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Percy Ainsworth IMHA Facebook Story


Percy is one of Internal Medicine’s long-standing patients, who was referred to the discipline for the diagnosis and treatment of immune mediated haemolytic anaemia (IMHA).

Anaemia occurs in one of three ways; reduced production of red blood cells, loss of blood or through the destruction of red blood cells. However the presenting anaemia occurs, each of these conditions can manifest in the same manner; in that the patient effectively cannot carry enough oxygen to the cells and tissues around the body, resulting in hypoxaemia.

IMHA can refer to any response which causes the immune system to attack its own red blood cells, in some instances there is no underlying cause, but in order to diagnose immune mediated haemolytic anaemia, responses to diseases or triggers, such as; infection, neoplasia, erythroparasites or drugs, must be ruled out first through a process of elimination using advance imaging techniques and laboratory investigations.

The immune system attacks the red blood cells by producing antibodies which attach to the cell’s membrane and mark it for destruction by the process of cellular lysis.

The treatment for IMHA requires the suppression of the immune system, anti-coagulants to reduce the risk of thromboembolisms occurring, and supportive therapies, such as; gastro-protectants, packed red blood transfusions, nutritional support and intravenous fluid therapy. Packed red blood cell transfusions are preferential over whole blood transfusions to reduce the risk of a transfusion reaction occurring and to reduce the risk of fluid volume overload. 

When Percy first started being treated at Pride Veterinary Centre, he was very nervous around all the nurses and being in his kennel. The medicine nurse team have worked hard to build Percy’s confidence and to ensure that every time he comes to see us, he has a positive experience with lots of TLC and yummy chicken treats. We are so thrilled at how much Percy has come out of his shell and now he loves coming in for his rechecks, and getting to see his fan club. We think he is absolutely GORGEOUS!!