Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people

Activation of Complement in Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA)


Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) is a common immune-mediated disease in dogs that can be fatal. In IMHA, the immune system attacks the dog’s own red blood cells. In human patients affected with a similar condition called PNH, drugs that inhibit the complement system can be a life saving treatment. Before we can use such drugs in dogs, we first have to identify which dogs with IMHA have complement activation. We are also looking at ways to inhibit canine complement so that we can identify and test novel treatments for this disease to save lives and reduce the severity of disease that these dogs face.

ELIGIBILITY: Dogs diagnosed with IMHA, defined as the presence of anemia (PCV<37%) AND at least one of the following: positive saline agglutination test, positive Coombs test, or moderate to marked spherocytosis in a blood smear (confirmed by a clinical pathologist.) Dogs with an identified underlying disease process (e.g. cancer) causing the IMHA will be excluded. Dogs that have received immunosuppressive therapy e.g. steroids for >24h will also be excluded.

SAMPLES: We will collect a citrated plasma sample and a serum sample for this study. We will also accept samples from veterinarians in practice who are managing these cases.

COMPENSATION: Blood sampling and testing for complement activation will be done at no charge to the owner. Other tests or procedures required as part of patient care will be the responsibility of the owner.

CONTACT/SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT: For more information contact Dr. Goggs or Dr. Behling-Kelly at 607-253-3060 or email the clinical research coordinator at

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