In its first year of operation, the CSHF decided to support a study on primary (not triggered by another illness) IMHA in Spaniels being conducted in England at the Centre for Integrated Genomic Medical Research of the University of Manchester (CIGMR). Our committment is to provide funding and DNA.
Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) is a potentially life threatening condition. IMHA is an attack by the body's own immune system against its erythrocytes (red blood cells), causing a profound anemia. The destruction of the erythrocytes leads to a failure in their ability to transport oxygen to the tissues of the body, and can cause death.
While several triggers can precipitate IMHA in susceptible dogs (viral infections, inflammatory conditions, drug reactions (especially sulfa drugs), parasites, pregnancy and possibly vaccine reactions), the fact that this condition is over represented in certain breeds, such as in Cocker Spaniels, and Clumbers, and the fact that familial clustering of IMHA is also sometimes observed in pedigrees, leads to believe there is a genetic component to the disease.
The CIGMR has already discovered an Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) association between DLA class II alleles and haplotypes in Cockers and English Springers affected by IMHA. To help it in its research, the American Kennel Club's Canine Health Foundation (CHF) has already provided the research team with funding to perform a whole genome screen on affected Cocker and Springer spaniels using Ilumina custom canine SNP arrays to search for other regions of the genome that could be associated with susceptibility to this important disease.
With the CSHF's financial support, as well as donation of DNA from affected Clumbers, direct non affected relatives, and non affected and non related Clumbers, the CIGMR can now investigate to see if the mechanism found in Cockers and Springers is also found in Clumbers.
The CSHF wishes to recognise the following Clumber owners who donated DNA to allow this project to go forward: Jim & Shirley Fankhauser, Janice Friis, Larry & Mary Mitchum, Betty Bauerle, Paula Minor, Lynn Moscarello & Randy Felts, DVM. Without those samples research on this horrific disease that kills too many of our Clumbers would simply be impossible.
Please read the the article on IMHA Treatment by L. Ari Jutkowitz, VMD, DACVECC, of Michigan State University.