had a strong feeling she was not going to make it. Her PCV was 11% and transfusions were futile. She loved the sun. The sun was out and it was a beautiful fall day so I laid her out on a blanket in the yard where she loved to be. She was there for a couple hours before I carried her in and laid with her on the couch stroking her head as she breathed heavily. Eventually carried her to my bed where she laid by me through the night. I woke often to stroke her and offer water. Suddenly at 7:30am she was thrashing around, almost like she was having a dog dream. She vomited, went ridged and then took her last breath. I keep reliving those last moments over and over. Her brown eyes were so scared. My heart is just broken. That dog was everything to me. This disease is horrible.

September 30, 2020

First of all, you're probably here because your best friend has been diagnosed IMHA and for that I want to say that I am so sorry. I don't normally post to reddit or other places, I usually am one of the people searching for the information. So this is really my first post ever in attempt to help people with our story. When she was diagnosed with IMHA I spent hours searching for any information. When I tell you I was desperate there is really no way to describe how deeply I was in it. I can say with confidence this will be the first story you see like it. Perhaps that's why I am so set on sharing this with the people seeking answers the way I was. I wish I had seen a post like this and I hope I am able to bring you any sense of peace even though this is going to be so hard to hear. Willow's story: I got Willow Marie when she was just 6 weeks old along with her dear sister Lila May, two tiny papillon/long hair chihuahua mixes that looked like neither breed. They were my first dogs just on my own. I have taken better care of them than myself the last almost 7 years. They taught me so much about forgiveness because I fucked up with them sometimes. Twenty somethings are a trip. However I learned from them and with them, they gave me unconditional love something I had not experienced yet. We drove each other crazy sometimes but it was all in the name of love. I have loved these dogs with every fiber and molecule in my body. Willow took care of us all is the real truth to it. She cleaned her sister, and always made sure I was taking care of us all. She was vivacious, she made everyone laugh, and anyone that met her fell in love and she became part of them too. She was incredibly unique and she was truly everyone's dog. We often called her Eeyore, because if she didn't get exactly what she needed she would put on quite the sad act but I promise she always got what she wanted. Willow would get up every day when the sun came up whether I got up with her or not and demanded to start her day. She would greet the house with her gentle soul, and greet the birds... not so gently. So, when one random day she woke up at noon that was my first raised eye brow. As the week went on I noticed she seemed a little more down than usual but we were experiencing wildfires and the smoke was terrible so I was making her stay inside. Then my next concern was that she rode to one of her favorite places in the back seat curled up into herself. Then during the stay she just kind of stuck near us and didn't really play. I kept it on my radar and told my partner that if she didn't start acting better I would take her in because she seemed off. I tried taking her for a walk to see if that brightened her spirits and she was behind the pack. I watched her feeling it in my gut something was off. She would sit outside and still eat a bit so I wasn't worried, but then she started to get worse. I thought I would give her one of her anxiety pills to see if that helped her at all and as I was giving it to her I noticed her gums were a little pale. My heart sank but I read that it could be from pain as well. I remembered a couple years before this girl had me in emergency and costing me $500.00 for a trapped fart and she had to be on pain meds. Makes sense right? Not really eating, tucking under herself, and pain. I went to our friends and she did really well with the new friends we were meeting. She wasn't 100% herself but still had a good time. When we got home she chased a bunny 4 houses down and I thought jeez, she's fine. I gave her little pats on her little slow buns with my foot all the way home and felt a lot of peace. She even ate when she went inside and all was well. Then I woke up a few hours later to her throwing up violently all the food she had eaten. She was weak and feeling so fragile. I put her in her spot and when I woke up she was looking even paler in the gums and just so tired. I rushed her to the emergency vet. I thought, I know my damn dog and I'm not waiting something is WRONG. I handed her off to the vet hoping she would make it to top priority because I couldn't wait and neither could she. She made it to top priority and they began working on her and running a blood panel and a blood smear because. 1 hour later sitting in my car and shaking with anticipation for my best friend I got the call. I answered and she asked me about our recent activity, if she had gotten into anything, and there was no way. She was picky and didn't eat anything that wasn't delicious. After all of this she said "Willow is severely anemic and will need a blood transfusion as soon as possible, she has IMHA an autoimmune disease..." My whole entire world felt like it was paused. Now, I know that maybe you've heard and read stories like the ones above but this is where our story is unique to the other stories and threads. I don't have 4,000 dollars, we couldn't do the blood transfusion. I wanted to die right there on the phone with my partner, my dog was dying. I accused her of not being willing to try when she said we didn't have the money, I immediately started beating myself to a pulp not having the money to save her. I told the vet that I was so sorry but I couldn't do it and that I needed the next option. Those options were prednisone and azathioprine. We started the prednisone immediately, and then attempted to find azathioprine. It was hell, no one had it. We found a competent vet and went to her the following Monday for a second opinion who was confident at what we were looking at was IMHA. She told me that we weren't at euthanasia yet, and to go get that second med and come back in a week. I was devastated for my sweet girl. She was miserable and I could see it but there was hope. I drove over two hours there and back to pick up the azathioprine because it had to be made for her. I was told its incredibly toxic and I had to handle with care. I thought, Jesus what is this going to do to my dog. All I cared about was getting her better. I went straight home and gave it to her. She hated her meds, and it was twice a day. The azathioprine was given at night and she would lick for hours after I gave it to her. She had constant diarrhea, she only ate bland meats and rice, and then spent the day hiding under our bed. I couldn't get her to hang out with us, and days into it I noticed her tiny legs would shake holding herself up while giving kisses. I cried every day for her. I felt her muscle mass slipping away more and more every day and eventually when people would hold her or pick her up she would wheeze and she would struggle to breathe. Her breathing was fast and she even developed a heart murmur, I could quite literally see it beating in her chest. I spent hours of research. I even found that PROBIOTICS could send her into a relapse or create infection in a dog with IMHA, and I gave them daily probiotics. I got rid of everything that could hurt her. I carried her every where and tried my best to make her comfortable. I was ready to put her in a bubble and the vet said that if she ever reached remission she would have to be in one. Anything could trigger a relapse. She could never be vaccinated again, and never be around dogs that weren't vaccinated or sick. So there we were. My sweet angel dog who would hike, kayak, run the fields for hours, take care of all of us, jump, howl, and run the whole dog park was withering away right in front of me. My desperation grew even though my loved ones tried to get through to me. I looked up meals good for anemia, I planned, I learned I did it all. I was giving her baby food with perfect ingredients, and gave her pedialyte and calorie replacements. I just wanted to get to our appointment and blood draw. Maybe just MAYBE they were wrong, and MAYBE this med would work, and and and. I lost sleep, my hips were bruised from laying on the floor watching her breathing. I looked for answers, looked for people and things to blamed. I remembered she took vaccines harder than her sister and swore them off (don't do that). I was chained to an emotional roller coaster and then I just realized. Every time I saw her she was looking at me with desperate whale eyes. She was having anxiety. She was hiding all the time to protect herself because she was vulnerable. Willow Marie with the endless personality was slipping into a instinct only role. Her own sister would try and be near and willow would back off as if she was a threat. I had already lost my sweet girl. I couldn't deal with it, and I kept going. I went to wal mart and I was obsessively checking labels and ingredients and it suddenly hit me. "What am I doing?" I asked myself for the first time. My dog is suffering. Her body is shutting down and its giving her anxiety. I was giving her anxiety. The pills, the food, the pedialyte. It was too much. I held her and I cried for the next few days. I talked to my friends and family and we cried together. I started seeking help in making the decision to end this awful ride for all of us. Willow has always hated pain, and she was in it. If I almost stepped on her she would scream.I was asking her to fight something that was her worst nightmare. Weekly blood draws, toxic medication, and just the physical pain already occurring. I couldn't ask her to do this. I felt guilt just thinking about it. Nothing major had happened yet. No collapsing, nothing was turning yellow. She wasn't "there" but you guys... she was. She told me she was with her eyes full of anxiety and not even I could comfort her. When your dog doesn't even want your comfort anymore, something isn't right. Since I had them and since I knew it was an option I always said I would do it at home if I had the opportunity. I started half heartedly searching for one and found Lindsey Mccalister from Heart in Home Vet in Vancouver, WA. I emailed her and I told her our story, she immediately said she was sorry. We talked quite a bit and we even spoke on the phone. I told her I didn't know what to do and that I was so scared of doing the wrong thing. However, I couldn't bare my girl or myself going though a blood clot, a organ completely failing, seizures, collapsing, the risk list goes on. She told me that the only way to ensure a peaceful passing and not have a crisis is giving her the chance to go in peace sooner than later while she still has dignity and it isn't in a cold room on a metal table (please if you do it this way, its your choice, this is just my interpretation and what I believe my dog wanted, willow HATED the vet.) Lindsey knew my heart was broken and never pressured me into anything, but did agree that this was the kindest thing I could do. So I decided I loved my best friend too much to let her continue to suffer. I am crying right now just typing this. It was absolutely the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but like many of you I would do anything for my dogs. I canceled the blood draw for that Monday and had Lindsey come instead. I couldn't imagine this life for a pup who loved life, the outdoors, and hated needles and vets. Living in a bubble and enduring the next year of toxic meds, and maybe forever was just not it. The day before we sat in the sun, she marked her siblings pee and let them know she's still a baddie and runs the coop. We had snacks and for dinner that little thing ate 1/2lb cheese burger which left her a little gassy which doesn't normally. Her body was telling all of us that is was working so hard. It was a long last night, she was up and down. And she next day she was so shaky, but still giving me kisses. I let her do what she wanted and helped her around until Lindsey came. We went over the paperwork and process. I let Willow get some water and go potty, and then I picked up my baby and took her outside and put her on the bed we laid out in the sun and the shade. I hugged and kissed her and Lindsey gave her the sedative. She screamed, I won't lie and it killed me. But I then got down with her and within 15 seconds she was surrounded by her favorite people and was getting all the snacks. For a moment her sweet eyes looked at me and I saw my happy little girl again before she drifted off to sleep in my hands. Once she was out Lindsey came to administer the second shot. She was so gentle to all of us. Willow let go easily and quietly, and I believe that was a sign in itself. It's been just a couple days and I have cried my way through most of them. I have gone through guilt, denial, panic that I did the wrong thing, acceptance, and then back through it all again. I was really hurting last night, we made the bed and I didn't have to prep her spot because she slept on my head every night. I got in bed and started looking though pictures and videos. I was quickly reminded who my girl was. A tiny but mighty loud little gremlin that never slowed down for anyone or anything. Until IMHA showed up in our lives. I am writing this partly for the release and in honor of my sweet Willow Marie, but mostly because I have a different story than everyone I read about. I didn't spend 4k-20k on blood transfusions only to lose her anyway. She never spent a week in the hospital missing me. She never had to have strangers poke her and hurt her even if it supposed to help. She didn't have to go through anymore pain and suffering than she was in. It was genuinely the hardest thing I have ever done, but I was able to do it because I loved her. I never truly understood loving someone so much you're willing to let go until now. IMHA is not something deeply understood. Unless there is another issue causing it, you aren't even going to be able to know what it was. I asked myself so many questions, was it the vaccines, the tick when she was 2, was it environment, the flea treatment, was it me, did she eat something, was it the probiotics. I will never know. However, I do know that I did the right thing for Willow. And I am struggling every minute, but she isn't going through this anymore. She's free, like she was before IMHA. I'm not telling you what to do here, I just wish I had something like this to read when I was feeling desperate and unsure. The truth is, you know your best friend. You know what they want and don't want. If you aren't sure, they will tell you. If you think they aren't, you're just not listening. So put down the phone and close the computer. Be with them, they are terrified, and they're body is trying to kill them. They need you to be present and they need your help whatever that looks like for them, not you. You need to ask them and yourself what the next step is. If it feels like it's impossible, then it's probably the right answer. Trying to save her was easy for me and harder on her and I would have done it for the rest of her life. But I loved her too much. She never let me suffer a day in my life, why would I let her suffer. Again, I want to say that I'm sorry. I also want you to know it's not your fault no matter how you got here. I know you're losing your best friend but this doesn't mean anything for the time you have spent together. You still have all of those times. If they are hiding from you, it't not you, they still love you and you are still they're best friend and that's why they are hiding. To protect you, and themselves. I know it's hard to make the decision, and I know it's hard to realize that sometimes our help hurt's. But, we have to hear it. Love them, hold them, never forget them, and please god if you can help it do not leave their side as they move on. I was there for every minute of it and I would regret otherwise. Willow, it was truly in honor in life and death my dearest friend. FXCK IMHA,Kai.

September 27, 2020

We lost our Beloved 4 yeatr old mixed breed super high energy girl Paloma to this disease just this last week 24Sep2020 . On Friday she was chasing balls in the park. Running around the yard tearing up her toys On Sat she was lethargic And didnt want to eat we observed her and she was drinking and still had enough energy to jump up on sofa and bed. Sun morn she was feverish and we called the dr and checked her temp it was on the high side. We brought her in to the hospital and she was tested extensively and diagnosed with AIHA. We said do evertjing for our girl. She got heavy steroids and 2 transfusions the team were so wonderful but their hospital ran out of her blood type for another transfusion, the dr found another hospital in town so we transferred her there for her last chance at survival. She took the blood well and stabilized for some hours then spiraled down. We knew we had to get her home to be with us. The hospice dr gave us an early morn appt so I spent all night comforting her. Praying she would pass away naturally. We had to send her away with the dr in the morn in my arms. We are heartbroken and hope a test or cure will be discovered. Note the second hospital does have an experimental plasma transfusion so there is hope but it would need to be first line effort and at this point its a 20k procedure with not alot of survival data

Joe Morris
September 26, 2020

Polo my beloved German Shepard of two years came down with this disease four days ago. It started with him walking a bit slower and not being as playful with my other dog. Then I noticed his gums were white. Rushed him straight to the vet where they told me he had IMHA. His RBC was just 10%. He had a blood transfusion and is now taking vitamin K and steroids. It’s touch and go and I hate to see him like this. I’ve got my fingers crossed he pulls through. His blood has gone up to 12%. Not great progress but progress nonetheless. I can’t believe how quickly he changed. And I blame myself for not spotting it sooner. More attention needs to be made of this horrible condition in vets or pet shops. Posters whatever. Cause I never heard of it. Praying my boy makes it through this and every other dog who is suffering the same. Condolences to those who have lost their best friend.

September 22, 2020

My dog was 4 when he was diagnosed (now 5) he received transfusions and IV’s all throughout Christmas he was sent home a week later with 4 meds he happily took them and he’s at a medium/ low dose now (6months later) we are having trouble titrating anymore now as he gets sick when we titrate but since we haven’t had any complications yet we continue to keep him at this dose. 10,000 dollars later we are trying our best to keep him with us, with the meds he has the same temperament as he did before the disease and isn’t in pain. We hope that if we titrate his meds even slower we can fully get him off of his meds and defeat IMHA.

September 16, 2020

I had to put my sweet little girl to sleep yesterday (Tuesday).  I totally had a melt down while I cuddled her tiny tired body as they gave her the injection in her IV. She was only 5 years old - a 6 pound precious Pomeranian. She got sick Sunday (vomiting, had a seizure, lethargic, not wanting to eat).  Monday the vet told me she has IMHD and what we could try, the expense and trauma to her and that we most likely are fighting a loosing battle.  I brought her home with me with 4 meds to try but my little girl wouldn't/couldn't take them or eat as she was already so far gone.  I couldn't stand watching her waste away.  I can't believe this came on that fast.  Heartbroken.  COMPLETELY heartbroken.

September 15, 2020

July 12th started off as a normal day for both myself and my beautiful Tyra. Went for a walk,just a normal day. July 13th l got things ready to take Tyra for a walk,rang her one collar with bells ...which she would usually come flying  out of the sun room to go potty and play.This day was so very different she didn't want to get up and go out.l had to coax her out.Tyra did go potty and her usual day however not the same.l did call the vet 3 times at first we thought it was a l got a urine took it to the vet's and waited for the result  The vet called my phone as l waited in the parking lot due to covid 18 .She spoke so fast all l heard her say autoimmune anemia ..l knew there was a third word  hemolytic. In my mind l thought leukemia...but asked is she going to be ok.There was a pause,l asked what was the treatment she was speaking rapidly.I knew my beautiful girl was really sick.l say there and cried and trying to pull myself together for l knew l had to go home to her. She just laid on the floor and looked at me with her big beautiful brown eyes.She lived her treats but didn't even want them.She did take tiny sips of water.l knew then something was wrong.l laid next to her all night long from 7pm ....l spent the night telling her stories and how much l loved her.There again those beautiful brown eyes..l forgot to say the vet gave her an appointment for Tuesday July 14th at 11:15 am. With a broken heart l sadly say Tyra never made it to her appointment..she passed away July 14th at 6am..The disease is terrible my beautiful girl normal one minute and the dead.To this day l ask myself how l missed this,there had to be a warning but no !My heart goes out to everyone that had their beautiful fur baby taken away.My Tyra would of just turned 7 in May of 2021.Tyra may you rest in peace,by beautiful brown eye girl.

September 9, 2020

My baby girl, cookie, was fine all week then suddenly she wouldn’t eat, get up from bed. I took her to the vet only to find out she had IMHA. I was told a blood transfusion would give her a 50/50 chance but no guarantee. It has been a week since i had to make the decision to put her down. I miss her so much. I keep wondering if maybe i should’ve caught this sooner or if i could’ve caught it sooner, would she still be here?

September 9, 2020

It has been just a little more that 24-hours since I had to make the most difficult decision in my life. My 9-yrs old mini schnauzer, holder of my heart had IMHA. She was initially diagnosed with it October 2019. Without warning she collapsed and I took her to the vet where they said those four words to me. That was when my world changed. The diagnosis and prognosis were all a blur to me. The doctor tried to explain to me that this is not something I could have detected, there were no markers, there were likely signs that were so subtle I would have detected it. We began a treatment of blood transfusions, steroids, blood thinners, and multi-syllable medicines I couldn't pronounce. I can now. Lollie was initially in the critical care unit for 5 days. Her initial PCV level was 5. Just 5. Normal range is 30-40. She was critically ill. With each transfusion she maintain a bit of progress with her levels, but would eventually slide back down. By day 5 she was at 30 and able to come home. The bill was $12,356.19. Her daily medicine routine was prednisone twice daily, clopidigril 1/4 tab daily, 1 cyclosporine, and an injection every 8 hours. I set my clock to ensure I would be one minute late. Even with all that, she had a relapse and was back in the hospital with 2 more transfusions and 3 more days in the hospital. Another $5000. Things were going smoothly for 11-months. We were able to discontinue the injections. We were gradually weaning her from the prednisone. Prolonged steroid usage has its own risks. Over the last 3 months we had been tapering her off the prednisone and were down to 2.5 mg every three days. Her levels had maintained so we felt confident that we could continue with this treatment. Friday, 9/4 she collapsed after taking a walk in the park and playing with her social group. I rushed her to the emergency hospital. Her PCV levels had dropped to 14 from 30. We did a transfusion, put her back on 5 mg of prednisone 2x daily. Her numbers rebounded to 22, she held strong for 24 hours. She was released to me to return home and to monitor her. Less than 12 hours later she was in distress, panting, fatigues, lethargic, wouldn't eat...she was dying. We called ahead to the hospital and rushed to get her care. They met us at the door and took her in. Damn COVID protocols prevent us from being with her. Through the telephone the doctor relayed her PCV levels of 14. The prognosis was that she might make a recovery with several more transfusions, hospital stay, treatment, but the mortality rate was very high. This is when I was faced with the toughest decision; put my baby to rest, or prolong this with hopes of successful recovery. I rationalized with my self that its just money and that she recovered last time and I don't want to lose her and and and and....then I thought long and hard about quality of life, all those tests, the hospital stay, being away from me, the anxiety of it all for her. And the very likelihood that she wouldn't survive. So we gave the consent. They allowed us in a room with her. They brought her wrapped in a warm blanket fresh from the dryer. She was calm, she was ready. She looked up at me, I pressed my face against her schnauzer nose and kissed her good bye. I held her for those minutes and told her I loved her, that she meant the world to me and thanked her for letting me be her dad. She licked my nose and then then she was gone. I share this for you, to know that whatever you decide, you will constantly wonder if it was enough. I wish anyone going through this strength and support. Be well. 

September 7, 2020

Our happy fun loving Woody has been in the vets for 5 nights. He has had a transfusion and on steroids for this horrible IMHA we are so distraught reading the comments we are considering another transfusion to give him a chance? But worried he is suffering....

September 6, 2020

This just happened to our beloved Freya.  We are in shock and disbelief.  She was having some stomach issues but seemed better.  Then she became lethargic.  We went back to the vet.  From Friday to Tuesday, her number went from 55 to 6.  We went to UT ER.  She wasn’t responding to transfusions like she should have.  We decided to let her go rather than continue suffering.  My heart is broken.  She would have been 4 this month.

Susan Harrell
September 6, 2020

My Willbe  has diabetics / cushings and thyroid . I had to take to emergency vet today . Stopped eating last night . I checked his glucose and it was hi so that’s what I thought I would be dealing with . The vet just called and said he had IMHA . Never heard of it . His red blood count was 18 %. I will do whatever it takes to keep him with me but from what I’m reading up on it he may have to much against him . He’s been my shadow everyday for 17 months since he came down with diabetes and I’m the only one to give him his shot . I’m praying for a miracle that they caught it early enough . The only sign he had was dark urine but I test for ketones and  he tested  negative on the strips . I saying this in case anyone else gets put in the same situation if you have a diabetic pet . I have learned to deal with the Cushing , diabetics but I hope and pray that I’m  given the chance to deal with this disease

September 1, 2020

I took my six year old maltipoo to the emergency vet after noticing lethargy, vomiting, and dark urine. I dropped him off on Saturday afternoon around 1pm with what I thought was a UTI, and at 9pm I headed back to have him put to sleep. My husband and kids weren't able to say goodbye and we are completely and utterly devastated. His red blood cell count was 13%. I don't understand how a dog I was playing fetch with on Thursday could be dead by Saturday night.

August 31, 2020

I lost my wire fox terrier suddenly to this disease he was only 6 years old and loved me so dearly. For those that have lost a fur kid did you recently get vaccinations, used any type of flea or tick medication? Something is killing our babies and we will never know unless we share the information of the days/months leading up to our kids getting sick. I truly feel this was rhe result of vaccinations and flea/tick meds. My wire fox terrier was on grain free food. He was fine one day and sick the next no warning signs nothing.

August 25, 2020

My husband and I couldn't believe it when we saw how many comments there are on this article and that they continue to come in. In one sense it was comforting to find so many others dealing with the exact same thing we have been going through, but my heart breaks for those who have lost their beloved pets. We have been on an emotional roller coaster the last few weeks but today things are finally looking up. About three weeks ago we started noticing our 4-year-old cat Chloe was just not herself. She slowly went downhill over about a 4-day period, getting more tired, eating less. We googled her symptoms, thought she might be anemic, checked her gums and paw pads and were alarmed to see they were practically white instead of the usual pink. We had no idea that was even something to keep an eye on. About that time Chloe stopped eating altogether so we took her to the vet right away. The doctor ran blood tests and came back with that grim look you never want to see - Chloe was profoundly anemic, the tests showed her red blood cell count at 5%. The vet said that she likely had been living with a chronic condition, perhaps something genetic, and at that moment the only thing that would save her was a blood transfusion - the other option was to let her go. We could barely take in what he was telling us. Chloe had gone from being what seemed like a perfectly healthy, vibrant girl to being on death's door in just five days. We feed our cats a top-notch diet, they are indoor only, no exposure to toxins, we dote on them like children. We couldn't bring ourselves to make a decision at that moment, so we went home and tried to wrap our heads around what was happening. The vet told us to google IMHA, so we did... and were devastated at everything we read. We understood that going the route of trying to save her life would be costly and long and there were no guarantees it would work. Most of all we didn't want her to suffer needlessly. But after a lot of soul searching we decided we had to try to save her. Off we raced to the 24-hour emergency clinic that's an hour away from us. Chloe got a transfusion and stayed two nights. Her count went up to 13% and we brought her home, and at first she seemed better, but then again slowly started to drop again, eating less and less. That was the biggest issue - trying to get Chloe to eat became super stressful. We tried every trick we knew. Called the vet again, got her tested, she was at 8%. They put her on 5mg prednisolone and 1mg mirtazapine (appetite stimulant). But we were told the pred could take 7-10 days to really start working and Chloe clearly needed something to help her right away. So after just one day of the pred, we took her back to get a second transfusion. This time it boosted her to 19%. At this point we prayed the prednisolone would start to kick in before she dropped again. Four days into the pred trial, we got her tested and she was at 15%. She was still weak but to our eyes it seemed like she was getting a boost from the steroid, so we were hopeful that she was starting to stabilize. Today - eight days after the second transfusion - we had her tested again and she was at 17%. Hallelujah, she had actually gone up - plus the vet said her retics were up, indicative of new red blood cell production. Chloe has come back from the brink and is looking more like her old self. We are going to keep her on the 5mg prednisolone dosage for another week, see where her count is at, and then start the process of trying to wean her to a lower dosage and find that "sweet spot." We are also investigating natural alternatives because we don't wish to keep her on a drug for the rest of her life. However we do understand that western medicine has saved her life. We will just continue to educate ourselves as much as possible. As a side note, through all of this Chloe did get many tests done to rule various root causes out... ultrasound to look for internal bleeding, tumors, tests for viruses, PCR test for blood parasites... all came back negative. We could have done a bone marrow test to look for other things, but decided we didn't want to continue poking and prodding her since it's so stressful. There were several times we discussed the possibility of letting Chloe go, and it was heartbreaking. But the vets we worked with have been great and told us we needed to just help Chloe limp along long enough to see if the drugs would work. They are working at the moment, and we're grateful we hung in there. We especially had to be very patient in trying to get her to eat. Anyway, sorry for the long post, but I found all the rest of the posts here so helpful and wanted to share our experience in case it helps the next person who finds this page.

Bill K
August 24, 2020

Dati... a champion perfect German Shepard got into a fight with a raccoon in February, rabies shot, he fell over dead yesterday and was perfectly normal, kind of tired, not so energetic last few months, but I thought it was the heat. THE VET NEVER TOLD ME TILL AFTER HE WAS DEAD THAT HE MORE THAN LIKEY DIed  IF THIS, I WOULD HAVE LIKE TO HAVE SCREENED HIM FOR THIS BEFORE THE RABIES SHOT!!!! Apoplectic is an understatement, he was so very loved and taken care of.  Another victim of half ass treatment and pharma

August 19, 2020

We just lost our golden to IMHA three days ago and a further complication of no new reticulocites (baby blood cells) being produced.  She was 9 months old.  We first noticed a reduction in appetite over the course of a few weeks, and increased shedding.  Eventually, she didn't want to eat went to the vet with what I was suspecting as a blockage in the stomach as she was a constant chewer/swallower. We were directed to a 24/7 emergency hospital after the anemia was found. Tried the prednisone/cyclosporin but after 36 hours she was not responding to it.  We made the decision to let her go peacefully instead of go thru transfusions, which would not have helped her with not producing new red cells.   

August 16, 2020

I lost My fur baby Thor today to IMHA... This summer he had turned 4. We had never heard of such a thing yet alone ever thought our Thor would end up living such a short life. This has been the most heartbreaking decision we had ever made. My children sobbed for their companion. For their best friend. He had been so good to us and our family, loving, loyal, gentle. We will truly miss him. Best fur baby we ever had.

Christine Allott
August 15, 2020

I am just heartbroken my poor girl Betsy a Border Terrier x Jack Russell age 6 years was diagnosed with this disease on Monday 3rd of August 2020 and very sadly was put to sleep yesterday Friday 14th of August 2020 she had gone off her food and was sleeping alot , she had 2 blood transfusions and steroid tablets she stayed at the vets over two nights I told them the money money was there whatever it took she should have sadly my girl could not be saved I am just devastated I have never heard of this disease before and hope never to go through this heartbreak again sweet dreams Betsy xxxx

Crystal Sturgill
August 14, 2020

Dear Denise,please DO NOT GET THE RABIES SHOT!!not while she has this disease.I lost my little Beasel Bub 2 days ago.and he got a rabies shot on june 26th 2020 and startrd having complications with in a week its my biggest regret!!Hey i wanted to ask  everyone did any of ypur dogs breath smell real bad loke right before their symptoms started?

Brigit Karle
August 10, 2020

Thank you for your post. My love Thor, my labradoodle like all fabulously happy and energetic -  5 days ago not eating drinking and listless.  He was diagnosed Evans. He is only 8.  He has never had any heath issues.   More stressed being overnight at hospital. Now home. Hand feeding proteins,  drinking and taking prescription meds.     At first seemed to rally and now. Seems confused.   So painful to witness.  Keeping him comfortable with his favorite foods and hoping to take him to the beach tomorrow

Jacquelyn Carithers
August 4, 2020

My 14 year old bichon Riley was diagnosed Saturday July 25th and lost his life on July 28th.  I too had never heard of this vet was busy with an out of town family wedding when he called with lab results and did not have time to explain anything to me, just told me I could come and pick Riley up (he had spent the night getting IV fluids) and he said sterioids were given. When I got to the clinic, NO meds had been given and they were sending him home with oral steroids to be started that evening.  I insisted on an injection before leaving.  Oh yes and they gave me a "handout" describing the disease.  I asked for his lab results. Hemoglobin of 4.  And still no one seemed concerned at my vet.  I know he did not have youth and vigor on his side but we tried through the weekend; he was so weak he could barely stand.  In the early hours of Tuesday he had a seizure which he came out of, but was clearly suffering.  I called Medvet and they said bring him right in and you can be with him and take all the time you need before letting him go, which is exactly what happened.  I am so disappointed with my vet's treatment and lack of advice but also thankful for the kindness of the doctor at Medvet.  I loved my little dog so much and am struggling now.

August 4, 2020

Just lost my 8 year old dachshund to this cruel disease, and words cannot express the helplessness and pain we felt, medication did not assist and we watched her wither away day by day until we could no longer allow her to suffer any further, i went online to try to research what happened and your article and the comments from other pet owners was helpful for us to understand IMHA. Hope other pet owners never come across it but if they do, hope someday soon a cure will be possible

July 28, 2020

About 3 months ago my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Lil, was lethargic, wouldn’t eat and had a couple of bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. I immediately took her to the vet as she is really healthy and a real food hound. She wasn’t eating. After running tests the found her liver enzymes were not where they should be, they put her on meds.  She seemed to get back to normal. A week later she suddenly became disinterested in food, and again lethargic. After a day of this I again took her to the vet, she was also weeping blood from her mouth. They gave her an injection of antibiotics in the back of her neck and drew blood from her leg. Nothing too abnormal was still found although her platelets were a bit lower than should be. Cavaliers have abnormally large platelets and they attributed this to their machine possibly not being as accurate as could be. They thought since she eats anything and eats the grass in the yard she had possibly gotten into a toxic plant. I noticed the injection site continued to slowly bleed for a day or so and took her in again. They checked her platelets again and they were at 16. My vet then recommended we take her to an emergency vet hospital an hour away as she needed a transfusion. When we arrived there we were advised they would keep her overnight and the cost would have been minimum of $2700 and we would have to take her to MSU animal hospital in the morning. I asked what the cost would be for that and they said to get her started would be $5000 minimum and no guarantee she would survive. They felt it was cancer, liver or IMHA.My husband was injured and has no income so the cost would have been prohibitive for us. We chose to take her home for the night and would say goodbye at our loving vets office.  My vet came in, she had been researching Cavaliers all night, I’ll mention Cavaliers are rare in this area and have health issues that are seldom seen in local veterinary offices. She knew we had made our minds up and was very understanding why, my husband was waiting in the car because he couldn’t go in, she asked me if I was willing to try a “Hail Mary” attempt to save Lilas she was a special girl, I agreed and she started Lil on high dose steroids and gave me her home number, just in case...  Lil has so far responded to the very inexpensive medication and has bloodwork regularly. We aren’t completely out of the woods and are still reserved about Lily’s long term survival but are loving each day we have with her.  I also helped the vet research and made sure she knew I had complete faith in her and she really welcomed what I had to say.  As I read all these stories and am so sad for many of the outcomes, I wanted to tell mine also. I have a wonderful, understanding vet that also understands financial limitations. I wish you all and your pets the best outcome possible.

Michelle Winter
July 26, 2020

My sweet Penelope lost her fight against this horrible disease.  Started not wanting to go on walks and was barely eating.  I took her to emergency vet on the third day.  They did an ultrasound & X-rays checking for cancer.  She had 4  transfusions and her numbers never got over 20.  Each time she got one they would fall back to 14-15.   Finally her body just couldn’t take anymore & she was moaning.  I didn’t want to put her through anymore and the vet said they had done everything they could and it was time to let her go.    I’m beyond heartbroken.  Not a second has gone by that I haven’t thought did I do something, should I have noticed sooner,  did I not do something?   I will forever be changed due to this awful disease.  I feel like I abandoned her because I wasn’t able to visit her due to Covid.   I hope she knows I was thinking of her the entire time & doing everything possible to keep her alive.  I was able to be there when passed.

July 25, 2020

Dear Doug, My spaniel mix died on the same day. Perfectly healthy 6 days earlier,. We gave her a beautiful loving send off. We are heartbroken. She was 9 and a half.

Doug Night
July 18, 2020

My spunky beloved English Springer Spaniel, Prince passed from this terrible disease July 16 2020 from this terrible disease. I noticed his normally high energy was slightly off at the dog park on Saturday. On Sunday he was noticably slowing down. He would run for the balls but he lost interest fast. On Monday I told myself he must be coming down with something, but he went outside and did his business before I went off to work for the day. I pondered whether or not to stay home with him. I came home from work to find him very lethargic. I called the vet and told them I have an emergency. He took him right in. He was diagnosed with flu. After penicillin injection and 300cc of IV solution for dehydration I went home with instruction to bring him back tomorrow for more IV. I get home and happened call a friend who is a retired nurse and belongs to my dog park. She said check his gums. His gums and inside of cheeks were pure white.She said take him to emergency right now! I took him to Advanced Animal Emergency in Clinton TWP MI. They were awesome! They took one look at his cheeks and said OMG! They rushed him inside and that was the last I saw him till two days later (COVID-19 rules...You do not enter building without permission) The parking lot was always full of vehicles with anxious pet parents. The techs and doctors would be coming out to the vehicles steady stream almost. Prince had a blood transfusion donated from a donor dog named "Moose". I love Moose and I have never met him but my best buddy Prince had Moose's blood running through his veins, keeping him alive. It took 10 hours to get 500cc of blood into Prince. A normal 2 hour procedure was stalled because his temperature kept spiking to 105 degrees and they would back off the transfusion till his temperature settled down. I was finally able to see him 2 days after leaving him. I had been in touch with the doctors following his treatment during the whole time he was there. My plan was to bring him home to die in his home. In my arms surrounded by my love. The doctors wisely talked me out of it. He did not respond at all to the transfusion. His hematic numbers never left the cellar. His hematic number went from 11 to 13 after the transfusion. It was suggested we give him a chance to respond to another round of massive steriods that was due later that night and more immune medicine. It was all to give him one more chance to respond. He did not respond and the next morning July 16 I spent a good hour with Prince in a very nice "passing to Heaven room" and the doctor and technicians were so, so, nice and comforting to me and Prince.The doctor sat on the floor with me and Prince and talked and soothed Prince (and I) until I said it is time. Prince passed like the champ that he always was with his head in my lap.

July 17, 2020

I had to write a comment after reading so many very sad and tragic stories.  My girl, Maya, became ill suddenly like most of those written about here.  She literally sat down in the yard and fell over.  I had never seen anything like it.  She is a rescue from Puerto Rico, a mixed breed who was relatively young (3 y.o.) and in wonderful health.  At first the vet thought she had eaten something toxic but we soon found out, through lots of testing, that she had developed IMHA.  I'm writing because she survived and is still with us today!  She was prescribed medications to suppress her immune system as well as steroids.  She was weaned off these medication very, very slowly.  Initially I had to coax her to eat anything - literally watering down wet food and almost force-feeding her with a syringe.  But, she held on and made it and we couldn't be happier.  We're now faced with her rabies vaccine being a bit past due and we are just so reluctant to get it for her.  We are so fearful the vaccine will touch off another episode.  If anyone has had experience with this, please respond.  I am reading and getting lots of mixed messages about what we should do.  The internist who literally saved her seems to be on the fence as well.  It is illegal in our state not to vaccinate for rabies so we would be taking a big chance.  She's in our backyard with some critters like squirrels and chipmunks who could carry rabies but isn't out in the woods or the real "wild".  My heart goes out to those who have lost their sweet dogs.  We have been through that with others and it is so hard.  We feel enormously lucky to have our girl.  So scared to take any chances.

Julie Damasky
July 15, 2012

To say this comes out of nowhere is an understatement. End of June our lil guy had a bout of diarrhea and vomiting, very lethargic, dragged his body or belly crawled drank lots of water.  Vet wouldn't see him said bland diet and watch him.  He seemed to improve after a few days. Saturday July 11 he was less energetic, not eating.  Sunday nearly lifeless, vomiting, urine was burnt orange.  Forced the vet to see him Monday, drew blood gave him a shot to stop the vomiting and sent him home.  Tuesday morning vet called and said blood panel was alarming sent us to specialty clinic.  Left him there for an ultra sound and further testing. His blood count went from 35, to 24 to 10 in 2 days and was not regenerating.  He was completely jaundiced and suffering.  At this point we were already in almost 5,000.00.  He was not responding to anything and had to make the very difficult decision to say goodbye. Don't ever ignore your instincts if you feel something is wrong with your pets, we know them best and have to advocate for them.  We love you and miss you Stanley -5 y/o chihuahua/shepherd mix.

July 5, 2020

June 22nd 12yr old Shi Tzu "Biscuit" was diganosed with this horrible disease. I had noticed before he exibited any symptoms that I was starting to feel his entire backbone and ribs despite having had a very healthy appetite. He was always the smallest of his brothers but could eat more than them. For some time before this I also noticed at times he seemed very sensitive to touch as if it hurt a certain way I would pick him up. He was diganosed a yr earlier with diverticulitis. But other than having difficult bowell movements at times was a very rambunctious lil guy. He stayed active and was the liveliest one of his two brothers. It was like overnight everything went down hill. He fell over and yelped the most soul wrenching yelp. The vet diganosed him and suggested I give him beef liver daily. I cooked the liver and blended it in a blender to mix with his chopped chicken. He loved it. The next day he fell again while trying to pee and was so weak he couldn't move. I picked him up and bathed him. The next day he ate good and seemed to be feeling back to his old self. Two days later he threw up and refused food. I managed to get him to eat a lil but as the days went on he wouldn't eat at all. On July 2nd he started breathing extremely hard. I called my vet and they gave me an appointment for the next morning. All that entire night he could not lay down. He sat straight up breathing so hard I could see his sides going in and out. He would get so exhausted he would try to lay for a sec or two then right back sitting up. I layed in the floor bedise him with a pillow to help prop him up so he could rest but he couldn't stay in that position long. The next morning July 3rd The nurse came to my car and asked me to come inside. Because of Covid-19 we had to wait in our car. I go inside and the Dr said that his lungs was in terrible shape and he wasn't eating because he couldn't breathe. He said because of my limited budget he couldn't perform further test. But gave him 2 shots to help his lungs and that he said would last for 2 weeks and we would would see how he responds go from there. I drove home him home..less than 10 mins away. I sat him out the car and got out then picked him up to carry him up the steps. I sat him down on the porch to unlock the door and as I sat him down his body went limp he had some sort of convulsions as I was in a panic to help him I saw the life literally leave my baby in my arms. I'm completely devestated. I've worried myself sick that I hurt him when I picked him up to carry him up the steps. I loved my lil "Biscuit" with all my heart and this disease came and took him so quickly I can't understand how or why or what I did or didn't do. How I could've not known. I don't want anyone to have to watch their pet die such a tragic painful death.

June 19, 2020

My poor jazzers - beautiful loving spunky brown and white chihuahua was about to turn 8 on July 4th. It happened all so fast. She was just laying down with my wife, cats, and I in our bed asleep loving life looking and acting happy as she usually does. That big ol cuddle bug. Then One day to the next this unexpected disease came. This disease is so instant and has brought sorrow to my family and I after deciding the journey for her ahead wouldn’t be the same going through treatment so we had to put her down. She was the first dog I have ever loved and bonded with. My cats are looking for her and don’t understand what happened. We are trying to find peace with this all and the stories below and above will continue to help me recover and know we did what was the best decision for our beloved jazzlyn. She lived a beautiful life full of treats, adventures, and tons and tons of love (spoiled at its finest). Those memories is all I have now and I will cherish every single moment I was blessed to have given with her. I know one day we will reunite again along with our beloved cat Kiki who passed away of the feline aids. I hope this helps any and everyone going through these tough times. Remember you are not alone

June 12, 2020

My dog Roscoe just turned 10. He is a Rottweiler and the most precious thing in the world. He was diagnosed with IMHA about a month-and-a-half ago. It started with him vomiting on a Thursday night and then diarrhea over the weekend. Was getting him into the vet on Monday to check him out. Blood results came back is having this terrible autoimmune disease. His HCT was at 20% on April 28th.I also went and had an ultrasound done of his abdomen to rule out any tumors or cancer. His spleen is large but nothing out of the ordinary to worry about. We started him on prednisone and it got up to 23% then 31%. We started to cut back his dose is HCT then started to drop back down. So then we put him on Azathporine and kept him on the pred. Last check his HCT was at 22% on June 3rd. He is very tired, gums are pale, but he has a great appetite ( thanks to the drugs). I can't say if he is actually responding to the drugs. He seems to be holding his own but not improving is he still has pale gums and is not himself. I'm taking it one day at a time until he no longer is comfortable or in pain. All I can do is pray and love him .

Bailey Blue
June 8, 2020

Hang on and pray! Our 1 1/2 year old cockapoo was diagnosed with IMHA May 4. She spent a week in the hospital and had one transfusion. She is now home and is responding to meds. Her pcv is now 40 and was 11 when she was rushed to the uc Davis vet team. It takes time and feels like a roller coaster . Don’t give up . We are going to fight the good fight with  Bailey as long as she is not in pain and seems happy. Side note - yes it is costly - be prepared

May 31, 2020

I don’t know what to do. Our dog Oscar was not eating for a day and a half and had a fever and we took him to the emergency hospital. He has IMHA and is going though transfusions. It doesn’t sound good and 80% of these comments say that it is fatal or that we will just be putting him though unnecessary treatments. We have already spent $5k in the few hours he has been in the hospital. Worse yet, we can’t even see him because we can’t go in to the hospital due to Covid 19.  I am in a panic as to what will happen. He is 9 year dachshund mix and we rescued him when he was just one    Please any advice? 

May 31, 2020

My cat was diagnosed with this autoimmune disease and put on lots of medication.. we have just had to rush her to the vets after she suddenly stopped breathing, I'm at home waiting to hear if they could save her and in tears. I would not wish this on any pet owner.. seeing her just go limp, after she had been getting better too.

May 25, 2020

I have never seen anything happen as fast as this illness. Orion had already been sick the month prior (pancreatitis) and had had to be rushed to the emergency vet so I had been watching him very closely but one night we went to bed fine and the next morning, this. I would love to say I had the funds to fight to keep him beside me, but I didn’t, and I also did not wish for him to suffer. Orion hated car rides, he was scared and he hated the vets office. He was always sick for days after he had to go. So I made the decision not to force him to suffer for months through something that upset him so much and that I wasn’t sure I would have the money to continue fighting beyond the next week. His vet told me it was the best choice for him after the fact when he called me about all of the test results. He was a seven year old Australian Shepherd who had been very healthy up until the month before. I still wonder daily if there was anything I could have done to prevent it. This disease is a beast. It comes at night and in less than eight hours it can get severe enough that you lose a big part of your life. I want to thank his vet for all the advice and support he gave me while we figured out what was wrong and I had to make such a difficult choice. I also want to say, if you can’t afford the treatment, after watching him, please don’t make them suffer. I’ve never watched something as awful as what that disease did to my dog in the span of hours. Yes my life feels pretty empty now even with my other animals, and I loved him completely, but I will never regret the fact that when the time came I chose to be with him and not let him suffer.

Billy Simon
May 22, 2020

We just got back from the Vet and IMHA is now in our vocabulary. Our 11 year old Golden has just gone to nothing in the last 2 days. Based on his blood test and symptoms the Vet doesn't think that transfusions will have much if any affect. We are bringing him home so our kids can say good bye and will decide when to take him back to be put down. This sucks.

Yvette Robinson
May 20, 2020

In the last several days my dog became very lethargic, depressed, and stopped eating. We took him to the vet- no cancer and his bone marrow is still making red blood cells, but his urine is red. He will be checked on the urine for a few weeks. He is taking an antibiotic and steroid. He did not need a transfusion and has eaten a little. He is back home now and obviously not himself. This does not sound good. I really like my vet, but I know she has business problems right now. I just don't want my dog put through things that will not make a difference. He is my baby and it breaks my heart to think of losing him.

May 13, 2020

I want to thank you all who have posted your experience with this devastating disease. I am still in shock from losing my darling Poppy so quickly. I had never heard of it. One minute she was tail wagging energdpetic, the next only hours to live. I am devastated. Vet said from a tick bite. I had her on monthly flea and tick mess.  I am so sorry for all of your loss. It's a vicious disease.

May 13, 2020

First, my condolences to all that have gone through this and lost your precious companions.  I fear that I am at the end of this road with my 13yo poodle mix Muffet (rescued 10 years ago). Last October she picked up Bordetella after routine grooming (they required vaccines).  She was treated with antibiotics and a steroid shot, and recovered.  By Christmas she was losing weight and exhibiting pica behavior (eating dirt and deer droppings).  Early January, a Vet determined she contracted intestinal parasites, she had lost 2 lbs from a naturally thin 10.8 lbs to an anorexic 8.8 lb. She was not improving much, late January I took her to another Vet.  Hematocrit was 17 and ultrasound was negative for abdominal mass, only revealed slight intestinal wall thickening.  Her hematocrit dropped to 13 and she received an emergency transfusion, hematocrit only rose to 23 (>35=normal)  Muffet was on Prednisone, Doxycycline, Atopica, Sucralfate, Omeprazole and GI health prescription food from February - April. She had dramatically improved, regained all the weigh and was her usual sweet self by end of April.  Suddenly, hematocrit started dropping again, we added Metoclopramide and Mycophenolate.  Muffet immediately developed a lot of GI upset and has really declined.  She had vomiting/diarrhea and was seen last week.  She had lost a pound, hematocrit was 13, and kidney enzymes elevated.  Vet gave her something for nausea and said I could follow up with a specialty hospital for another transfusion and a bone marrow aspirate to rule out bone cancer. She suspects it might be a bone cancer or a GI cancer (wall thickening).  She said I could choose to invest fully in this treatment with no guarantee or euthanize. I am devastated. The past week she has not eaten voluntarily, has extreme diarrhea, and significant weight loss, but no vomiting.  I am exhausted from round the clock care and grieving.  I prepared a burial place in my yard but can't bring myself to schedule the euthanasia.  I have spent thousand already and cannot afford thousands more.  She does not appear to be in pain or respiratory distress. Muffet lay beside me now and is content if I am near.  I am trying to accept the inevitability of her passing while enjoying these final moments with my sweet girl.  I keep replaying what I could have done differently or better.  Really tough. I will consult with Vet tomorrow one last time to ask if there is anything else I could do, I don't expect there is.

May 12, 2020

TI want to give some words of encouragement to anyone who is fighting this disease. My 7 year old Brussels Griffon Lexie was lethargic and didn’t want to eat one evening. I found it odd but waited til the next morning. She was the same and I noticed her gums were freakishly white. I knew something was very wrong. I rushed her to my vet. I called on the way and he was waiting in the lobby for me when we got there. He took Lexie back and started doing blood work and told me it was IMHA. I have never ever heard of it before. He told me she was in a fight for her life. Her levels were right at 13 and she was given a blood transfusion and I got to take her home with me every night (since they didn’t have people who stayed thru the night) but was asked to bring her back every morning for 2 weeks straight to check her levels and her overall condition. I was so happy to have her with me each night as she was going thru this. She is very attached to me and probably did better being with me every night. She was prescribed predisone and azathioprine at very high levels at first. I did everything he asked me to do and it’s been 6 months. Her last blood draw showed her levels in the 30’s and I am just so grateful. THERE IS HOPE!!! I know an ER facility would have charged double but I came out spending approx $3500. And prob a little more to come in the future since she will require blood draws approx every 3 months at $100 a pop. She will remain on azathioprine for the rest of her life and can no longer get ANY vaccinations. I cherish every day I have with her. If you suspect something is wrong, check your dogs gums!! This is the best indication that something is very wrong. They should be nice and pink. My lexie’s were a stark white. I had never seen anything like it before. If anyone reading this lives in Michigan, Patterson Veterinary Hospital in Clinton Township saved my Fur Baby. I’d recommend Dr Patterson to anyone. He didn’t take a subtle approach, he gave it all he had right away and it saved my little girl. There is HOPE..

May 11, 2020

Yesterday Saturday May 10,2020, I lost my beautiful girl.  My French bulldog Penelope.  I had never heard of this disease.  She started vomiting red foamy vomit late at night.  That evening she ate all her food and drank water.   I watched her  all night long.  In the morning I thought she was better, then again she started vomiting.  I rushed her to ER hospital.  They kept her.  I called to check on her.  She was fine.  Dr told me there was a possibility I could pick her up tomorrow.  15 minutes later, the dr called to tell she passed away.  Her lungs filled with blood.  I’m beyond devastated.  I can’t stop crying.  She never showed any signs.

Bella Blue 82
May 9, 2020

IMHA is definitely a battle. Our 2 year old polydactyl torbie was a life loving energetic kitty who absolutely loved to play. October 2019 we found her almost unresponsive urinating on herself. Rushed her to the vet only to find her PVC was 11%. The ER vet said we could treat with antibiotics and steroids or put her to sleep. After just losing our oldest to stomach cancer the year before, we decided to fight. We owed a chance to Sadie, the chance we couldn't give to our oldest. There are a lot of ups and downs, she got worse (went down to 9%) before starting to get better, got URIs, and our first attempt to wean steroids didn't go well. But she is a tough cookie. We didn't do infusions for lack of donors, but we fed her salmon, chicken and steak to bolster her appetite and nutrition. We thank every day we wake up and still have her, and she is now playing again! PVC is 49%, over 7 months journey from then to now. We're very very slowly weaning steroids with monthly blood checks. No underlying condition, just primary non regenerative IMHA. I hope some of you find hope in this, as there is still a chance for them with love, dedicated vets, and time. Good thoughts for anyone going through this, it's definitely a long term battle.

May 8, 2020

My cocker was close to death thanks to AIHA back in 1997. Thankfully her seizure threshold was low, so her fever made her seize, and I had her vet (a housecall vet only) come over and diagnose. She would never have survived treatment in a clinic; she was so terrified of being left without me .. so he came and drew her blood daily. Her numbers rose and finally she was better. Then she relapsed six months later. Her numbers plummeted to 13 - the worst she'd ever had. We decided to go the Cytoxan route. She responded fabulously and recovered. She died six years later at the age of 11, of an unrelated illness. This is a vicious disease. I hope no one gives up, though. It IS possible to cure with good, proactive treatment.

May 4, 2020

Our little girl, Mya, passed here at home with us Sunday night, May 3, 2020.  She had abnormal lab results at her annual exam in February & retest in March determined it was IMHA.  She was put on Prednisone & some other drug. A couple of weeks ago Atopica was added to a higher dose of prednisone.  The good thing is she didn't suffer very long, in fact on Monday she worked with our cat, Mojo Kitty, to round up a mouse and carry it outside.  Then on Tuesday Mya vomited and Wednesday was the last time she would eat something (cat's food).  On Saturday, we contacted our vet about new blood work on Monday, but then Mya took a turn for the worse and we knew it would be time to "let her go".  Fortunately, we didn't have to agonize with that choice.  She slept in bed with us Saturday night and I lay on the floor with her on Sunday.  She rested outside in the sun for awhile on Sunday, but I was selfish and wanted her in near me.  She continued to drink water right up to the end, but didn't want anything to eat.  She drew her last breath at 9:25 p.m. last night.  Tears are still coming, but we had saved her from an early death for 10 years (she'd been in a kill shelter).  So like y'all have said, we'd never heard of IMHA & fortunately she seemed like herself just up to 5 days before her death.  My heart breaks for all who have posted to this site before me and for those who sadly may follow.  RIP Mya

May 4, 2020

We lost our pet dog, Pipi, a mixed Labrador and Retriever on April 25, 2020. She was only about 6 years old on this earth. She seemed very healthy while under our care but, on April 20th in the evening, she was bleeding in her teeth after giving her a milk-bone treat.  We took her to the vet on April 22nd, as the bleeding continued. The vet said that she was anemic and that her immunity is low and needs to have blood transfusion. He diagnosed her as having a tick-borne disease. We gave her a blood transfusion and she swelled up around her face and extremities. The vet said that it was due to the blood transfusion and also the medicine that she was administered to (I think, like steroid or something) She stayed 2 nights in the vet hospital.  The blood transfusion did not helped much because her immune system is not fighting off the infection/parasites in her blood.  We brought her home, not knowing that it would be her last night with us.  She tried to do her normal routine like eating, peeing and bowel movement.  I thought she was doing fine.  But as it goes on, she became weaker and stumbled while walking.  It broke my heart that we have to euthanize her the next day in the evening because she has no immunity left in her blood cells to fight the disease.  She was breathing heavily and sometimes, catching her breath.  It was too late for us to save her. We were not aware that she has this kind of disease.  She had her yearly physical exam and vaccine.  She did not show any symptoms, until it was a few days remaining of her life and we can't do anything. We've tried our best to save her through blood transfusion - it did not work out.  She's very ill and it came too late. I am so sad because she was a joy and a wonderful companion. She seemed like a healthy dog but, a week later she was gone.  I wished I have known this kind of disease earlier.  I may have prolonged her life.  It's hard to lose her because she's my family...sob...sob..sob...

May 2, 2020

We too had never heard of this vicious 4 letter word until this week when it took the life of our  precious 2 1/2 year old shiitzu, Kimi.  Kimi definitely did not feel well on Tuesday. She didn’t want any of her favorite treats and wasn’t interested in eating.  She laid around all day, moving from one spot to another. We thought for sure she would bounce back by the next morning. That didn’t happen. When she leaped off of my bed on Wednesday morning, I didn’t hear her paws. Her body hit the floor and she couldn’t get up. When I picked her up, it seemed as though she was paralyzed, as she couldn’t stand at all. I didn’t realize it at the time but she had also urinated in my bed and it was a brownish red color. I took her to the vet, and he diagnosed the issue, sending us to the animal ER. On the way to the ER I noticed that her breathing was very labored. I assured my baby that she would be okay, that I was getting her the help she needs and begged her to hang in there. Since we have this COVID virus issue going on,  I was instructed to sit in my car and they would contact me after the evaluation was done. The ER vet called me and informed me that her hemoglobin count was 7 and that 11 is considered critical.  She informed me that sweet Kimi was on the brink of death. She explained the treatment plan, which would consist of multiple transfusions at first.  She also stated that the first two to three days would easily cost $6k to $8k and she would need months of care, vet visits and medications, if the transfusions were successful. How can you put a price on such a sweet dog whose whole life is loving us?  I didn’t really have time to make that decision, because she went into cardiac arrest and died, all while I’m sitting in my car listening to all that’s going on. Needless to say, my husband and I are beyond shocked and heartbroken how our little girl, who was running figure 8 s in our backyard just a week ago, is gone with virtually no warning.  Kimi, we miss you so much!

April 28, 2020

Our cocker spaniel was diagnosed with IMHA two weeks ago, and after researching and reviewing these comments, we were terrified by the diagnosis.  There seem to be many more instances of unsuccessful treatment than not in this threat.  I'd like to share a glimmer of hope and positivity we experienced with our case.  Our dog was lethargic, eventually stopped eating, and his urine was a dark red/brown color, which we learned was the result of elevated levels of bilirubin.  The morning after noticing the discoloration of his urine, we rushed him to the vet and he was diagnosed with IMHA, and a RBC of 14.  We rushed him to the ER where he immediately received a blood transfusion, and his RBC rose to 24 and he was put on prednisone and an immunosuppressant.  He was released two days later to us, which was a Sunday, where he was very yellow, but was more energetic than when we took him to the ER.  The first stay at the ER ran a little over $3k.  By Monday, he was again very lethargic, and could barely walk outside to urinate.  We ran him to the vet again where we learned his RBC dropped to 14, and were advised to take him to a different ER that had internal medicine specialists, which we did.  He was at the second ER from that Monday and he was released to us on the following Sunday.  During that time he underwent two more blood transfusions to give the medicine time to begin working and his RBC fluctuated between 20 and 16.  He finally stabilized at around 19/20, with no additional blood transfusions.  I write this on the following Tuesday after we picked him up, and he has shown a marked improvement.  He is eating (although on an appetite med) and has been showing more energy with each passing day.  I know we are not out of the woods yet, but the signs so far are all positive, and he is well on his way in the right direction.  Yesterday his RBC was 19, so still holding steady, but we still have a ways to go.  I won't sugarcoat it, it was touch and go for the few first days, and we felt it could have gone either direction, and the second ER visit ran us about $6,800, for a total of almost $10k, but if you have the resources, and depending on the circumstances of your pet, i.e., whether the IMHA is primary or secondary. etc. this can be treated.  Likely, if we had taken him initially to the ER with the internal med dr's we could have saved some money although probably not much.  His treatment by the dr was top notch.  Again, I share this to give some hope to those struggling with the impact of this awful disease.  I will update our status as we progress, since I know we are not yet in the clear at this point, but again, are seeing signs of much improvement.  We will surely be vigilant, and if we see any signs of this disease in the future, now we know our dog is prone to it, we will be immediately taking him to the vet, to hopefully head it off before it gets too severe, or more intrusive treatment, like blood transfusions are needed. 

April 23, 2020

We lost our beautiful Bella last Friday she was only 5 it happened so suddenly Sunday she was fine the next morning she was lethargic when she got up then threw up we took her took her to our regular vet they said her red blood cell count was so low she was almost critical we rushed to the vet hospital she had every test imaginable including 3 blood transfusions but her body just kept on killing them she was a kind gentle soul I will miss her every day she was my friend and companion.

April 21, 2020

We had to say goodbye to our beautiful, brave little girl this Sunday, after a two month long battle with IMHA. She ended up needing Prednisone, mycophenolate, Cyclosporine, and a myriad of other complementary medication, 5 blood transfusions, a plasma transfusion, and a splenectomy. Each and every new medication added gave us hope. Each little jump in her PCV gave us something to hold on to. We did everything we possibly could, but she just became less and less herself. On Sunday, she somehow let my wife know that she was ready to say goodbye. She hung on fighting for so long and we are so grateful to have had that extra time, but, man, IMHA and the accompanying meds really sap the light out of your companion and out of you too. I'm sharing this here, because, like many of you I'm sure, I read through the other comments over and over to try to find some hope or a story that gave me solace in our decision to let her go. No matter what, this shit is hard. Losing a dog -- in our case, our first dog together and our best friend -- is deviststing in of itself, but this disease is really just insidious and unfair. In any case, whatever the prognosis is for your pup, the fight is worth it, even if it is just to give you a little bit more time. If it gets to be to hard, they'll let you know.

April 19, 2020

Just read this article as my lovely Staffie Riley died recently on 18th Feb and I'm trying to find out as much as possible about this disease. He was diagnosed late January after a trip to the emergency vets when his blood count was as low as 13, now despite this he was never given a transfusion and was discharged the following day with a count of 18 (which I only found out about after a blood test at my own vet). He was on a massive dose of steroids daily but by his next test his count was 17, this was 3 weeks after initial diagnosis and he died later that day undergoing an ultrasound from Dilated Cardiomyopathy, despite never having any history of heart problems. I'm concerned that the emergency vets never carried out the right practices having read this article and other people's posts and wonder if anyone else has had similar mistreatment? Reading this makes me feel like he was killed instead of dying from this illness, however horrible it is.

April 13, 2020

We lost our beloved Shetland Sheepdog on March 31st to IMHA. He had developed a UTI and was given amoxicillin to treat the infection. The next day everything began to spin out of control with vomiting which led to a change in the antibiotic. There was no improvement as he became lethargic and stopped eating. A urine capture revealed blood - and I do mean blood. It was horrible.  We rushed him to another vet who performed x-rays and a full blood panel. The diagnosis was IMHA. Neither my husband nor I had ever heard of this insidious disease. Our precious little dog was hospitalized with hopes that emergency treatment might save his life. Our hearts were broken when he passed away the next morning. This disease is a monster and it destroyed our little dog like a raging wild fire. Our Sheltie's name was Tobie. He was a smart, beautiful and happy little dog who was greatly loved by his family. My heart goes out to everyone here who has lost a pet to to this disease. I hope and pray that one day there will be a cure and that no one else will ever have to hear a veterinarian say, "This scares me. It's called IMHA."

Diane Kean
April 8, 2020

We have had two boxers die of this disease, although it was called AIHA at that time. Now I’m devastated that yet another one of our dogs has been diagnosed. We were told a month or so ago that he was in stage III renal disease. On Monday he had petechial hemorrhaging in his eyes. We sent a photo to our vet who diagnosed him with allergies. Picked up eyedrops and hoped for the best. He started urinating and drinking more water than normal. Last night, during the night, he was up several times to go outside and drink water. He would come back into the bedroom, would lay next to me and just tremble. We knew  something was wrong. My husband took him to the emergency vet who diagnosed him with IMTP. He has an IV and is being transported to an internist at an animal hospital who will start aggressive treatment. I was so hoping we wouldn’t have to deal with this again. Both of our other boxers died at home and it was hard. I was reading some hopeful news That there are some treatments now that seem to be helpful and prolong lives. However, reading the comments here-especially the recent ones-have me worried again. All we can do is do our best to help him get through this with his little pain and grief as possible. Timing is everything.  We both work in healthcare and are dealing with various challenges due to coronavirus. I wish all of you the best. Just love them all you can while you have them.

March 30, 2020

My dog had an awesome day Friday. Business as usual.  He seemed odd on Saturday so we went to the vet.  He was diagnosed with diabetes, anemia and a heart murmur.  I was in shock.  We returned yesterday because there was no improvement.  He was diagnosed with IMHA.   He had a blood transfusion and I took him home to return in the morning to see how he responded.  I just woke up to discover he passed in his sleep. This disease is awful and comes on way too fast.   I’m completely devastated

March 20, 2020

My 4YO Havanese just got diagnosed with this today and my head is spinning.  We declined the transfusion and reading some of these comments makes me feel validated in that decision.  The transfusion plus overnight stay was going to be $1500-$2000.  In addition to that seeming really expensive, I can’t justify spending that at this time.  We opted for the steroid treatment but my dog looks like death.  I don’t see this changing for her.  Has anyone had any luck with meds only?  At this point the most humane thing seems to be to put her down.  This is so upsetting.  She was playing and running around 48 hours ago.  She lost her appetite last night and this morning woke up and barely moved. Tonight her urine was red.  I worked in a vet clinic through HS and college and I have never heard of this. So, so upsetting.

March 4, 2020

IMHA is a beast. My 8 year old pup got his first autoimmune diagnosis 4 years ago, then IMHA came on 1 year and 1/2 ago when he fainted with a PCV of 18. We did one round of blood transfusion and all the immunosupressants. He went into remission shortly after until last week. He was steady around 40 for 4 months, then last week it dropped to 31 and this week dropped to 23 when I took him to the vet where he is at 20, they're doing aggressive treatment - minus a transfusion - and he's continuing to drop. This two day stay is more than my mortgage, but I love my baby boy. However, the financial side is hard. If he's not responding, then I'm going to have to make a decision. And I've been crying since last week because it came back and I know the toll it took on him last time. He's my sweet boy, my shadow, my literal road dog, and just wants all the belly rubs. I've had him since he was 8 months and we've grown up together as I got him shortly after I graduated college/living on my own. It is breaking my heart knowing that he has this and that I don't have the finances to keep up with it.

March 2, 2020

My story is the same as many of the others posted. My cherished, robust, healthy 7 yr old wheaten terrier/poodle (whoodle) mix had blood in her urine. I thought it was a UTI. The vet started talking about hemalytic anemia and I thought I was going crazy! It's just a UTI, I thought, just put him on antibiotics and he will be better. After 3 blood transfusions, and an embolism, our pup died 2 1/2 days after first diagnosed. We are crushed and shocked. Losing this sweet, special, wonderful, beloved family member has leveled  us. I have had 4 dogs and had never hesrd of IMHA. Now I will never forget it. To those of you feeling guilty for not being able to pay for more extensive treatment or for choosing to bring your pet home to die, stop besting yourself up. The vet said that dogs who survive typically have a fast turnaround - you gave your pup a wonderful life and that's where the focus needs to be. For me, I have to adjust to life without him, and that is the most difficult hurdle of all.

March 2, 2020

Our 14 1/2 year old female Italian Greyhound was diagnosed with this disease this past Thursday. She's had 2 blood transfusions. I'm doing all I can to save her. She's home now 1 day, but still weak. The emergency doctor said that she can pull through this. She's not eating and I have a follow up appointment with her today. And yes, thousands so far to try and fight to keep her alive. I don't mind if I can get her back on her feet. I hope that she isn't suffering. That is a big fear of mine. I know she's and older dog. She's so sweet and loving. This has been heartbreaking.  She has a buddy who is another Italian Greyhound who's 15. He's was so upset when she wasn't here for 4 days. The more I read the more reality sets in. I'm not ready to give up yet. I'm trying not to cry and to be strong, pray and believe and have faith.

February 12, 2020

Omg in about in tears my beautiful 3 year old Springer had this horrible disease he was diagnosed just after he turned 2 today he had a relapse I think it's time we said good bye to him but I don't want to he's to young but I know I'm going to

February 11, 2020

I am so sorry for everyone who lost a fur baby  My little fluff 7 year old Shih Tzu, is currently in the vet ER.  Her PVC was 15 and after several blood transfusions and IV meds it is going up and down. Nothing over 24 for long. She has been in the ER since Friday, it is now Tuesday. This is such a wait and see process, and so, so difficult. My heart is breaking because like everyone has said, it comes on so quickly. I never knew about this disease until this week.  It's terrible. I'm praying my baby will come home but it's 50/50.  Thank you for everyones comments and posts. It is helping to know I'm not alone in this terrible time.  I have been reading about a relatively new procedure called TPE, I think it's a plasma transfusion, but not sure.  It seems to have pretty good success but it's in the early stages and unfortunately very expensive.  It's so hard knowing what the right thing to do is when faced with more treatments, transfusions, meds.  Having to know when enough is enough is so hard.  I can't stop crying.  I just want my baby home.  

Steven Buchwald
February 4, 2020

I’ve really been struggling after my recent loss of my 5 year old baby girl shih tzu. A completely loving dog, she only wanted to be by my wife and I side. She showed us so much love and had such a diva personality. The first signs that something was wrong was only last Friday, which was 6 days ago, and she had red colored urine. We took her to the vet and our vet said that she’s anemic and could be caused by an autoimmune disease called IMHA. She started to not eat and not have a lot of energy and we rushed her to the emergency vet hospital when she struggled standing. She was hospitalized and we given blood transfusions to help her red blood cell count and was on immune suppressants in hope that her body would stop attacking itself. She started turning yellow and still not eating at all. The worst of it was the call we got that stated she now had a set back due to have labored breathing and needing extra oxygen. This is when my wife and I made the hardest decision to put her sleep in hopes that we are relieving her suffering. he hardest thing that I have been struggling with ever since is did I jump the gun? Could she have gotten better with another transfusion? Did I not let the medicines enough time to turn things around? And ultimately I question if I gave up on her? At the time, the look on her face was just sad and scared. She was so weak and just not her happy loving self. I was so afraid that they way she was declining that something worse was going to happen or more pain would’ve happened. But now I just can’t stop thinking that I didn’t let her fight, and I gave up on her.. She was so young and this happened so fast, It honestly makes it hurt so much worse. We didn’t plan for her to be gone So soon and I can still have memories of just last week when she was healthy and here.. and now she gone.. I’m struggling with this...

January 14, 2020

I just lost my beautiful dog Harlee today to this. Came on so suddenly. Just awful

January 11, 2020

I am trying to find comfort in my loss. My 11 year old chihuahua/terrier mix collapsed one day out of the blue. He became very lethargic and would not eat for 3 days. His blood results showed his red blood cells were very low and he was anemic. His gums were also very pale. Next was x-rays to check for a tumor and free blood - there was none. A repeat blood test revealed his red blood cells had dropped significantly in 24 hours, and he was in critical condition. We rushed him to the 24 hour speciality veterinarian to find out he was going to need a blood transfusion just to stabilize him and keep him alive which required him to be hospitalized for 3 days. In addition, he was going to need an extensive amount of testing to figure out the cause of his anemia. I very much think that he had IMHA. I have so much guilt because I opted not to do the testing and blood transfusion because I wanted to bring him home to spend one last night with him. I miss him so much. I keep having to remind myself I did the right thing before it was too late and the anemia took his life. I didn't want him to suffer and be poked and prodded at the hospital. I just wish there was more I could've done for him.

Mary Cottrell
January 8, 2020

my shizu is now in her battle with this disease and the vet is giving her predisone and azathoprine.  he wanted to give her a transfusion but we said we couldn"t afford it so we got her eating liver and can dog food from the vet and this is the 5th day and her gums are getting more pink and her eyes nice and white but urine is very yellow but no blood.  I hope she keeeps inproving I am giving her liver to build up the red blood cells hope thtats good

January 1, 2020

I have a 6 year old GSD (female) who was very active eating well and the next thing I noticed was lethargy, loss of appetite so I knew something was very wrong. Took her to the vet the next day and she was diagnosed with IMHA.She was started on high dose of prednisone and Azothioprine with  frequent blood draws.Gradually reduced meds and she has been in remission for a year.She now takes the AZO 50 mg 1 1/14 Monday,Wednesday and Friday.Prednisone 10mg on Tues and Thursdays. No meds on weekends.She now gets blood test every 4 months. I do watch for behavior changes and the yellowing of mucous membranes. I can only hope she remains healthy So sorry for all of your loses.

Sarah Hunt
December 29, 2019

My 3.5 year old lab mix was diagnosed on a Monday and passed on the following Sunday. We treated the IMHA as aggressively as we could. In fact his last blood test showed that his body was no longer even producing red blood cells. My heart is completely broken. He was my best friend and the best dog a girl could ask for.

Rolando Pintos
December 23, 2019

My beloved Emma was a perfectly healthy and extremely spoiled Border Collie/Lab mix.  For 8 years, she went to the vet 1-2 times a year for regular, preventative check ups.  In fact, her final vet visit was one month prior to her fatal IMHA diagnosis (where she got a routine Bordetella vaccine).  I prided myself in being a good pet parent, especially when it came to her wellbeing/health.  Someone had abandoned her as a puppy, and I was happy to give her a new lease on life.  She took preventative heart worm pills and glucosamine supplements.  She got routine paw-dicures.  She was fed by hand.  She slept under the covers.  Everywhere I went, so did she; it didn’t matter where.  In fact, I’m so proud of her, she even walked the hallowed halls of the Department of State!  I was not prepared for IMHA.  This was not a disease that I had ever heard of in the same way that Parvo is discussed.  The rapidity and viciousness of this disease is something that I am still coming to terms with.  On a Sunday, Emma seemed to favor one side while sitting/laying down.  I was under the impression that she sprained her leg and intended to monitor it in case I would have to bring her to the vet.  Aside from that, she seemed normal.  By Monday morning, she was way off and was barely able to move.  As I called her for her morning walk, she sat up on her hind legs and collapsed on the ground twice.  I carried her outside where she was barely able to walk on the leash.  While she was usually ten steps ahead of me, she was very much behind me that day. Luckily, I thought, she had a wellness plan through Banfield Pet Hospital, so they would be able to help her.  Again, she had never been majorly sick.  All of the Banfield’s were fully booked, except for one that was an hour away.  We got an appointment for mid afternoon.  On our way back out to drive to the vet, she urinated a lot of blood and I began to worry.  I bolted down the freeway in a smartcar, in the rain, at 80 miles an hour, with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on my poor Emma.  When the vet ran several tests, none of which were covered by her wellness plan, and mentioned a blood transfusion and possible euthanasia, my head began to spin.  One month prior, her bloodwork was perfect!  I had fully expected to go into the vet for meds for a possible UTI, not something as serious as a transfusion.  The vet never mentioned IMHA, and noted that she had tested positive for Leptospirosis, something else I was unfamiliar with.  As they couldn’t perform a transfusion on premises, I had to take her to a proper pet emergency room.  I was unprepared for the diagnosis.  The whole drive to the hospital, I was looking at the prognosis for leptospirosis, which is curable in 2 weeks with antibiotics.  When the doctor mentioned IMHA, she might as well have been speaking Mandarin, because I had no idea what it was. Overnight, Emma received two blood transfusions.  When I visited her in the afternoon, she was weak but the doctor said her body was responding slightly to the treatment.  Her bone marrow was starting to produce new red blood cells!  I was so exhausted emotionally that any good news was welcomed.  After two hours in the ICU visiting Emma, I went back home.  An hour later, the doctor informed me that she would be getting another transfusion since her RBC count was dropping.  Soon after the third transfusion, she developed a clot in her brain and was seizing.  At around midnight on Wednesday, her doctor reached out fearing the worst.  I took an uber and was in the hospital in twenty minutes. I was not prepared for how rapidly she had deteriorated.  Her skin was yellow.  Her eyes were darting rapidly from side to side and turning different colors.  There was drool coming out of her mouth.  The poor thing looked awful.  But she still had enough sense to lift her head and track me when I entered the room.  Considering how poorly she was responding to the treatment, and the prognosis for these clots, I had to make the painful decision to put her down. I am so heartbroken.  What’s so weird is that while this is a common autoimmune disease, there aren’t too many testimonials about this, outside of a handful of reddit threads.  Most of the literature that I could find on this was in obscure Veterinary trade magazines and medical reviews.  However, a simple google search for IMHA related GoFundMe pages demonstrates that this is very common as there are multiple straight pages of crowdfunding requests for help with the medical bills associated with this disease.  I am so sorry for anyone who is dealing with this right now.  This is something that I seriously would not wish on my worst enemy.

Kate Pennington
December 17, 2019

My schnauzer was diagnosed in April 2018, he was 12 years 6 month old.  He had stroke like symptoms and not much strength as he could barely stand or walk straight.  I rushed him to the vet and his red blood cell count was half of what is considered normal. The vet gave him 10 mg of prednisone and a wait and see kinda response as they felt he has anemia/ IMHA -  we were all heart broken.  Well, despite the diagnosis, we faught on with our schnauzer and continued the administer the prednisone and then the vet started him with 10 mg of azithioprine . We kept a close watch on our little guy, and he started pulling through nicely.  His red blood cell count kept getting a little better. After six months , around December of 2018 he went off the azithioprine and he was doing pretty good. His RBC count was up to 30!!!!! Not bad, but normal is 40, so we continued the prednisone.  Well long story short, our schnauzer is still going strong 12 months later and his RBC is 33 ,  and he is only taking 5 mg of prednisone per day. The vet is so happy for my little guy, the vet calls him a miracle as he has been fighting for 18 months now.   To think we were going to put him down over a year ago,  please don’t give up if your dog is experiencing this aweful disease , your dog can pull through .  I feel that by feeding my dog the suggested vitamin B foods, such as grilled hamburger meat and eggs, along with the prednisone, has given my little dog a fighting chance .  He is now 13.5 years old and he is doing pretty good. I hope this info helps, email me anytime and I will respond with all the info/ efforts we have taken that may help you also.

Mary Noggle
December 15, 2019

My sweet Hazel was diagnosed Friday with Evans. Here it is Sunday, and I know in my heart we we will lose this battle. Years running down my face. She won't eat. So that means no meds. She can't walk much. She was fine one day, and the next fighting for her life. I cannot and will not let her suffer. I have to let her go tomorrow. And it is breaking my heart.

November 19, 2019

Our 10-year-old pug rescue has come down with what sounds like IMHA though the vet never used that particular nomenclature. Our experience is exactly as everyone describes here. Fine one minute then on Friday we found that he had collapsed on his way to greet us at the door. Blood tests on Saturday indicated severe anemia and absent any other obvious explanation, he was started on Prednisone yesterday. I am heartbroken as this is exactly 10 years to the day that I lost my beloved first pug, Pugsly. In his case, he went through surgery, blood transfusions, a week long stay in ER and came home only to have what I believe was a stroke related to all of his treatment. I put him to sleep that night. I don't want to give up on Bernie yet but I don't want him to suffer like Pugsly did at the end.  Reading this posts, the outlook looks so dire.

November 13, 2019

We also lost our 7 year old pitbull, judge to this horrible disease. He didnt show much signs, was just very tired for 2 days, had some loss of apetite, but started eating again and got his energy back. Thought he was fine again and them saw his urine was a very dark brown red colour. Took him to vet that afternoon after seeing the urine that morning. They did more blood tests and he was diagnosed with IMHA. Two days later he just dropped dead. No signs.. He died in our arms sad.

Barrett Post
November 8, 2019

This is a great article and after going through this myself I can say every word is so true. My yellow lab/whippet mix has Evan's Syndrome. Almost everyone had given up hope of the medication working but I refused to let her go. Three blood transfusions, several overnights at the hospital and 10 days on Cyclosporine and Prednisone... she was still loosing blood and platelet Luckily I found what I believe to be the best vet in Tampa, Doctor Yadira Santos from Banfield said she had heard of a chemo treatment called vinchristine which has a side effect of increasing platelet production. She set everything up so we could go to Blue Pearl Animal Hospital for the treatment, it was our last hope for seeing a dramatic change in her condition. Blue Pearl sets a whole new standard in pet hospitalization and critical care, they did two of her transfusions and were the only ones that could provide the chemo treatment. All I am saying is if you are going through this and have the means there is hope... it was a very expensive journey but like I said the whole time "you can't put a price on love". If you are going through this ask about the vinchrisitne it seemed to be what got her back on track. She pulled through and has been doing great... she will be steroids for life but all I know is 4 months later she is still here with me and made an amazing recovery. Thanks to Dr. Santos, Banfield and Blue Pearl, the people that took such good care of my pup are a lot of the reason she is still here today :)

October 20, 2019

I'm so happy to read some of these comments. My dog was diagnosed a few days ago and has gone downhill and starting to throw up blood and going limp so I have decided to put her to sleep come tomorrow. It was nice to read some of these comments to show me I'm doing the right thing.

Pam Brock
September11, 2019

I am so heartbroken after reading all these comments, but I am here to tell you there is hope.Our little Izzy was diagnosed the end of April, and in two days we rushed her to UGA vet hospital where she had a transfusion. Her red  blood count was at 12. After 5 days in ICU her red blood count was at 25, and she began taking prednisone and Mycophenolate. She began to have blood in her stool and vomiting, so sucrulfate was  added to coat her stomach. We have had many ups and downs with this horrible disease, We have been weaning her off the prednisone now for the last 8 weeks. It has to be done very slowly to prevent relapse. Yesterday her RBC was at 43%! Don’t give up! There is a face book site called IMHA with a world of information.

Cynthia Huwe
September 1, 2019

This happened to our Lucy the exact same way. Fine one day, then not eating, lethargic. Go to the vet expecting to come home with an antibiotic and something to ease her tummy and told she has IMHA. Chose to have her euthanized. Not putting her through treatments that will probably not work and cause her more suffering.

Cynthia Huwe
September 1, 2019

I was not going to put my dog through any of this treatment. Even if I could afford it, I cannot see putting any animal through it. Dogs keep going, no matter their pain, to keep their owners happy. I cannot let my pets suffer when there are thousands of dogs out there to rescue and give a good life.

August 25, 2019

There's nothing that can prepare you for coming face to face with IMHA, the sudden and brutal physical havoc it wreaks on your beloved best friend as you do everything, pay anything, to be one of the lucky ones who somehow find a way to save their precious fur baby.   After my 95 lb 9 1/2 year old girl Cookie was diagnosed with this barbaric disease, it was two months of test after test, blood transfusions, antibiotics and other meds but cruelest of all the mandatory double immuno suppressive agent therapy which came with its own laundry list of debilitating side effects equally as destructive as the original disease.   Finally, down to 70 lb and no longer able to stand on her own or wag her tail at the sound of my voice the fight was over.  So I told the best friend I never wanted to live without I would see her again one day on the other side and with that she gave me a kiss and a thump of her tail and she was gone.  That was June 24th and I'm still a train wreck.   I am sorry for all who have had hearts crushed.

Stephen Marple
August 24, 2019

I lost my beloved dog 3 days ago to IMHA.She was a staffie cross. She was 9 years old. On the Sunday she seemed weak. Then the next day she seemed ok. Then a day later she became very weak. I then took her to the vets.The vet took a blood sample and gave her an injection to help her. Took her home to wait for the blood test the next day. She only lasted 2 hours and died in front of me. I am devastated. Vets told me the the next day she had IMHA. Never heard of this. I wish I had taken her to the vets earlier. Happened so quick. Keep blaming myself. This is a devastating disease. My poor dog gone forever. Left a big hole in my life. RIP Sparkle and thanks for being so loyal.

August 23, 2019

I am so glad i found these comments since i just lost my beautiful papillion girl, willow,this wednesday (aug 21). the most comforting thing to hear is that it develops very rapidly.  she was fine thursday and friday and then saturday she starting peeing blood. i had been going to a wonderful vet for over 35 years but her office manager was treating me (and others) very badly so i decided not to go back.  i chose another vet and she doesn't work on satuday.  monday i called her and brought my dog in.  i was treated very badly.  she told me willow was jaundiced and that anyone with eyes in their head could have seen that and she also found a flea on her.  i am a senior citizen on very limited income and all i had was $100.  she said it wasn't enough to cover costs and she woudn't wait till i got my social security check on aug 28.  then she said she was a small business and not here to  "lend money" i left devastated.  i called my old vet (wonderful person and vet)and she had just flown in from visitng relatives in croatia and said she was on her way from airport and to meet her at clinic. I brought Willow in and then the horror began.  Willow was a  rescue and had mild erchichia when i got her and was treated. the erlichia probably came back.  I really didn't think she would make it but I had to try to save her.  My old vet does give credit but her office manager was there giving me a very hard time while i was trying to save her life.  I told him on aug 28 I would give $300 (my food budget) and then that amount monthly. I was bringing her in for fluid treatment twice a day and the morning and evening techs were wonderful and treated her with kindness and love.  At home she was  hiding and I felt she was not going to make it but I had to try.  Wed (aug 21) she stopped peeing and I called and was told to bring her in.  While we were waiting to be seen, she passed away right in front of me in a full waiting room.  I new she had died.  she voided bloody urine and they took her away.  I knew what had happened.  My vet said they were breathing for her so we could say goodbye. I said good bye and then said let her go and stop her suffering.  My vet shows her distress at any animal passing and was so kind.  If anyone could have saved Willow she could have.  she had so many things wrong.  the only comfort i have is everyone saying their dog was fine one day and deathly ill the  next. the other vet made me feel like i was negligent and I was beating myself up.  the other owners posting gave me some comfort in that their dogs were fine one minute and then deathly ill the  next.  i had heard the name of the disease but didn't really know much about it.  i am just devastated and made more so by the other vet and the office manager.  I did talk to one of the techs that treated her with hydration and he said the office manager was really bad with many people and they had lost clients and employees over him.  i realize he had to be bad buy about income but i was with my vet before he came to work there and have always paid my bills.  he makes me afraid to come back but i will never find another vet like this one and i am so distraught as i have 4 other little dogs and 3 cats.  thank you for providing this forum.  i don't even know if i am making any sense since i am still in shock and disbelief and grief.  all of you who have had to endure this horrible disease have my deepest sympathy.  a cure needs to  be found. i hope my Willow is now at peace and she meets my boy papillion Sparky at the bridge. I have to believe in some comfort.  I can't believe I won't be seeing her happy Papillion dance in the morning and throughout the day.  my other dogs and the cats keep looking for her.  I am blessed that i at least have their comfort.

August 21, 2019

I am so saddened to read all of these stories of those of you who lost your fur baby.  My story is happening in much the same way.  Toby, our 11 year old healthy, happy Pom was fine on "Sunday night at bedtime and Monday morning he refused to eat.  This was so unlike him as his favorite times of day are mealtime.  I assumed he was having another episode of pancreatitis and attempted to get him to take some of his probiotics.  He wasn't having it.  Couldn't interest him in a treat or anything.  Monday evening I stopped at the pet store and picked up a can of very low fat food.  That how we treat his pancreatic attacks and he usually loves it as he doesn't get wet food.  By Tuesday morning he was taking a quick turn for the worse.  I called the vet and they said bring him in right away.  After running bloodwork they diagnosed him with this horrible auto immune disease.  Like all of you I had never heard of it and was flabbergasted at how quickly it was taking him down.  They gave him fluids under the skin, prescribed the Prednisone, Azathiprine and Pepcid.  It was not easy getting them down him.  By this morning he couldn't even walk.  The vet called to check on him and I took him back in.  His RBC was down to 12%.  He got a transfusion today and we will continue to monitor and pray for the best.  Hoping the tranfusion will last long enough for his other meds to turn the situation around. Hopeful but not optimistic.  Breaks my heart.  He is the sweetest boy ever.  He comes to me for a little love every night before he lays down. Love him to pieces.

August 10, 2019

We lost our 10 yr old Cockapoo not even two weeks ago to this horrible, horrible disease. He was our first dog, he was my everything. Buster wasn't the healthiest of dogs...but by no means were we prepared for this. Sunday,happy/normal Buster minus his urine being a weird color (he got UTIs so we didn't think much of it). Monday evening we're at our urgent care vet learning about IMHA. Our little guy had gone through enough (epilepsy and end stage liver disease) and we decided it was the best option. He was so sick and confused. Everything you heard- jaundice, weak, heavy breathing. Hardest thing we've ever done and I miss him so much. My heart aches. And I'm very angry at this disease, how fast it attacks and the lack of available treatments. Maybe his other issues triggered this...who knows. I just know it happen so fast and our lives are changed forever. IMHA needs more attention and research. It would be wonderful if other pets and their owners can have hope when they hear this diagnosis.

July 3, 2019

We lost our beautiful cocker spaniel Charlie to IMHA at 5AM yeseterday. He was only in the Animal Hospital for a week now he isn't with us anymore. I haven't stopped crying he was only 5. He had about 8 Transfusions with no result so they thought they try and remove his spleen he survived that only later to get blood clot in the lungs. Only thing I am grateful now he is in heaven and pain free now. We had no warning he just got sick and wouldn't eat took him to vet and he went straight to the Animal Hospital as he blood count was at 12%. This Disease is so Terrible and I hope anyone on here that they fur babies get through it and don't have the same result as our beautiful Boy Charlie. Here One Day Gone the Next.

June 4, 2019

My sweet Echo lost her life to Evan’s syndrome just three weeks ago. She was only 5. She was my first dog, and was and is still incredibly special to me. She had received her lepto vaccine the end of March, and by mid April we were back at the vet. She wasn’t eating, even her favorite treats. The treatment seemed to work at first, she had a better week. Then she really started to slip away. Her organs were all enlarged, and she couldn’t move much at all. She was only in the hospital for a couple days. They tried a round of chemo and blood transfusion to get her counts up, but it didn’t work. I didn’t hesitate when the doctors said it was time. She was on oxygen, had a seizure, and started to get blood clots in her brain. I knew it was time to put her to rest. She had just celebrated her 5th birthday. It has been 3 weeks since she passed and it has not gotten any easier, but I know it will, and someday I will be ready to open up my heart again. I spent more than $6000 trying to save her over one month. I kept thinking, just another thousand, and another thousand, and she will be saved. The vets didn’t know for sure if the vaccine caused the lepto, which then triggered the Evan’s syndrome. I would still recommend vaccines. My sweet Echo just pulled one short straw after another. I am so grateful she held on long enough for me to be there and put her to rest. I couldn’t imagine her passing away without me. She was the best dog I could have hoped for. I wish I had more time, but the time we had was perfect. My prayers go out to all doggos and parents struggling with this. Hope for the best.

May 30, 2019

Our beautiful 8 1/2-year-old chocolate labradoodle, Sam was put to sleep five days ago. He had Evans disease, which is both the attack on red blood cells and platelets. He was diagnosed with IBD (treated with prednisone) one year ago,  and was a beautiful, shiny, healthy dog that played in the park and swam almost every day. One month ago,  he was diagnosed with IMHA. He was also put on a laundry list of other medications. We tried acupuncture, had four doctors, were in and out of the hospital and after a blood transfusion, his numbers went up. After this one month., The red blood cells begin to be destroyed again. Then his body turned on his platelets. The prednisones is the most horrible drug we have ever experience we tried acupuncture, had four doctors, were in and out of the hospital and after a blood transfusion, his numbers went up. After this one month period, the red blood cells began to be destroyed again. Then his body turned on his platelets. The prednisones is the most horrible drug we have ever seen. But there is a saying “better Pred than dead”. The high doses changed his hair, deteriorated his muscles, and we basically watched this young dog change in front of our eyes. Since he had no muscle, he tore his ACL. This poor dog limped and drug his leg around.  Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, he got a nose bleed. That’s when the doctors told us that he was unable to clot blood. They told us things were only going to get worse and we probably didn’t want to put him through that or ourselves. We gave him an amazing evening with friends and all the foods he wanted and took him the next morning. My heart is broken and I will never understand this bewildering disease. I feel for all of you on here. Know that I am going through it also. I miss him so much.

Donna D
May 22, 2019

As I am reading all of these comments my heart is aching and tears are running down my face because I too lost our precious Hachi in 2016. He was a terrier shitzu mix (Jack S***) LOL! Only 4 years old. I still have a pain in my heart because he was so young and, the not knowing why this happened and, the feeling of "Did we do everything we could to try and save him?" I have beaten my brain trying to think of what lead to this dreaded day of our loss. In 2015, our house was broken into. My husband was on a business trip in Florida, my kids were at school and, I was at the gym. When I got home our place was thrashed. They got in through a side door that they literally pride open with all their might because they could not get in through our French doors. I walked in through my garage not knowing they had already left and noticed that my hall door was closed which I did not understand. Hachi greeted me as he usually does. So, it did not hit me right away until I saw the destruction. It was not until a few days later when the police came to dust for finger prints that I noticed the scratch marks all over my hard wood floor in the dining room. I told my husband do you think they tried to hurt Hachi and he put up a fight? He said he really thought that may have happened. Hachi seemed okay. I did not think about it again until he started getting seizures about 5 months later. I walked in on his first seizure after coming home from a day out. What a frightening experience that was. The vet put him on a medication and he was down to having seizures only once a month which I could handle. I even asked the vet could the seizures be because of the break in? And he dismissed it saying the seizures would have started a lot sooner if there was a trauma to his head. He diagnosed it as Epilepsy being that he was under 5 years old. He believes it was hereditary. The following year in 2016, he was not feeling well and I took him in and that is when I got the news that he has IMHA. He changed his seizure medication without weaning him off of the old one. I even questioned his decision and he said it will be fine. Hachi immediately started having a cluster of seizures. I removed Hachi from his Vet's care and went to the ASG (Animal Specialty Group). They were amazing! They will always have a place in my heart. Now I had to deal with his cluster of seizures and his IMHA. ASG told me you never stop one medication to start another. You slowly introduce the new one and wean off of the old one. When I brought him in he was at a 12. They said if he does not get a blood transfusion today, he is going to die. They did not have any in stock and were going to try and find some. A girl who worked there overheard my story and it touched her because she also has a dog that lives with seizures. She drove all the way to Pasadena in CA to pick up a blood transfusion for our  Hachi and she watched it like a hawk so no one would take it. Overnight he responded well to the treatment but, every 1 to 2 weeks we were in for another transfusion. We even tried a very expensive medication that they give to cancer patients with no success. We took X-rays to see if he had perhaps swallowed a penny which can cause anemia in dogs. Nothing. We ran a few tests. Nothing. Every visit was for a blood transfusion and he responded better and better each time but then, would drop drastically. What seemed like several months was only 2 1/2 months. The vet finally told me Hachi is becoming "transfusion dependent". We had spent over $8000 trying to save his life. She said he is not going to last more than a week. Take him home and give him all the love and anything he wants to eat. When we got him home he went in our backyard to do his business and he just collapsed. I knew it was time to end his suffering. I couldn't take it! We took him to ASG to put to him sleep that evening. They gave him something to relax and brought him to us on a beautiful pillow with a blanket and said take all the time you need. When we were ready, we let him go and the lights went out in his eyes. They seemed to turn a purple color. They gave us as much time as we needed to let go. They didn't even charge us for the cremation. Days later I received a beautiful card from the staff and everyone took the time to write something special about our Hachi and the time he spent with them. I wish we could have held on longer but, our Hachi was not returning to us. I often wonder if the traumatic experience of the break in is what caused the seizures and led to the IMHA. We will never know.

Theresa Tworkowski
May 13, 2019

My Bob has IMHA and Evans disease. We are weening him from Prednisone. But now his platelets are over 1000?  Could that be from the decease.

April 12, 2019

My husband and I just lost our baby boy Duke a week ago to IMHA. He was first diagnosed with IMHA September 2018. during his final 7months with us he had a couple overnight stays in ICU, weekly check ups at the vet to check his blood count and at times on 6 different medications. I feel like every time his IMHA reoccurred it came back stronger and faster leaving us heart broken. Duke had his weekly visit on Tuesday and his numbers looked good, Wednesday he was fine... by the time I got home Thursday evening he was very sick and Friday AM we had lost him. This is a terrible disease, i hope one day they find a way to better manage this for pet's life. Duke was only 6 years old, and a beagle mix. I also hope that if anyone on here has a pet that is going thru treatment for IMHA- please make sure you spend as much time with your pet as possible and make sure they know how loved and special they are. You never know when it may be your last day with them. Duke was the center of our life and we miss him more than words can say.

April 9, 2019

I am taking great comfort but at the same time terrified by all the comments here.. my baby boy was fine last week but off his food and not himself over the weekend so I took him to the vet 2 nights ago and he’s been there since.. today it was confirmed he has IMHA.. He’s on steroids and his blood count has gone from 13.5 to 17 this morning but the vet has said he’s not out of the woods just yet.. it’s so sad not to have him home and I am desperately hoping the medication works.. many of you have given me hope that this awful disease can be managed so I’m hoping for the best.. if any dog can beat this I know my boy can <3

Jil R
March 13, 2019

Our sweetest, best boy, Sully a 7 year-old, long-haired dachshund lost his fight with this awful monster just a few days ago.  I never heard of IMHA and boom there it was staring us down.  Sully was happy, healthy, and doing great in December 2018, in January 2019 he got is vaccine pack and in two weeks we were at the ER with a PVC of 7%.  He was nearly passed out on the ride to the ER, but somehow his big heart told him to hold on a little longer.  This was Feb 12th...blood transfusion #1, lots of tests, all kinds of crazy things to find out why my baby was suddenly so sick.  His little body didn't like transfusion #1 and destroyed it overnight.  Time for a different blood match - transfusion #2 and lucky for us that held, but only got him to the mid 20s.  Next bone marrow test - my poor baby was bald in all kinds of place from all the tests, but still Sully smiled and hugged me. Sully got to come home 5 days later and we watched him like a hawk as the list of side effects was long.  Meds and more meds and lots of cheese treats to get the pills in which he took like a champ.  He had 5 rounds of pills a day by then.  Back to the Internal Medicine doc for a check up...pvc down, but not too scary.  Come back in a week.  Back to the doc, down again...could be worse and the meds take a while to take hold so we are not worried. 15 is the number where we'll need another blood booster and we're still in the low 20s  By the way, the bone marrow test is back now and Sully's marrow is only 60% functional as he has myelofibrosis which is the scaring of the marrow.  This could be why the regeneration is taking so long.  See you in a week, but we couldn't wait that week.  A few days later Sully's breathing starting to change.  He was breathing hard and we brought him in.  Numbers down and now we need another transfusion - #3 and oxygen to help him breathe.  OK, we say do whatever you have to - he's our baby.  More overnights at the ER, but now the news is a blood clot in his lungs and no increase after the last transfusion, but he needs another so we gave him another small boost. Apparently PTE is a common side issue for IMHA and it comes on fast.  Due to the myelofibrosis Sully was not on blood thinners and his other numbers were spot-on so there was no need found for it.  Suddenly we have a miracle and he gains 6 points, could he finally be regenerating?  Maybe, but only for 12 hours as by 6pm that day he had lost 8 points and could barely breathe on his own.  We cried the whole way to see him and when we arrived we knew he was letting us know that he was done fighting and helped him to greet the sun.  The doctors did all they could to give us our boy back, and they have us another month of his unconditional love and hugs.  We lost our baby on Sunday, March 10, 2019 after a short terrible battle with this unheard of monster IMHA.  He is now helping all the other IMHA babies who are joining him so quickly.  Sully is an amazing boy who is gone way too soon. March 10th is now plain cheeseburger day in our house in honor of how much our baby loved them.  Hug your little ones tight tonight.  With love that goes beyond everything, Sully's Mom. 

Barbara C
March 6, 2019

Last week our 5 yo Daisy, a Beagle/King Charles mix was diagnosed with IMHA. Daisy had vaccinations and blood work in September. I noticed two months ago that Daisy was  missing a meal or two. Sometimes not eating for a full day.She would even refuse her treats. I chalked it up to it being the holiday season, weather changes, or the flu. Daisy, seemed to improve and be herself again. About the third week of January, she began missing mealtimes again. When she did not eat for a full day we decided to take her to the ER, There she she was a 36. which is still normal. They gave her an appetite stimulant, a pain med, and  an abdominal ultrasound and sent her home. We took her back to our vet, who ran more a CBC abain which came back 36 again. She referred us to an Internal Medicine vet. Our appointment was a month out and to continue her meds. Within a couple of days, Daisy began to have episodes of wobbling and falling down. One episode of complete unconsciousness where she lost her bladder. She was excited, the UPS man arrived. We called our vet and she incorrectly said it was a seizure. Daisy was limp and we should have taken her to the crital care hospital right then but waited. As time went on, Daisy had a few wobbling and fall down episodes and when they were one after another, I decided not to wait for her appointment and take her in. There her CBC was 18. She received an echocardiogram, ultrasound, bone marrow tes, and a blood transfussion, which only raised her up to a 22. She stayed for 2 days and came home with this dreadful diagnosis. Daisy is on Plavix, steroids, antibiotics, appetite stimulants, Prilosec. Her appetite is ferocious. We took her back for a recheck. Upon leaving the hospital she was at a 22. Her recheck she was back  down to a 19. We know at some point we are going to need to take her for another transfussion. Selecting the right time to take her is frustrating. The doctor is optimistic. She claims that supressing a dogs immune system is key and takes time. Most patients pass away from blood clots, thus her taking Plavix. She said it will be uphill for 6 weeks to 3 months. At that time we can access if Daisy is truly responding to treatment. Until then, Give her the meds, no walks, Potty time on a leash out and in only, no climbing stairs, no play, no excitement. Address episodes as they come and if she wobbles just upon rising bring her in for the transfusion.  We are in this to win it. The diagnosis stinks but we love our Daisy so much she is worth giving her the best chance we can for survival which we are told is up to 75%. Oh one last thing. The medication is a difficut thing. I open capsules, and crush pills. I mix the the powder and liquid with agave syrup and give it to Daisy with a soft munskin baby spoon. It works for us.

Greg Carson
March 3, 2019

Our beloved Nysa, a 3 year old Chesapeake, is in the vetrinary critical care unit at the U. of M. animal hospital in Minneapolis fighting for her life. She's getting a transfusion and IV steroids at the moment. She was brought in 4 days ago to the local vet, same symptoms as all the others have posted. I can't believe how crazy fast this came on. Like everyone else, she was perfectly normal one minute, and sick as could be the next. I'm sure not hearing or reading very many successful outcomes on here. It's all so very sad. These fur babies are like family. I'm prepared for the worst and hoping for the best. I sure don't want her to suffer.

February 26, 2019

I lost my Fluffy 11,5 year old Shih Tzu on the night after Valentine’s. He plainly refused to eat or drink in the morning and couldn’t stand when I took him outside to go potty. I rushed him to the vet at 2 pm and his blood hematocrit came back at shocking 13% (lower normal range should be 37) and red blood cell count was 2 (normal range 5,5 - 8,5). The vet told me he won’t survive unless we did immediate blood transfusion but even with that the chances were very slim. She gave him prednisone shot and antibiotic shot. I took him home and scheduled in home euthanasia on the next day as my husband was flying in and I really needed him for support for me and my baby. But my baby Fluffy the Shih Tzu a little dog with a big heart never made it till the next day. Started breathing heavily around 6pm and was getting worse every minute.. He passed away at midnight in my arms at home and now I’m blaming myself for not calling the vet to come in and put him to sleep when he couldn’t breathe. I was in such a state of shock it was happening so fast I really wasn’t thinking clearly..The question I’d like to raise is what is triggering this abnormal immune response.. I pulled out Fluffy out of this in 2017 and I suspect in 2018 but we last the battle this year. What I noticed each time it was strangely after visiting vets and either having vaccinations or worm prevention. I’m reaching out to all of you to try to recall what could’ve possibly triggered your babie’s IMHA. Please write in your post. May be if we all get together and then reach out to the vet society we can help in researching and defeating this deadly desease. Fluffy baby, mommy will always love you..

January 25, 2019

We just lost our incredibly lovable MaltiPoo mix Pepper yesterday to Evans Syndrome. It truly is shocking just how fast she went from normal to fighting for her life. The symptoms she experienced started with some diarrhea that turned bloody, bruising spots on her belly(the ones that we could see), then her strength suddenly faded until she could barely move, not wanting to eat her favorite foods, heavy breathing, very fast heart rate and then her tongue and gums turned white. This all happened so fast. We got her to the Vet after the diarrhea and bruising spots were noticed and did blood testing. She was actually still acting normal at this Vet visit. It was about 1 hour after getting home that she showed the first sign of losing her strength. The blood results showed her plasma count was already all the way down to 7. They gave her the first round of meds with a vitamin K shot, but after about 24 hours she could barely lift up her head, tongue & gums went white and her heart was thumping at a very rapid pace. We made the heartbreaking decision to let her go as this seriously messed up disorder had hit her so hard and so fast. We had no idea something like this could happen to an animal and our hearts go out to everyone that has been through this. It is going to take a little while to get over this one.   

January 18, 2019

It was a normal Wednesday.  I fed my dog her breakfast and noticed that she ate all of the "wet" food and none of her kibble although she likes this very much.  I did not think much about it. I went to work, texted my dog walker that she seemed a little off; (oh and she would not eat her after breakfast treats which was very unusual for her)and to let me know how she was doing. He wrote to let me know that she seemed ok but would not eat her "cookies" that he always give her. Her name is Sofie, a 9.5 year Goldendoodle, a goofball who loves people! That night she would not eat her dinner at all.  I went to the store and bought her some chicken broth and chicken baby food.  She ate the entire small bottle of baby food but nothing else. She was very tired and appeared uncomfortable. The next day I called in sick so I could take her to the vet. Diagnosed with IMHA which I never head of.  Took her home and it was a challenge to get all of the meds down that were ordered that day. I wasn't told about the fatality of the disease.  Did not really know what to expect..just that if she got worse to take her to an animal hospital. I took her there the following morning.  By then she was "critical" and I needed to make some hard choices.  After awhile, I made the agonizing choice to let Sofie go.  I did not want to put her through anymore tests with the knowledge that she most likely would not recover. She was my first dog as an adult person.  Our bond was something that I still have difficulty describing.  Yes, she truly was my best friend.  We hear that a lot.  I just know that I am missing her more than I ever could imagine missing a pet.  I am lost.  I take comfort in knowing that I will see her again.  I picture her in her dog park running and playing with the other dogs with complete joy and abandon and I am "happy". 

January 14, 2019

Our 12-year-old, male, neutered, roughly 9 lb, toy poodle gradually became lethargic, inattentive, and not playful in the second half of 2018. We assumed it was age, but by late October we noticed extreme weakness and stumbling, along with very pale gums and tongue. Oct 31: Hematocrit 8%, receives transfusion. Nov 1: 25%. Nov 2: Tests negative for cancer, diagnosed with IMHA, holding at 25%, they give him a shot of dexamethasone (stronger than prednisone) and start him on cyclosporine, comes home where he'll be on prednisone 10mg/day and cyclosporine 0.4ml/day. Nov 7: Down a bit to 23%, vet adds mycophenolate 50mg/day. Nov 14: Down to 18%, receives 2nd transfusion, then 32%. Nov 19: Down to 23%. Nov 24: Down to 14%, receives 3rd transfusion. Nov 25: Discontinued mycophenolate because he appeared to do worse on it. Nov 26: 25%. Nov 30: 26%. Dec 7: 32%. Jan 4: 37%, four days into a 25% prednisone reduction. Mycophenolate seemed to actually CAUSE anemia in our dog! Since discontinuing it, he appears to be on the road to recovery. I know myco works for some, but in our dog's case it was harmful. Prednisone and cyclosporine got his hematocrit into the normal range. Hopefully a very slow and careful tapering of pred will prevent a relapse. If his hematocrit drops, we'll put him back at the high dose for longer. My heart goes out to all affected by this terrible and bewildering condition. God bless.

Genia Moody
December 14, 2018

I lost my Gracie after a ProHeart (Moxedectin) injection brought on IMHA-like symptoms with no official diagnosis from our former vet.  She was one of the unlucky ones who did not tolerate a transfusion.  More research needs to be done to determine if the toxins in preventative medicines like ProHeart are worth the risk.  If I had a do-over, then no ProHeart injection would have ever been given to her.  I bet she would still be with me to celebrate another Christmas.

December 6, 2018

We lost our 14 year old beagle mix Ruby to IMHA yesterday. Three days ago she was her normal self and by the time I got her to the vet yesterday her blood levels were critical. She wouldn’t eat and barely drank. It just came on so fast but I take comfort in knowing she did not suffer from a long and dragged out illness. I am truly sorry for all of those dealing with this diagnosis. It’s terrible.

Foxy Lady
November 21, 2018

We lost our 12 lb terrier mix rescue at age 6, to this horrible disease. Reading these, helped me understand what to expect, so I am starting with the process... She was a feisty energetic pup who had a bout with an anal gland infection. We gave her Clavulanate / Amoxicillin & Rimadyl for 10 days. She also had her Nextguard about 1 week prior. I have no idea if any of this had any impact, but she never was all that energetic after. She hates the cold, so it could have been due to the cold.....2 weeks later she was diagnosed with IMHA, and 6 days later, I was told she had Evan's Syndrome. She survived treatments for a week before giving up the fight. We put her to sleep last night. I was traveling for work, and our fantastic and loving dog sitter took her to the vet as she threw up the night before and refused to eat. She had an RBC of 8%, but the vet said no other blood related issues. She immediately went to the hospital for a PRBC (packed red blood cell transfusion). She was so tiny, they split it in half, giving her ½ in pm, which got her to 17%, and then second one the next morning, with overnight stay, which got her to 30%. She went home that afternoon and seemed to be slowly doing better. She was given Prednisone & Cyclosporine twice a day for immunosuppression, and Metronidazole & Cerenia once a day to combat the initial side effects of diarrhea and nausea. We only needed the Metronidazole for 2 days, so we stopped giving the Metronidazole, but she took more of the Cerenia, as the nausea never went away. When she felt bad, it was a real struggle to get her to eat. Nights were tougher than mornings, which I think may be due to the Cerenia being given in the am. We tried to feed her before giving her immunosuppression meds. The doc said to freeze the Cyclosporine, as this was reported to cause less nausea.  (Food she likes included chicken & rice, human grade salmon & pet store goats milk was really good for fluids. She refused pumpkin.) She had a perfect morning with a completely normal potty, ate and tried unsuccessfully to go for a walk…too cold. We took her to her doc visit, and they said she was at 21%, which was expected. The meds were slowing down the progression but were not working enough to reverse the counts. The drugs needed more time to build up in her system. Later that afternoon, she started to have spontaneous bleeding in her rectum. They never told me her platelet count had been dropping, and she was down to 9/10K.  I got worried as she started dropping fast, stopped eating, and looked bad. We took her in that night and she was diagnosed with Evan’s Syndrome. Please make sure to ask for all of their blood counts. You have to be very careful with a dog with low platelet count. Any bruising, etc. may not clot. She had a little bruising on her cheek as well, and it kept getting puffy. They gave her an IVIB, which takes 6-8 hrs. She perked up in the am, but at 14% RBC, so they gave her another PRBC transfusion and she only went up to 19%. She looked awful/zombie’ish.  We took her home and that evening she wouldn’t eat more than a little broth. She started wheezing and couldn’t find a comfortable spot. We knew she was in pain, so we decided it was time. I have had special need pups before, but their passing was expected. This was a shock. I hope to never go through this again. That said, I will never trade the wonderful years with her for anything. She was a feisty, smart and sweet little girl, who loved Flyball, agility, and traveled all over with me. She was an awesome girl and will be missed.

November 10, 2018

My sweet bailey turned 9 yesterday. She began fighting IMHA about a week ago. Feels like a year. I’ve spent each day wondering if she’ll be alive in the morning. After three days of steroids, antibiotics and vitamins she seemed to perk up, but the past three days I’ve seen her less and less perky. She ate this morning but vomited it all up two times. I’m thinking this is not a good sign. All I can do is wait now and hope she makes it to Monday. We will see if her blood count is any better. I won’t put her through a lot to get better, though I fault or judge no one who does. If she’s going to leave us, I want her in my arms feeling loved and secure. This disease sucks so bad. As all have said, it came in so fast. She’s a beautiful long haired mini dachshund. I’ve cried more tears this week than I have all year long.

November 8, 2018

We lost our beautiful baby girl American Cocker Spaniel Tahlia by IMHA on 5th, Nov, 2018. She only about half and one month away from her 8 years birthday. I was in China for a business trip since 26th, Oct. She was always such happy healthy little girl with very loving soul despite some ear infection which is very common with pure breed cocker spaniel. I patted her head and her elder brother Hudson told them don't worry mommy would be back from China soon, they should be good boy and good girl then drove to airport. I never imagine it was the last time to seeing my baby girl sitting there watching me via her beautiful round eyes. Last Saturday morning about 4:45am in China time, I was woke up by phone call from my partner, on the other end of line, he was crying and I was shocked by his words: "Tahlia is dying". She was fine on Friday morning, couldn't wait to rush out from the bedroom to get her favorite  chew stick as always, but was found she was slow and weakness in the afternoon and only willing to lying down underneath the table. on Saturday morning, she never move from where she were and breath heavily. Been rushed into AEC, after some X-ray and blood check, AEC said she had IMHA. She was given antibiotics and sterois and asprine,  keep in AEC and at the same time I stopped all planning in China changed my flight rush took 11 hours flight back to Melbourne. When I landed straight went to the AEC, she looks exhausted after the first blood transfusion, now her count back to 30 from 14. I hugged her, and kissed her, told her everything would be alright mommy was back. after some time, the nurse sent her back to her cage to rest.We went to see her again during the night, I found her more weak but I thought it might just normal as human being got illness would be always want to have sleep. we left her in AEC the second night and in the morning aound 6;00am, doctor called us said she needs oxygen. we drove to AEC again to see her, she was in her cage and the oxygen tube is in her nose, she looks comfortable but very weak. I call her name, patting her, she tried very hard to stand up to closer to me but failed, she sat back then lying down falling to sleep. This was the last time I saw her conscious. Then I found some liquid dropping from her mouth. After we back home to have some rest about 2 hours, AEC called again and said now the liquid full of her lung, would need put her on breath mechine to wait for the orchisound team as I was always hoping AEC could find out what is wrong with her then can treat it. As it was long weekend, AEC tried very hard to find available team, we decided put her on breath mechine. then we back to AEC to see her again, now she was totally unconscious but I still talking with her calling her name and patting her, till that moment I still believe the team would find the course and treat her, she still can be back home with us. We back home to wait the team arrive AEC as their promising. Around 6:50, AEC called us, told us the team arrived at 6:00pm , but my little girl had heart attack during the processing , she passed away. I couldn't believe the call and both my partner and I couldn't stopped tears. Our such beautiful and loved loving baby girl left us and her loved brother within 3 days. Next morning, we took her home and bury her in our backyard just underneath the window as we know she would be there with us forever. I hate IMHA!I will never forgive this four letters.

October 9, 2018

We lost our 8 month old Alaskan Malamute on 8/31/18. He was doing great then woke up one morning, wouldn't eat his food, was extremely tired, panting, at one point collapsed when he was walking. took him to the emergency vet and sure enough, IMHA. he rcv'd a blood transfusion, started on Prednisone, had to receive another blood transfusion 4 days later. Ended up getting a perforated bowel due to the prednisone therapy despite being on a medication to prevent this. His body would not respond to therapy and was not a candidate to have surgery to fix his bowel, they also suspected a PE. His body began shutting down. We were told by our vet it was among the top 3% most aggressive cases she had seen in 12 years of ICU. It was the most traumatic, awful experience of my life and I hope no pet owner has to go through this.

October 4, 2018

This happened to my cat Clara three days ago and there was no going back.  It's a terrible thing to watch. It might have gone on without us knowing it for a couple weeks but watch out if your cat starts acting lethargic and changing it's routine.  I can't believe it.

September 18, 2018

Uncommon in cats as it may be, it stole my best friend on August 3, 2018.  Noel was in perfect health on Thursday - and Friday afternoon, she was gone.  I would have done anything - transfusion, medication,....but I couldn't help her.  I had no time at all to even digest the thought of losing her, she was simply here then gone.  Horrible disease.  I am heartbroken still.

September 6, 2018

I Just lost my sweet Scarlett 2 days ago to this awful disease, she was 10. It took her in two days time. It was dreadful! I am still recovering from the shock of it all.

August 5, 2018

I just lost my sweet boy, Tanner, 3 days ago.  He was about 3 weeks shy of his 15th birthday, and the best cocker spaniel that ever walked the earth.  This disease came on SO fast!  Literally, within 48 hours, he went from a happy senior dog to gone.  The evening of July 31, he was wiggling and coming to greet me when I got home from work.  Then he just stopped - like he’d gotten so excited that his heart got stuck. I picked his front feet up and patted his chest, and he seemed to come out of it, but he slid right down on the floor for a bit before he could get up again.  He was able to go outside and go potty, but he was very weak.  When we came back in, he paced around the table for about 20 minutes, and even then, he didn’t eat much supper. He seemed to sleep OK that night, but early the next morning, he went down again.  I got him up, and got him ready to go to our vet.  When I put him on the piddle pads I had for him downstairs, he peed like he’d been holding it all night, and the urine was the color of blood. We got in to see the vet by 9:30; she did blood work and told me he had IMHA.  She gave me prednisone and an antibiotic (he also had a bacterial infection going on), and she gave him an antibiotic injection before we left. He slept the rest of the day, but he didn’t drink or eat anything.  I tried to coax his appetite with tuna or boiled chicken.  He tried to eat, but the food came back up.  The medicine wouldn’t stay down, and he had a rough night.  Next morning, he was weaker & still had dark bloody urine.  I took him back to the vet and told them that this could not continuel.  At his age, and as sick as he was, it wasn’t right to put him through any more treatment.  I made the decision to put him down, and I sat with him and held him for those hours while we waited for them to get the room ready and get the vet to take a look at him. I held my beautiful little boy while they got the catheter in, and the vet had no sooner finished injecting the anesthetic than he left.  He was done.   This is a cruel and vicious disease, and it breaks my heart to read of so many others who have gone through this.  My heart goes out to each one for the pain and grief you’ve experienced.

July 26, 2018

I lost my Rotti mix Austin to this disease 4 days ago.  He was fine all of last week and then suddenly on Sunday, he was in horrible shape. It cam like a thief in the night on Saturday night and changed a healthy 11 year old dog into a very sick, lethargic and anemic boy. Unfortunately, he only made it 1 day. I had never heard of IMHA until now and it took my precious Austin from me. He was my best friend and nobody deserves to have their baby and best friend attacked so suddenly and viciously like this. IMHA needs to be eliminated! Hug your babies a little tighter each night, you never know when things can change in just a moment in time.

July 17, 2018

Our beautiful sweet 11 yr old Daisy was diagnosed with this last Friday and immediately started on 40mg of prednisone .  Her count was 25.  Now after blood work today, 4 days later she is down to 13.  This came on very quick like everyone else is saying and she was perky and fine the day before we took her in.  Reading these posts is comforting to know we are not alone in this fight but at the same time the reality of this diagnosis is very scary.  I pray she makes it thru the night tonight but the vet is not very hopeful due to her low numbers.  Hugs and prayers for all of you going thru this with your fur kids.  This disease needs research!!!

July 7, 2018

It's 4:30am and I'm sitting up reading all the comments with my dog, who is now fighting IMHA. I'm all too familiar now with so many of the comments here, but it's heartening in a way to know that so many other are going through what we are. My heart goes out to anyone who lost their dog to this. My boy Bishop is still fighting after being admitted to the emergency clinic 2

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