01031-A: Determination of Target Antigens in Canine Primary Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $2,001
Darren Wood, DVM; University of Guelph
September 1, 2007 - August 31, 2008

Sponsor(s): American Spaniel Club Foundation, BEACON for Health, Collie Health Foundation

Breed(s): Cocker Spaniel
Research Program Area: Immunology and Infectious Disease
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Canine primary immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) is a serious illness which involves attack of red cells by the patient's own immune system. The result is severe anemia. Currently, it is not known what causes or triggers the patient's immune system to turn against its own red blood cells. Numerous scientific reports indicate a breed predilection: one study demonstrated that Cocker Spaniels are over 12 times as likely to have IMHA as are dogs of other breeds. Treatment involves generalized immune suppression, which often leaves patients at risk for many complications. Despite treatment, mortality rates are high, ranging from 23 percent to 70 percent. Studies in human and mouse models of autoimmune diseases show that in many cases, a particular protein or set of proteins found on certain cells are targeted by the immune system, and result in the damage or death of these cells. Such studies have provided tantalizing clues to the mechanisms of autoimmunity and have paved the way for the development of novel therapies. Does a similar case exist for canine primary IMHA, i.e. is there a selected set of proteins or perhaps a single protein which is the focus of immune attack in primary IMHA? We hope that answering this question will further our understanding of the causes of canine primary IMHA, and will lead to better treatments.


Tan, E., Bienzle, D., Shewen, P., Kruth, S., & Wood, D. (2012). Potentially antigenic RBC membrane proteins in dogs with primary immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. Veterinary Clinical Pathology, n/a-n/a. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1939-165X.2011.00391.x

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