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Keywords:

  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia;
  • Canine;
  • Prospective comparative therapeutic study

Cyclophosphamide is commonly used with prednisone in the initial treatment of severe idiopathic immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) in dogs because retrospective reports suggest its benefit. This randomized controlled prospective clinical trial evaluated whether combined cyclophosphamide and prednisone therapy is more efficacious than prednisone therapy alone in the initial treatment of IMHA. Eighteen dogs with acute, severe idiopathic IMHA were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 treatment groups. The P group received prednisone therapy alone (1–2 mg/kg PO q12h), and the PC group received prednisone (1–2 mg/kg PO q12h) and cyclophosphamide (50 mg/m2 PO q24h for 4 consecutive days a week) for 4 weeks. The mortality rate in the P group was 20% (2 of 10), and in the PC group, the mortality rate was 38% (3 of 8). There was no difference in sequential CBC evaluations between the 2 groups. However, whereas dogs in the P group showed increases in reticulocyte count, reticulocytosis was suppressed in dogs in the PC group during the 1st week of therapy. Spherocytosis resolved more quickly in the P group (day 21) than in the PC group (day 28), but the time taken to achieve a negative Coombs' test result was comparable between groups. No difference was observed in the volume of packed red blood cells (pRBCs) given per transfusion between treatment groups, but more dogs in the PC group required a 2nd transfusion. The results of this limited study suggest that cyclophosphamide plus prednisone has no benefit over prednisone alone in the initial treatment of acute, severe idiopathic IMHA in dogs.