DENVER/May 1, 2023 – When Allen and Barbara Dearry detected a sudden lack of energy in their 3-year-old whippet, Clark, little did they know they would spend the next year treating an uncommon but serious disease in dogs – immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA).
Over that time, they learned much about the disease, but also learned that research into IMHA was lacking. The couple decided to take action and started Clark's IMHA Journey Fundraiser benefiting research at Morris Animal Foundation, with the goal of raising $150,000 to advance the study of the disease.
“There is so much we don't understand about IMHA,” said Allen Dearry. “We don't have good early diagnostic tests, there are no targeted therapies – we don't know why it happens or what can trigger the disease. We need more answers to all these important questions, and that's what we hope to achieve with this fundraising effort.”
IMHA is characterized by the destruction of red blood cells by the body's own immune system, and survival statistics are grim. Mortality rates for dogs with IMHA range between 50% and 75%, with many dogs dying in the first few weeks after diagnosis.
For the survivors, treatment with immunosuppressive drugs is needed for months and sometimes years after diagnosis, and side effects are common. A specific cause of IMHA can’t be identified in most cases, although drug administration, vaccination and certain infectious agents have been proposed as potential triggers.
Clark was diagnosed in early 2022 with IMHA and his owners are hopeful that, after a year of medication and regular blood sampling, Clark will be one of the lucky dogs that fully recovers and lives a lively, happy whippet life. But the Dearrys are not spared the worry of relapse and hope much-needed research into IMHA will help dogs and dog owners everywhere have lives free of this uncommon but deadly disease.
To make a donation in support of this research, visit Clark's IMHA Journey Fundraiser
About Morris Animal Foundation
Morris Animal Foundation's mission is to bridge science and resources to advance the health of animals. Founded in 1948 and headquartered in Denver, it is one of the largest nonprofit animal health research organizations in the world, funding more than $149 million in nearly 3,000 critical studies across a broad range of species. Learn more at morrisanimalfoundation.org.
Media Contact: Annie Mehl