Autoimmune diseases

debd18January 12, 2013

My sister's dog was just diagnosed with IMHA, an autoimmune disease. His blood is being monitored daily and the vet is giving him steroids, which are so far not stopping the plunge in red cells. The vet is increasing his dosage and has said there is another drug she can use if this doesn't work, but the cost is $600 per month.

I've been researching natural remedies and wondered whether anyone here has any experience with using Bio-Algae Concentrates for autoimmune disease. Many on the internet claim success with using it.

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Well, diet and supplements can do amazing things. I haven't done it for my dog but I do it for me. Would she do grain free for her dog? Sometimes that is all it takes, a tsp on coconut oil for fats, and yes a protein supplement which I am guessing the Bio Algae is. Why not try it. I will go that route with my pets, well, that is what I am doing with my pets now. I lost my last dog who had horrible arthritis and I wish I would have done the same for her but I didn't know how important the diet was.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 2:03PM
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I'm not sure what she is feeding right now. Unfortunately, I think he's far beyond being helped by going grain free, though, and would need something more drastic. His spleen is destroying his red cells and they are lower each day when the vet tests them.

Her vet doesn't want to add or change anything else at this crucial time because it would be hard to figure out what exactly was causing it if he had a reaction. She did say she would entertain trying something like Bio Algae once he's stable.

I was just hoping to find out all I could about it in the meantime. This disease is terrible and moves quickly. Dogs can go downhill and die from it pretty fast, so I thought it would be good to find out in advance if there was anything else to try if it looked like the steroids weren't going to help him. Thought maybe someone here had been through this before.

Thanks a lot for your input! I'm a big believer in natural remedies and have had some successes with them with my own dogs.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 3:10PM
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deb18, I have a dog that survived IMHA. I am afraid I don't have any experience with the Bio Algae but, but I can attest to the importance of good nutrition and no vaccs once they recover. I am sending lots of good thoughts your sister's way, I remember how stressful it was. I lucked out and caught it pretty early with my sharpei, but she spent close to a week in the ER vet. She is fully recovered but still has a very sensitive system.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 6:57PM
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Thanks ladybugfruit. I appreciate the good thoughts as it has been very stressful and expensive for them. It's good to hear of a dog that survived and I'm glad your dog has recovered.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 8:36PM
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your sister must have a large dog. Immuran and Cyclosporine are the two most commonly used drugs for canine IMHA (aside from pred). Both are more expensive than pred for sure, but one can give Ketoconazole along with the Cyclosporine to defray the cost some (cut it half, literally). Still, if a really big dog, it can be pricey. The hope is, however, not to keep your dog on it forever (hope.. not necessarily the case, though). Best to get started SOON though as these drugs do not act immediately, if your sister is going to follow up with further treatment.

Sorry, I have no clue about Bio Algae (isn't all algae, bio-algae?). IMHA is usually treated with chemicals that decrease the immune system's function, not increase it, so be careful that is indeed what Bio Algae does (your sister's dog as too active an immune system right now... you certainly do not want to activate it any more than it is already).

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 12:46AM
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Thanks lzddr. I passed along the info about the drug costs.

I'm a little confused myself about how you can build them up with Bio-Algae and not cause their immunities to work even harder against them. That's one reason I've been trying to find real people who've used it instead of just testimonials on the websites of those who sell it.

I found out there is a holistic vet not too far from my sister and I have a call in to him to see if he's familiar with it or has any other suggestions. I'm hoping to hear from him tomorrow. She won't do anything unless it's under a vet's supervision, but her dog seems to be sinking fast.

Thanks a lot for your help.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 4:03PM
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Hope the holistic vet is able to help and hope things turn around soon! Please keep us posted!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 8:37AM
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The holistic vet had the receptionist call and say we'd have to make an appointment to get any information. I had hoped he'd at least tell me on the phone whether he had anything to offer besides the traditional treatment he's already getting.

This morning he went for bloodwork and his red count was down to 11. He's at an emergency hospital right now getting a transfusion where he'll stay for the next 48 hours. If he comes through that ok, they're starting him on another medication, but I don't remember the name because I was driving when my sister told me on the phone.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 3:22PM
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Any updates deb18? Hoping your sister's dog is doing better.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 9:16AM
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He was in the ER from last Monday until last night with blood counts that were up and down. Finally, they began to stabilize and he came home last night with a red count of about 24. My sister has to take him back every day for the next week to get his blood checked, plus he's on steroids, another drug for the IMHA, and drugs to protect his stomach. So, things are looking more encouraging but he's not out of the woods yet. She said he's still pretty lethargic, but better than he was.

My sister ordered the bio-algae and the vet is going to look at the literature that came with it and consider adding it once she's sure he's stable.

Thanks for asking, ladybugfruit. My sister was encouraged when I told her your dog was sick enough to spend a week in the ER, but fully recovered. I hope her dog will be that lucky, too.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 10:54PM
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Thanks for the update! Here's hoping he continues to beat it!! On a side note, if your sister pursues the natural immune boosters after he is stable, might I suggest looking into medicinal mushrooms? There is a lot of documented evidence on their ability to aid the immune system...just be careful. My girl had IHMA when she was 2....she is now almost 12 and while otherwise very healthy, she still has a VERY sensitive system.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 7:47AM
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ladybugfruit, when you say "sensitive" do you mean the IMHA actually flairs up?

My sister wrote to the company that sells the Bio-Algae and asked them how their product could help IMHA dogs without being counter-productive to suppressing the immune system with drugs. They said it doesn't actually boost immunities, rather it balances the immune system with highly nutritious whole foods.

According to them, if a dog has a poorly functioning immune system whether it's under-performing or over-performing, the Bio-Algae is supposed to help them either way. I think she's still planning to wait for an ok from her vet to try it.

Good to hear that your dog has lived ten years after her diagnosis so far. I'm happy for you and encouraged for my sister's dog. He is six years old now.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 9:14AM
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Sorry to fas as I know, no it's not the IMHA...she is part sharpei, so that may also play a role. The places I noticed it was in her digestive tract...I have to be mindful about any changes in diet and as a matter of fact, she is on digestive enzymes which seems to help. Most of the time it is not a problem now though. Also, she developed allergic reactions. She was bit (we are guessing) by a spider a few years ago and she broke out into the most awful hives. We put her on benadryl for 3 days and when we didn't give her a dose before going to the vet ( yup, she was still reacting 3 days later) she puffed up again...she had to have a steroid injection to get her system to calm down. I am sure every dog is different, but these are some of the things I have dealt with since then.
Hope this helps and glad I could be encouraging. I know how scary it is!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 8:41AM
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Thanks for clearing that up. The dog still has a way to go to reach a normal red count, but it's gradually rising and his energy is slowly coming back. Yes, it has been very scary for them. Expensive, too!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 10:33PM
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Deb18 - would you please share how the dog did with transfusion? Did it's counts go back up? What did the vet think of bio algae? I am going through same right now with my dog. We had to leave her overnight for transfusions, steroids, and monitoring.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 10:58PM
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