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Use of human immunoglobulin in addition to glucocorticoids for the initial treatment of dogs with immune-mediated hemolytic anemia


  • The study was conducted at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. The study was supported by a grant from The Barry and Savannah French-Poodle Memorial Fund.

  • The authors report no financial conflicts of interest.

  • Dr. Chan's current address: The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, UK.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Susan M. Cotter, Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, 200 Westboro Road, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA. Email:


Objective – To determine the utility of human intravenous immunoglobulin (hIVIG) for the initial treatment of canine immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA).

Design – Blinded, randomized, clinical trial.

Setting – Veterinary teaching hospital.

Animals – Twenty-eight, client-owned dogs with primary IMHA.

Interventions – At enrollment, after diagnosis of IMHA, dogs were randomly assigned to receive either hIVIG or placebo, in a blinded fashion. For the next 14 days, all dogs received glucocorticoids as the sole immunosuppressant agent. All dogs received low-molecular-weight heparin as an anticoagulant. D-dimer concentrations were evaluated at the beginning and end of the study protocol to monitor for thromboembolic complications.

Measurements and Main Results – Twenty-five of 28 dogs (89%) were discharged from the hospital. Thirteen of those received hIVIG and 12 received placebo. Twenty-four dogs (86%) were alive 14 days after enrollment, and of these 13 received hIVIG and 11 received placebo. D-dimer concentrations were elevated in 86% of all dogs at the time of diagnosis.

Conclusions – For initial treatment of dogs with IMHA, the addition of hIVIG to corticosteroid treatment did not improve initial response, nor did it shorten hospitalization.