"Immune Mediated Neutropenia in Dogs

"Immune Mediated Neutropenia in Dogs

Health & Safety

Fortunately, immune mediated neutropenia is quite a rare condition that affects dogs. The disorder is known to be an immune mediated haematogical disease and it occurs because dogs don't have the correct levels of essential neutrophils circulating in their systems. Studies have established that immune mediated neutropenia appears to affect a certain breed more than others, but why remains a bit of a mystery and more research is needed to understand why this is so.

Breed Most Affected

As previously mentioned, studies have shown that immune mediated neutropenia appears to affect one breed of dog more than others which is as follows:

  • Giant Schnauzer

With this said, it is usually younger adult dogs and females that are the most at risk of developing the condition although, it is worth noting that there have been reports of Miniature Schnauzers developing immune mediated neutropenia when they are found to suffer from splenomegaly. However, any breed can develop the condition although fortunately it is very rare.

The Causes

Immune mediated neutropenia typically occurs in dogs when they have suffered from a severe inflammation of some sort, whether it is non-infectious or infectious. The all-important neutrophils in a dog's system are negatively impacted and this could be for the following reasons:

  • The destruction of neutrophils by a dog's own immune system
  • Not enough neutrophils are being produced in a dog's bone marrow
  • The neutrophils do not circulate where they should

When the condition is primary, studies suggest that the disorder accounts for a very small percentage of dogs suffering from immune mediated neutropenia. However, when it is found to be secondary immune mediated neutropenia, research has shown that dogs develop the condition when they suffer from the following disorders:

  • Hypoadrenocorticism
  • Having a reaction to certain medication and drugs
  • Neoplasia
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC)
  • Tick bites

Symptoms Associated with the Condition

When dogs suffer from immune mediated neutropenia whether it's a primary or secondary health issue, there are certain symptoms associated with the condition which are as follows:

  • Anorexia
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Problems breathing
  • Sepsis

When dogs develop the condition, they often develop thrombocytopenia and lymphopenia too and studies suggest this is because their immune systems and antibodies are attacking their own systems.

Diagnosing the Condition

A vet would ideally need to have a dog's full medical history and be told how the onset of any symptoms first presented themselves. The vet would thoroughly examine a dog suspected of suffering from immune mediated neutropenia and would typically recommend carrying out the following test which help confirm a diagnosis:

  • A complete blood count
  • A full biochemistry profile
  • A urinalysis
  • A bone marrow biopsy

The vet would want to rule out other causes which includes whether a dog has had a reaction to a drug or medication they have been given and to establish whether the problem could be a tick related disease.

Treatment Options

When it comes to treating a dog suffering from immune mediated neutropenia, a vet would typically prescribe broad spectrum antimocrobial drugs to help fight off infections and to help resolve any underlying infection that may be causing the problem. The sooner a treatment plan is set in place the better. The reason being that if any complications in the form of severe infections take hold, a dog’s condition is that much harder to treat.

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