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The use of the rapid osmotic fragility test as an additional test to diagnose canine immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia

  • Paes, Geert
  • Paepe, Dominique
  • Meyer, Evelyne
  • Kristensen, Annemarie T
  • Duchateau, Luc
  • Campos, Miguel
  • Daminet, Sylvie
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2013
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Background: Diagnosing canine immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia (IMHA) is often challenging because all currently available tests have their limitations. Dogs with IMHA often have an increased erythrocyte osmotic fragility (OF), a characteristic that is sometimes used in the diagnosis of IMHA. Since the classic osmotic fragility test (COFT) is time-consuming and requires specialized equipment, an easy and less labour-intensive rapid osmotic fragility test (ROFT) has been used in some countries, but its diagnostic value has not yet been investigated. This study aimed to evaluate erythrocyte osmotic fragility in dogs with and without IMHA, to compare results of the classic (COFT) and rapid (ROFT) test and to assess the value of the ROFT as diagnostic test for canine IMHA. Nineteen dogs with IMHA (group 1a), 21 anaemic dogs without IMHA (group 1b), 8 dogs with microcytosis (group 2), 13 hyperlipemic dogs (group 3), 10 dogs with lymphoma (group 4), 8 dogs with an infection (group 5) and 13 healthy dogs (group 6) were included. In all dogs, blood smear examination, in-saline auto-agglutination test, Coombs' test, COFT and ROFT were performed. In the COFT, OF5, OF50 and OF90 were defined as the NaCl concentrations at which respectively 5, 50 and 90% of erythrocytes were haemolysed. Results: Compared with healthy dogs, OF5 and OF50 were significantly higher in group 1a (P < 0.001) and OF5 was significantly higher in group 3 (P = 0.0266). The ROFT was positive in 17 dogs with IMHA, 10 hyperlipemic dogs, one anaemic dog without IMHA and one healthy dog. Conclusions: Osmotic fragility was increased in the majority of dogs with IMHA and in dogs with hyperlipidemia, but not in dogs with microcytosis, lymphoma or an infection. Although more detailed information was obtained about the osmotic fragility by using the COFT, the COFT and ROFT gave similar results. The ROFT does not require specialized equipment, is rapid and easy to perform and can be used easily in daily practice. Although, the ROFT cannot replace other diagnostic tests, it may be a valuable additional tool to diagnose canine IMHA.

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