• Canine;
  • Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura;
  • Platelet;
  • Prednisone;
  • Vincristine

Background: Glucocorticoids with or without other immunotherapy are the initial treatment of choice for dogs with severe immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (IMT). The majority of treated dogs will have improvements in platelet counts within 5 to 7 days of starting therapy, but complications from hemorrhage often occur before a response is seen. Human IV immunoglobulin (hIVIG) blocks Fc receptors on mononuclear phagocytic cells in dogs; it is used in people with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura.

Hypothesis: The purpose of this study was to describe adverse effects and benefit of hIVIG in addition to conventional immunosuppressive therapy in dogs with severe IMT.

Animals: Five client-owned dogs with severe primary IMT.

Methods: Case series. The hospital database was searched for dogs with primary IMT treated with hIVIG.

Results: No adverse effects were noted during or after hIVIG infusion in any treated dog. Over a 6-month follow-up, all dogs were clinically normal when using conventional immunosuppressive therapy. Human IVIG was administered 3 days after initiation of immunosuppressive therapy in 4 dogs, and, after 2 days, in 1 dog. In all dogs, the mean platelet counts pre-and 24 hours post-hIVIG infusion (0.28–0.76 g/kg) were 2,500/μL and 50,600/μL (62,750/μL for the 4 responders), respectively. One dog failed to respond as promptly to hIVIG (0.34 g/kg), and the platelet count increased to 66,000/μL after 9 days of immunosuppressive therapy. The mean duration of hospitalization post-hIVIG in all 5 dogs was 1.8 days (12 hours for responders), and the mean total length of hospitalization was 4.6 days (3.5 days for responders). Active hemorrhage resolved and no packed red blood cell transfusions were required after hIVIG infusion for responders.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Human IVIG was well tolerated and appeared to be associated with rapid platelet count recovery and amelioration of clinical signs in most dogs with IMT.