Diseases, allergens, and some medications seem to trigger autoimmune conditions in some of our pets, creating uncomfortable conditions in our dogs, cats, and other lovable critters that can be very difficult to treat naturally.
Such pet autoimmune diseases include arthritis, lupus, red blood cell disorders, and a variety of skin conditions.
One of the first things to try for many chronic pet illnesses is to experiment with a change in diet, whether that means a different brand of commercial dog food, a BARF diet, an holistic diet, or some other change that may eliminate allergens or otherwise might boost the healthy immune system.
Natural Cures: Most immune boosting natural remedies can be used alike in pets as in humans. Garlic and brewer's yeast, however, while are popular as food additives for many pet owners are simultaneously anathema to other dog and cat lovers, who point to studies that show liver toxicity from these remedies over the long term. Caution is recommended.
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
Australian Flower Essences
[YEA] 09/17/2007: Louise from Arnprior, Canada: "Australian Bush Flower Essences were used to cure auto immune problems in two dogs, one a bleeding disorder, of low platelets diagnosed by veterinarian as auto immune caused. Treated with ABFE (Use Blood disorders page 310 of Australian Bush Flower Healing by Ian white with the addition of waratah, Reiki and one homeopathic remedy Lachisis stopped bleeding overnight. Added Boab to the ABFE after the main crisis was over. The other was suffering from thyroidosis, auto immune type, loss of weight, not playful and heat cycle out of whack and enlarged thyroid. Used only ABFE this time for the auto immune problem and used 7 drops in the dogs water daily, and in two weeks she was more playful, slowly gained weight and heat cycle was normal after two months back in sync with the other bitch. I have found ABFE to be better than homeopathy, works faster and better IMO too."Replies
10/27/2009: Janice from Coloma, Mi replies: "I looked up the ABFE information you talked about. Very Interesting. How did you learn about this?"
08/09/2011: Jill from Gainesville, Fl, Usa replies: "I use the SCIO, quantum biofeedback program for my pet issues. Can scan long distance and works on an energetic, frequency principals. jillsun3(at)yahoo.com if any ?'s."
Heartworm and Flea Medication Side Effects
[WARNING!] 04/22/2008: Bev : "Hi, My dog when she was 2, ( a golden retriever/lab mix) was started on Program the one with flea control and heartwomer. She developed ITP. A autoimmune problem with her platlets. She had to be put on predisone because her platlets were so low. She had a bone marrow biopsy, an ultrasound and many blood tests. She is finally went into remission and has been very good for many years. So I know that it was not her but the medication. If it was her it would have stayed not gotten better when she was taken off of it. I know other dogs have actually died because of this drug. they went into the same autoimmune except it attacked the red blood cells instead and the dogs died. Just thought you should add this to your problem meds. thanks Bev B."
Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia
05/31/2012: Wendy427 from Columbus, Oh, Usa: "Subject: IMHA and AIHA in dogs - Important info for pet owners AND VETS!
I'm posting this because my dog was recently diagnosed with IMHA (Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia). It can also be called AIHA (Auto Immune Hemolytic Anemia). The symptoms are not generally recognizable, AND vets basically do not know why dogs contract this nor is there a definitive cure.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a vet. Any vet/medical terminology below is my paraphrasing from my vets' info and instructions.
On 4/21/2012, my dog, Lacey was lethargic, not eating much (a little, yes), seemed to be pooing normally, yet peeing a little more than usual. The next morning she didn't want to get up from her bed to go out for her first pee of the morning. I thought that she was just tired.
So, I went to work. When I returned home 8 hours later, I let her out into my backyard for her to pee, and something told me to check her gums. Well, I did, and they were STARK WHITE! I knew this was really wrong!
I rushed her to the vet immediately. The vet took her temp which was on the "high end of normal", took X-Rays which were clear, and blood was drawn.
The next day I got the blood test results back: Liver & kidneys were fine, but her red blood cells were somewhat large. Believes she was mildly anemic. On her CBC, the hematocrit (HCT - the number of red blood cells) was 30% (I think the norm is 40%-50%).
Then the vet went into more detail: She thought Lacey may have immune mediated hemolytic anemia. But she needed more info from the lab to get a count of her immature red blood cells to check to see if her bone marrow creation of red blood cells was working OK. (obviously I was paraphrasing from my quick hand-written notes, but that's the gist).
I suggested an ultrasound, and she definitely agreed. On 4/24 she had the ultrasound (to also check for bleeding, tumors, etc. ) and that was fine.
So, the vet put her on Prednizone (the dose is specific to your dog's weight). The vet may also want to do a test for tick borne diseases (TBD) because those symptoms can mimic IMHA/AIHA.
The vet said that due to the meds, she'll be peeing and eating MUCH more.
On 4/25, I decided to get a second opinion at the OSU (Ohio State University) Vet Clinic. The vet there did another CBC.
OSU confirmed the IMHA! Lacey's meds were slightly tweaked; still on the pred and doxycycline (an antibiotic just in case), and on 1/4 Aspirin (the 81mg size) and Prilosec OTC once a day. The 1/4 aspirin decreases platelet function and helps prevent clot formation which is a complication of IMHA.
Her HCT had gotten down to 20. OSU's discharge papers were full of medical terms and counts; I won't even attempt to paraphrase them here.
A recommendation is that Lacey NOT be vaccinated (Rabies titers is OK) or at least have the vacs spaced out over a period of time. This is due to the prednizone compromising her immune system.
On 4/27 her gums were a little more pink and her HCT had risen to 28 which was GOOD!
So, for the whole month of May 2012, Lacey has continually improved. I continue to give her the prednizone and other meds. I also took her to a holistic vet who prescribed a few other things, which I am convinced are actually accelerating her better health!
As of 5/30/12, Lacey's last 2 HCT tests (red blood cell count) have been holding steady at 38. If her next HCT in a month holds steady or rises (which is good), she'll start being weened VERY slowly off the prednizone. This prednizone weening process is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT; you can't take the dog of pred cold-turkey or they may have a relapse.
In general she's really feeling MUCH better. Can go for longer walks, insists on chasing voles (look like black mice) , and generally has an upbeat attitude!
She had developed a cyst on her leg due to her compromised immune system, but even now, it has diminished considerably since I've been regularly swabbing it with diluted Apple Cider Vinegar (learned about on this site, plus giving her turmeric! ), although she still needs to wear an e-collar to prevent licking it. Good thing it can come off during eating and walks!
The only thing that's probably a bit bothersome for her now is her back legs are fairly week; she can't jump up on the bed/sofa. But this is only due to the prednizone side effects.
Other than that, she's doing pretty good!
So, hope this info is helpful for anyone whose dog may be experiencing the symptoms of IMHA/AIHA.
For more detailed info on IMHA/AIHA visit the Meishas Hope site:
08/08/2012: Wendy from Columbus, Oh/USA replies: "*** UPDATE - Dog diagosed with IMHA *** Here's some more info about Lacey and her battle with IMHA:
Around mid-June 2012, she started getting weaned off the prednizone. This was because her HCT levels were holding steady at @36-38. However, starting about mid-to-late July, she started having a very difficult time walking, standing, breathing, & eating. There were also a couple of times she was unable to get up off the floor after laying down.
Unfortunately, on Sunday, August 5, 2012, Lacey passed away. She just couldn't battle the IMHA symptoms nor the prednizone side-effects any longer, despite also being on a holistic protocol of vitamins prescribed by her holistic vet.
I talked to my vet the next day who explained that Lacey had probably had a pulmonary embolism. Here's a link that describes the symptoms and causes of a pulmonary embolism in dogs, one of the causes being IMHA which Lacey had been diagosed with:
11/06/2011: Loretta from Ravenshoe, Qld, Australia: "Everything I have read on here has given me the encouragement to use alternative methods to hopefully cure my 6 year old Rottweiler Max. Last year in Oct. 2010 he was limping and was treated for a pulled muscle. This happened again a couple of months later and blood tests showed all his internal organs to be functioning properly so again he was treated for a pulled muscle. With his condition deteriorating and xrays done, the diagnosis was severe arthritis. No improvement so further tests and a diagnosis of an auto immune disease either Polymyositis or Lupus. He was so ill by this time he spent over a week at the vets saving his life. Months down the track and he really is showing no improvement.
Juggling dosage of Prednisone (started on 80mg day- massive dose- now down to 20mgs), Thioprine, Tramadol (for pain) and Carafate (for his stomach because of the drugs) doesn't seem to be getting us anywhere. He has also had several courses of antibiotics for an infection in the pad on his elbow.
I read the post by Kaitlin Rose from Dillon (01/07/2011)about using Colloidal Silver for her dog with Lupus and wondered if she or anyone else reading this could give me more information. I can make the colloidal silver myself but don't know the dosage to give or if it will be safe to give him while he is still on this other medication, which of course I can't just stop. At the moment he is around the 50kg mark and is very bloated from the Prednisone.
Also 10/16/2009: Kim from Fullerton says she used MSM and Vitamin E which I found very interesting. I would also like any information on this if possible.
Wondering as well if a specific diet will help.
Enormous thanks to anyone who can help me save my beautiful friend and get him back to his old self."