Vaccine-associated immune-mediated hemolytic anemia in the dog

J Vet Intern Med. 1996 Sep-Oct;10(5):290-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.1996.tb02064.x.


Vaccination has been incriminated as a trigger of immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) in dogs and in people, but evidence to support this association is lacking. In a controlled retrospective study, idiopathic IMHA was identified in 58 dogs over a 27-month period. When compared with a randomly selected control group of 70 dogs (presented for reasons other than IMHA) over the same period, the distribution of cases versus time since vaccination was different (P < .05). Fifteen of the dogs (26%) had been vaccinated within 1 month (mean, 13 days; median, 14 days; range, 1 to 27 days) of developing IMHA (P < .0001), whereas in the control group no marked increase in frequency of presentation was seen in the first month after vaccination. The dogs with IMHA were divided into 2 groups based on time since vaccination: the vaccine IMHA group included dogs vaccinated within 1 month of developing IMHA; the nonvaccine IMHA group included dogs that developed IMHA more than 1 month after vaccination. The recently vaccinated dogs with IMHA (vaccine IMHA group) had significantly lower platelet counts (P < .05) and a trend towards increased prevalence of intravascular hemolysis and autoagglutination when compared with the nonvaccine IMHA group. Similar mortality rates were seen in teh vaccine IMHA group (60%) and the nonvaccine IMHA group (44%), with the majority of fatalities (> 75%) occurring in the first 3 weeks after presentation. Persistent autoagglutination was a negative prognostic indicator for survival in both groups (P < .05). Presence of icterus and hyperbilirubinemia were negative prognostic indicators for survival in the nonvaccine IMHA group (P < .0001 and P < .01, respectively) but not in the vaccine IMHA group. In the recently vaccinated dogs, combination vaccines from various manufacturers against canine distemper, adenovirus type 2, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus (DHLPP) were involved in each case. Vaccines against rabies virus, Bordetella spp, coronavirus, and Lyme Borrelia were administrated concomitantly to some dogs. This study provides the first clinical evidence for a temporal relationship of vaccine-associated IMHA in the dog.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Hemolytic / immunology
  • Anemia, Hemolytic / mortality
  • Anemia, Hemolytic / veterinary*
  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases*
  • Dogs
  • Erythrocyte Count
  • Hematocrit
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Medical Records
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seasons
  • Survival Rate
  • Vaccination / adverse effects
  • Vaccination / mortality
  • Vaccination / veterinary*