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dog with low platelet count

Posted by prairie_love (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 11, 08 at 13:27

Does anyone know of causes for thrombocytopenia - low platelet counts - in dogs?

The dog in question is a seven and a half year old spayed female flat coated retriever. She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about four years ago (as was her sister). She has had several unresolved "issues" her whole life including bouts of low energy levels. She is allergic to corn and has been on a corn-free food for many years. We just recently (a couple of months ago) switched to a grain-free food (Wellness CORE reduced fat) and she has seemed to be thriving on that until a few days ago.

In January I took her in to have her teeth cleaned and the pre-anesthetic blood work showed very low platelet levels. The vet said there are two reasons she knows of for low platelets - rat poison or autoimmune disorders. She took another blood sample to test clotting times (for rat poison) and autoimmune markers. Both came back negative - that is, her clotting time was normal and none of the autoimmune markers showed up. The vet sent her home with plans to check her again at an undefined later date.

Yesterday evening I commented to DH that she seemed awfully quiet. He agreed. During the night, at 4:30 in the morning, she wanted to go out - unusual but not unheard of. I took her out (and the other two dogs as well) and she squatted multiple times to defecate. She had moved away from me and it was snowing and windy so I stayed on the patio - the point being that I could not tell if anything passed or not (I know, I feel like a bad mom for not knowing this - in retrospect). Eventually she scratched at the grass to cover up, so I assumed it was fine.

This morning she was very lethargic. She did not get up when DH went downstairs which is very unusual. She did not get up to get her morning thyroid pill - he fed it to her on her dog bed. She was slow to get up to eat breakfast although she did eventually do so, or at least most of it.

This all concerned me enough that I took her in to the vet. They just called and said that her platelets are again (or still) quite low. I do not know how low, I didn't ask at the moment. Previously they were significantly below normal, but not in the "critical" range.

She is not anemic, her RBC and WBC counts are normal.

The vet is still checking her out. I believe they did an x-ray to check for blockage, even though I don't really think that's the cause.

I have read that some of the tick-borne diseases can also cause thrombocytopenia, but usually have other abnormal labs as well. Even so, they are checking heartworm, Lyme disease, etc. today also. The vet does not think it is any of those because of the normal RBC.

Does anyone know of other causes of low platelet counts or do these vague symptoms ring any bells? I would be happy to hear of other things we can check out.

Thanks so much in advance,
Ann


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: dog with low platelet count

My dog was recently diagnosed with anaplasmosis, a tick-borne disease. It is currently latent, but one of the CBC indicators is a low platelet count, along with some of the symptoms you observed of lethargy, loss of appetite, etc. Good luck and let us know what happens.


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RE: dog with low platelet count

Erlichiosis or similar tic borne disease come to mind. Did the vet check for that? other causes could be lupus or bone marrow problems. Do you have a veterinary Internist in your area?


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Maybe thyroid med needs adjusting

Sorry i meant to add that maybe the dogs thyroid med needs adjusting as that can cause low platletes. If it were my dog I think I would look for an internist as they are usually ( not always) better at knowing exactly what to test for. Best of luck


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Hi, Ann. I've never posted here before, but I occasionally post on a couple of other forums. In fact, this is the first time I visited this site, but when I saw your post, I thought I'd reply. I have a pom that suffers from the same thing. She was diagnosed about 4 years ago - in fact, I almost lost her - when we caught it, her platelets were 24K, and they should be 200K - 400K. They ran several tests, but couldn't determine the cause. The only thought was that her vaccinations may have kicked it off, so it's been recommended that I never vaccinate her again. I've lived in two different places since the original diagnosis was made, and my other vets have agreed. She was initially treated with prednisone for about 1.5 years, then it stopped working. Pred isn't good for long-term, anyway, as it can damage their organs. She is now on Atopica. It's not cheap, but she's done well on it. Initially, she had to take it twice a day, and after her count was in the above normal range, we started weaning her down to twice a week. She's been at this level for the last year, and has done beautifully. My vet here no longer carries it, but she gave me a prescription to order it through an on-line company, which saves a little money. You may want to ask your vet about it. The bad thing about this disease is that there are really no symptoms, so they must stay on a maintenance program, but it can be controlled. I hope things work out for you. I'll try to check in tomorrow, just in case you have questions. I've gotten to be an old hand at this!


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Having had problems (at least three different that almost took my dog because of it) I will just throw in a few.

In general my opinion of the veterinary profession is not good. I do love my current vet of about 4 years, but it was a very long time coming after about 16 years, tons of money, tons of frustration and tons of anger because of mis-diagnosing, along with pure stupidity.

I do realize that your vet seems to be trying to find out what the problem is, but to me this seems to be going to the extreme. It seems to me that the problem should have been narrowed down long ago. I'm not saying that is always the case, I'm just saying that it seems like your vet is poking around trying to find out what is going on, when a proper diagnosis should have been made long ago.

I did learn valuable lessons when dealing with a dog that had numerous serious health issues, she lived to be 14 because of it.

I always put a time limit of medications. I want to know a date when I should start to see positive results. If I don't I want to know why. My experience was if things are not improving by that date, ask the vet why, and if vet doesnt know why and want's to switch meds, he/she probably does not know what is going on.

I have also discovered that if a diagnosis and testing is being switched, something is probably being missed by the vet.

I also question everything about meds and conditions and consult other vets. This has saved me so much time, money and frustration.
I'm not saying that this is the case in your situation, I'm just saying that is what my experience has been.

Good luck!

SG


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I hope Meghane weigns in here.

I agree with SG. It is unacceptable to plod along with a vet that at his or her best scratches his or her head. Go to a specialist, especially since dogs are stoic and feel much worse than they let on.

Be sure to get copies of all the tests you've run from your vet!


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Thanks for the responses.

Here is an update. Yesterday's tests showed the following:
Ehrlichiosis, Lyme Disease, heartworm - all negative
Platelets down to a critical and frightening 2000 (normal is 150,000 -400,000)
Monocytes are now elevated

There are two reasons that the platelets are so low - either they are not being made or they are being destroyed by the dog's own body. This basically tells us that it is either an immune-mediated process that is destroying the platelets, or a cancer that is preventing them from being made (lymphoma).

We were given several options. To determine if it is a synthesis problem we would need to do a bone marrow sampling. This is not something our vet is willing to do given her extreme depletion of platelets. We would have to go to the University of Minnesota (5+ hours). We could try prednisone - if the platelets pick up, it implies that it was immune-mediated and we go from there. The problem is that if it is a lymphoma and we have used prednisone, we have made the problem worse. Also she suggested doxycycline - this would treat any fungal disease that we had not been able to detect.

We chose to go the prednisone route. I am certain that some of you will criticize this choice but to us it is the best option. If she has lymphoma, it is very unilkely that we would choose to put her through chemotherapy. I have done some reading and do not feel that it is something I want to do to her.

I also looked up "thrombocytopenia + monocytosis" and one of the interesting things I found was Babesiosis. Has anyone had experience with this? Perhaps I am grasping at straws, but it does seem to fit the course of her illnesses - it is cyclic, it causes low platelets and high monocytes, it should cause anemia as well but that can be borderline, it can cause an enlarged spleen (an abdominal xray was inconclusive but may show an enlarged spleen). The problem is that treatment of babesiosis is not straightforward either. It is apparently not a common illness but I wonder if it might be more common than we realize because it is difficult to test for.

The good news is that she is clearly feeling better. Even last night she started perking up a bit and this morning she is quite a lot better. Still not her normal self, but better. And she is eating and drinking. She will get her platelets re-tested on Wednesday.

naturegurl I looked up anasplasmosis - I think she should be anemic as well, shoudn't she?

cindyxeus We did re-test for ehrlichiosis and lyme disease yesterday and both were negative. I was also thinking ehrlichiosis. As for an internist - we do not have specialists here of any sort! Small town... Thyroid meds - I did not know hypothyroidism can cause thrombocytopenia, I will ask about that.

bkintx Interesting, thank you for sharing about your dog. If the prednisone helps, I will definitely ask about the Atopica. I hate the idea of her being on steroids long term but if it works then so be it.

SG and Elly I understand your point of view but I have to leap to my vet's defense. You are reading about this from hindsight which as we all know is much better than foresight. If anyone is at fault for this going on for this long it is me, not my vet. How can she solve a problem if I have never told her how much of a problem it is? When I tell her something as vague as "sometimes the dog is really subdued then the next day she is fine", how does she know there is a serious problem? How can she put it all together if I don't give her all the information she needs? A vet sees only a snapshot in time, she does not see how the dog was acting a week ago or two weeks ago or three months ago. As for myself, again hindsight is 20-20. If I knew then what I know now, I would have insisted that more tests be run. But I didn't and I am not going to kick myself for it. I have made choices that I believe are best for the dog and with the knowledge I had at the time. I find it very upsetting that people are so willing to blame the vet (or doctor) in a situation like this.

At this point, I am completely comfortable with our vet's approach. As a scientist, I appreciate a logical approach, which is what she has taken. Furthermore, she has been in consultation with a colleague in Seattle, boosting my confidence that she is seeking the answer as hard as possible. She is not afraid to refer us to another vet when she knows she cannot take care of the situation (for example the bone marrow biopsy). And she works with me. I will call with questions I have from my own research and she listens and is willing to learn if it is something new. And as I said before, specialists are not an option here. Yes, I could go to Minneapolis. At this time I don't feel that is necessary but I will do so if need be. And I do get copies of tests.

Perhaps we should have retested the platelets sooner. That is my fault, not hers. I did not do take her back in quickly as I could/should have. The dog did not seem in any way ill, and she was going to be tested again soon anyway. My fault, not the vet's.


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RE: Anaplasma

naturegurl Further research has shown me that species of Anaplasma used to be in the genus Ehrlichia - in other words they are very closely related. The more I read about these, the more I think they sound like my dog. I forgot to say that the vet and her colleague also wanted to start her on the doxycycline because of the possibility that she is infected with a strain that is not detected by the kit they use. I am probably grasping at straws again, but I am hoping this might be the case.


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I'm not a vet but if it were my dog I would add the doxy to her treatment. In the vet's office they use a Snap 4D test for heartworm and a few tick borne diseases. It's a quick screen and I don't think it's highly sensitive. There is a more sensitive test, some folks on the forum have discussed that accepts blood samples for testing. I think it's somewhere in NC, but don't quote me on that...

Good luck! I hope your precious baby gets better soon!


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Yes, of course, best of luck!! Please keep us posted.


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Aw, I hate thrombocytopenia. My first Rottie died of it, or possibly the adverse effects of the prednisone. Back then, they used much higher doses of pred than they do now, so he had major problems after about a month of treatment- heart failure, kidney failure, and some type of neurologic disease.

Anyway, immune-mediated disease can also be controlled with other immunosuppressives, such as cyclosporin and azathiorpine, neither of which were available when Kang was sick. Both of those medications take some time (up to 4 weeks) to start working, so many vets put dogs on both pred and either azathioprine and cyclosporin, then can start tapering down the pred sooner.

As far as the cause, cancer (besides lymphoma) is a possibility due to paraneoplastic syndrome, which is basically a situation where cancer causes the body to get confused and attack itself. Any cancer that ends up in the bone marrow can cause thrombocytopenia, but you'd expect to see neutropenia first since those cells have a shorter lifespan. So I doubt a bone marrow aspirate would help much in your case.

Naturgurl mentioned more tick-born disease testing and I'd agree. The vet can send serum and whole blood to NC State Vet School Vector Born disease lab for more information. However it takes 2-4 weeks to get all of the results. I am not very familiar what tick born diseases are common in ND; here we have all of them, so I don't know if that is what your vet didn't start doxy.

Unfortunately the most common cause of thrombocytopenia is idiopathic; we don't know the cause. This is most common in 2-6 year old female dogs. Usually when it is not that signalment, we worry about cancer lurking somewhere more. But I've seen older dogs with thrombocytopenia not have cancer and get better with treatment.

I don't think that with a platelet count of 2000 (Kang had almost 4000) that the infectious tick born diseases are very likely. They just don't cause that severe thrombocytopenia. Immune-mediated disease could certainly do it, as could paraneoplastic syndrome. In your situation, I'd do the exact same thing- start treating for immune-mediated disease with immunosuppression (prednisone +/- azathioprine or cyclosporin) and cover for tick born diseases just in case no matter how unlikely. A shot of vincristine (a chemotherapy drug) may help get more platelets out of the bone marrow.

For the CBC, was there any mention of large platelets or any other signs of regeneration? I hope so.

I hope your dog does well and recovers completely.


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Oh, sorry, I left that out - we did start her on doxycycline as well as prednisone. Which I presume would preclude testing at the NC State lab? Do they test for antigen, antibody, or do PCR? Unless they are doing Ab I assume that once we've started treatment we can't do the test?

Meghane, sorry about Kang, it is so hard when these pups are sick and we can't fix the problem.

What do you consider high dose prednisone? She is a 65-pound dog, and she is taking 60 mg twice a day. That seems very high to me, compared to my mother's 5 mg/day! If she shows a response, I will ask about the other immunosuppressives.

She will be re-tested for platelets on Wednesday. If they are increased, we will go from there. If they are not, I'm not sure...

She showed improvement over the weekend, becoming more active and interested in her surroundings, although not her normal self. However, this morning she is extremely lethargic again. I talked to the vet, we decided to still wait until Wed to re-test. She warned us though that Chinook might not last till then. However, since we have decided that we will not do chemo, there really isn't another option. Either she will respond to the prednisone or she won't. If she doesn't, she has cancer.

There are a couple of reasons that I am really thinking cancer now. One is the lethargy - Meghane, I don't think thrombocytopenia in and of itself should cause lethargy, should it? Her RBC, hemoglobin, and hematocrit are fine. So why the lethargy? Second, she is a flat-coated retriever, they are a breed that has a high cancer incidence.

She did not mention large platelets - in fact, she said that she could not find a platelet anywhere in the field, which made me wonder how they even came up with a count of 2000.

FWIW, for those who feel the vet is not doing her job, not only does Meghane agree with the approach, a very good physician friend also agrees. A key is whether or not we would do chemotherapy and it is unlikely that we would do so. We would have to feel there is a VERY good chance for recovery before putting our pup through that. That is a very difficult and individual decision, but that is where we are.

Thanks for the well wishes, I'm afraid I am not optimistic today though.


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Hi prarie, I'm sorry today is not going well.

You're right that thrombocytopenia shouldn't cause lethargy directly. There are some things to consider though. Thrombocytopenia that severe can result in spontaneous bleeding, which usually goes into a body cavity such as the chest or abdomen. If she's bleeding into her chest, it will make it difficult for her to get enough oxygen especially when moving around, so she'll stop moving around. If it gets bad enough she may start panting or really having trouble breathing. The same would happen if she was bleeding into her pericardium (sac around the heart). If she's bleeding into her abdomen she may feel and look bloated and may not want to walk around much.

Another possibility is that her body could be attacking her red blood cells now too. I've seen that happen in immune-mediated and paraneoplastic diseases, where one cell line goes, then the next, then the next, etc. If she loses enough red blood cells to be anemic, then she will again have trouble getting enough oxygen and won't want to move around. You may notice that if she lost enough red blood cells either through destruction or bleeding that her gums would be pale. The RBC count can take some time to decrease, especially in a sudden bleeding incident.

Unfortunately cancer doesn't follow many rules about how it responds to things. My second rottie B'Elanna had paraneoplastic syndrome with immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, a very similar condition. We thought she just had IMHA until her stomach literally fell apart. She responded to treatment (she was on prednisolone, azathioprine, doxycycline, and azithromycin for suspected Bartonella infection) slowly for about a month, then just crashed and burned. We thought it was a perforated ulcer due to the pred, but the surgeon said her whole stomach was very friable, and biopsy results which came up a week after she died said she had cancer. We tried to get her stomach back together, but she had post-surgery complications (pulmonary thromboembolism, probably stomach fell apart again), so I had to euthanize her.

I hate to be gloom and doom, so stick by for one more story about not giving up too soon. One on of my first clinical rotations, I got a 12 year old Australian Shepherd who had been treated for IMHA for a month and she was losing the battle. The referring DVM sent her to school because she was having trouble getting a bone marrow aspirate. We told the Dad that since she had been treated correctly (pred and doxy) and was getting worse, and that she was older that her prognosis was very poor, but we'd try. Our bone marrow aspirate wasn't helpful- didn't show any cancer but also didn't show another reason for her to be anemic. We bumped up her pred a little bit and added azathioprine and sent her home. I just happened to run into Dad just last month. The dog is doing awesome! She was really slow to respond and the owner was pretty frustrated by the side effects of pred, especially the increased urination, but eventually she completely recovered. The owners got an Aussie puppy when they thought Sadie was dying, and she is playing with the puppy just as long as the puppy wants to play.

It all depends on the cause of thrombocytopenia. She's a little older than what you typically see for idiopathic thrombocytopenia but so was Sadie. And I know plenty of other surprises, both good and bad. So I wouldn't make any permanent decisions based on Wednesday's results- it may be too soon for her. Of course if she starts feeling horrible and having complications you may be forced into a decision sooner. But as long as she feels OK and there aren't any obvious signs of cancer from chest X-rays and abdominal ultrasound, then I'd keep trying to treat her. Lots of times things work out better than with my own dogs.

Please keep us posted. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. We are all pulling for Chinook.


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Thank you all for the well wishes and information, and thank you for answering my questions Meghane.

Unfortunately she didn't make it. She started bleeding during the night - your first paragraph described her exactly Meghane. We let her go peacefully this morning.

The vet is very sure it was due to cancer and, a point I forgot to mention, flat coats are particularly vulnerable to cancer. An abdominal xray a few days ago did show a potential mass.

It's so easy to second guess and say "what if we had rechecked platelets earlier" or "what if we had done more imaging". But we comfort ourselves in knowing that we would not have chosen chemotherapy for a cancer such as this. So perhaps its better this way, she was lively and happy until five days ago and we were oblivious to the fact we were going to lose her soon.

To quote what many flat coat owners before us have said "I hate that d**n cancer".

And to quote what a flat coat owner said to me seven years ago when hers died of cancer at too young an age "The brightest flames burn out the fastest". We always thought Chinook was the brightest flame.

Thank you all.

Ann


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Chinook at Christmas

Chinook


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She's absolutely beautiful. I am so sorry. Cancer s*cks.


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((((Ann))), I am so very sorry for your loss. Godspeed Chinook.


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Oh, prarie love I am so sorry it ended this way. You did everything right, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Chinook was very beautiful. My heart goes out to you as you try to get through this difficult time.


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Thank you all for your condolences. There is a huge hole in our lives and our hearts. We were so lucky to have this beautiful girl in our lives.

Ann


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My heart is breaking as I read this thread - I took Claire, 1 of my 3 dalmatians, to the ER around 9pm last night for a wound near her eye that I couldn't get to stop bleeding. A couple of hours later, I am told that her platelet count is only 12000. They immediately ran through an entire series of tests, and it looks as though it may be IMT. She never showed any signs of lethargy or poor appetite. She has always been healthy, vibrant, and loving. Tonight she was panting a great deal after going for a walk, and never quite stopped. I assumed it was because the wound near her eye was hurting, and I wasn't about to wait until after the holiday weekend. Now, I am faced with the question, "If she goes in to cardiac arrest, do you want us to resuscitate her?" It's now 6am, and I can't sleep at all. My husband and I have no children, we're 30-somethings who have devoted our lives to our four-legged kids. 3 weeks ago, I lost a pet that I have had for 19 years - now, I just feel utterly defeated. Claire is my baby - she is only 5, and I can't believe that I may lose her despite any effort I make to save her. It stinks, and I am absolutely heartbroken. If you have ANY words of encouragement, or other stories of successful managment of this condition - I would GREATLY appreciate it. Please say a little prayer for "claire bear".


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I am so sorry, mistyeyed. I can't answer your question about if she goes into cardiac arrest. I can say that if she has IMT (I assume that is immune-mediated thrombocytosis?) then it is a different situation than my Chinook was in. Have you talked to the vet about what happens if they can get Claire stabilized? If she gets through this crisis, can she be maintained on steroids? I think that determines a lot about what to do, if they have hope for a good treatment, then do everything you can to get her through the crisis.

I understand your pain only too well. We also have no children and treat our dogs as our kids. Losing Chinook has been extraordinarily difficult. We'll be keeping everything crossed for Claire and a better outcome for her.


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Thank you so much - it was so nice of you to respond.We just came back home from the vet.They let her come home last night after she responded well to the steroid meds. (Her platelet cnt up was up to 21) However, we had to take her back this afternoon after she started vomiting and respirating droplets of blood from her nose. (She has very bad anxiety, and I believe they only let her come home because they thought the decrease in her stress level would serve her better.) All indications are pointing to some sort of internal bleeding, but her lab results did not reflect anything too alarming - yet. They are keeping her isolated through the weekend, and we are praying she will begin to recover. The plan was to treat with the steroids, and another drug to supress her immune system from attacking the new platelets. They are optomistic, but they made no hesitation in letting us know that she could pass anytime. She is as strong as an ox - so we are hoping her body can keep it up. I am not an optimistic person when it comes to things like this, but I am trying as hard as I can right now. I just wish I could be there with her.


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Claire continued to vomit blood this afternoon. She was given a blood transfusion, and a couple of hours later she passed away. I can't believe how quickly she was taken from us...thank you for your encouragement.


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I am so sorry. The internal bleeding is just like our Chinook. I know the pain you are in now and I am just so sorry. It is so very hard to lose our beloved babies under any circumstances, but I found the suddenness and unexpectedness of this made it even harder. I'm sorry you have to go through it also.

Ann


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It was really hard to wake up this morning, and not have her there next to me. I think God knew my pain, and that's why I was allowed to have one more night with her at home. She also took the chance to chase one more squirell - though she wasn't as fast as she was the day before. It was just so incredibly sudden, which I suppose was another blessing. I have had lots of pets, and I have lost just as many. But never before have I had such a deep, personal connection with an animal who I know felt the same way about me. We are having her cremated, and we should get her home within the week. Thank you so much for allowing me to have an outlet to express my concerns and my sorrow. I love my li'l claire bear - and I always will. I am sure I will see her again. I know you will see Chinook, too. Perhaps, they will even have a future playdate....God bless them both.


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I remember posting to this subject back in April...anyway I came over to the board to see this was brought back for discussion and most ironically my sister just lost her 10 year old boxer to this last week. In her case her dog had just had it's 3 year vaccines so they just thought he was feeling a little off from that. He wasn't showing any seriousness just "off" but still playful. Within 24 hours he started bleeding out from the gums and it was pretty bad. He had developed tiny pinwholes all over his gums. They tried everything to get his platletes up but to no avail. He started seizing and they had to put him down. All the tests came back negative and nothing showed in xrays and ultrasounds of the body but they think in his case he had a brain tumor. The whole situation happened so fast my sister is still in shock.


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mistyeyed I know, I'm sorry. I agree with you, as hard as the suddenness is on us -- it's probably better for them. It would have been terribly hard to see either one of our girls suffering for long. Hang in there, I know you're hurting, but it will become more bearable over time.

cindyxeus So sorry to hear of your sister's boxer. Again, such a sudden loss, it IS a shock. It makes the loss so much harder because of the trauma.

I don't know if it's just because I am aware of thrombocytopenia now, but it sure seems that I am hearing of a lot of cases recently. Our neighbor's dog was in the hospital just two weeks ago - fortunately for them, she recovered.


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I am glad to hear that at least one has recovered - I was wondering if it were even possible. It's a horrible condition, and I hope they are able to make advances to prevent others from the same fate. I've never been so dependent on an animal for emotional support...my husband is a police officer, so he works alot. Claire and I just had this really great bond, and now that it's broken..I just don't know....only time will tell. Thank you so much for providing an ear. I bought the book, "Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates". It is helping - but a book can't nuzzle up to you or lick your chin. We should be able to pick up her ashes this week, maybe then I will be able to move on.

-Misty S.


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We just put my dog down for this exact same thing today...I am at a loss for words. I truly feel like this has been the most difficult decision I have ever made. She was lethargic, didn't want to eat, and wanted to stay in her kennel and not be bothered. So after 4 days in the hospital,1600.00 dollars later they sent us home with 5 medications to give her twice a day. When she seemed to not being getting any better, we decided it was best to put her down than have her suffer. She was a 12 year old beagle and was honestly the sweetest dog ever from day one. I felt when we put her down I would feel a sense of peace and to be honest that was the last thing I felt. We chose to have her cremated also and then we will bury her in the backyard, hopefully this will bring some closure........ It was good to read these posts and have someone to relate to that knows what you are feeling. Thanks for letting me grieve on here.
Until we meet again, Sammy we love you!


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As I read this , I cant help but feel scared. I have an 11 year old Amstaff, who is going through this type of treatment. On Monday July 9th I notice Jurni had what looked like an absess tooth( it was bleeding and woudn't clot), I called the vet to see what what she needed. They took blood work and a urine spec from her. I made an appt to remove her 2 of her teeth.
Later that eve i recieved a mess from my vet that Jurni's platelets were very low(23) and that if I noticed any bruising or more pin dots in her mouth to call the emerg and bring her in . So needless to say , I checked her over and found what they had described, My husband and I rushed her back to the vets , were they administered 10.5 cc of Dexamethasone. they then explainned that she has the chance of Bleeding out and that hopefully we caught it in time.The next morning they gave her another 10.5 cc of Dex and also sent us home with oral prednisone. I have to give her 1/2 a tab twice a day as well with her Cephalexin. I have been checking her over and have not noticed any other marks, nor bleeding. she so far is regainning her colour and still is eating and drinking. I wouldnt have know this was occuring if it hadn't been for those pre screening blood work for her teeth( which has now been cancelled) she is still active and normal personality. Even though Im trying to keep her relaxed.

I have read the forum and have taken notes for my vet , I am now a wee bit leary of the predisone, If this is cancer.
I have a follow up on the 16th more blood , abdominal xray , also an ultra sound. I also am going to see about other meds posted on this forum.

she had her vaccines on june 6 th and on one of the forums I read that they may cause this type of condition. My vet when asked said that she couldnt rule it out , but even if so , we are doing the right steps to try and rectify this . Any other thoughts would be appreciated . Thanks Jurni's mom Mandy .


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RE: dog with low platelet count

lyndsay dream - I am so sorry that you went through this. I was lucky in that I did not have to make that decision; God made it for me. I miss Claire so very much, but I found a website that has been instrumental in helping me cope with losing her. This is a link to Claire's page:

http://RainbowsBridge.com/residents/CLAIR002/Resident.htm

If you ever need someone to talk to - I will be here.

Mandy - I will keep you in my prayers that Jurni has a full recovery. I think Claire's condition was triggered by the anasthetic they were using - but it doesn't matter now. I think you are doing everything you can, and I wish you all of the best. Please give Jurni a big hug and kiss for me.


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Thanks mistyeyed!! I am going to click to the link you have given me.


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RE: dog with low platelet count

our rottie is ten and a half yrs old and is going through similar symptoms and diagnoses. we are taking him for an ultra sound tomorrow and we are thinking of giving him a platelet transfusion. we just don't know how long the new platelets will last in his system. Anybody have any suggestions to help us?
also his appetite has grown and he seems to be more vocal, however, i noticed that he pants a little more than he did before. also he has lost weight but he keeps eating i don't understand it. thanks for any help anyone can provide


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My dog, Kobi, is a Husky, about 4.5 years old. Last vaccinations were done when he was about 6 months old. Everything has been fine up until recently.

Kobi started vomiting about 5 days ago and stopped eating about 2 days ago. We took him to hospital on Sunday. After 5 hours of exam and tests here is the problem:

Low platelets, high WBC, no diagnosis. X-ray only shows a lot of gas in the duodenum, small intestines area;

Otherwise, stomach, spleen, lungs, large intestines, liver, and kidneys were ok. No sign of diabetes, Parvo test was negative.

The resident doctor said she does not really know why the platelets are low and would need to do ultrasound to test for pancreatitis, lymph nodes, etc.

Subcutaneous fluids and anti-vomiting medication were injected.

She sent us home asking us to watch for three signs: vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

After about 36 hours, Kobi is drinking, eating, NOT vomiting, no diarrhea, but very lethargic. There are bouts of play and activity for about 5 minutes, but then he lies down and doesn't want to move the rest of the day.

Any ideas? Shall we go do the ultrasound? Shall we change the vet?

Outside third party blood test results were normal, the doc says. A little higher glucose levels but doctor said may be due to the blood sitting there for 24 hrs.

I checked the postings here earlier and here are some other observations:

We don't use products made in China. We also don't have rat poison lying around.

In our backyard, there are lots of flies and bugs coming from surrounding creek; We also have some construction materials lying around because we are making improvements to the backyard, putting in a pond. I was worried that maybe Kobi is infected by some kind of disease via insect bites or by chemical poisoning by maybe licking some kind of building material like cement, chalk, or cleaning solution. I really don't know but these are possible.


Please help ;) We don't want to lose our Kobi! What other tests or exams can be done or should be requested?

Thanks,
Ehsan.


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Hi Ehsan,
Did you get a diagnosis for Kobi yet? Have they run a tick panel to test for tick borne diseases? Or a clotting screen?

My 10 year old beagle stopped eating and when I first took her to the vet for this they ran blood work and said she was a little anemic and seemed to be fighting some type of infection. They send me home with Predisone to help with her arthritis and an antibiotic. When she wasn't any better in a few days, I took her back to the vet and he gave me Tramadol still thinking her arthritis pain was the reason she wouldn't eat. That didn't work and she kept getting weaker. I took her back in and he ran her bloodwork again, which showed her platelets were low and her protein was high. The ultrasound showed her liver was a little enlarged and there was a white spot showing up in her stomach. We had exploratory surgery and the vet found a clump of undigested grass that he removed, sent her home the next day with lots of medicine saying she would probably be hungry soon. She still wouldn't eat but would drink water. She had the head pressing symptom once so I thought it must be the liver. I took her back in for more tests. We did the tick panel and it would take a few days to come back, chest xrays - okay and some type of swallowing test - okay.
He had her on IV for 2 days and she wasn't dehydrated anymore, so I decided to bring her home that day and just wait for the tick screening results. She died at the vet's an hour before I was to come and get her. The tick panel came back okay. The only test we didn't run was a clotting screen and I now wish I would have just so maybe I would know why this happened. I didn't want to put her through transfusions since I had a grandmother who died from leukemia. The vet was stumped and thought it might have been a bone marrow cancer that wouldn't show up on the xrays. He offered to do an autopsy free, but I couldn't bear to do that since she looked so peaceful.

This all happened in a month's time and it was such a shock. I hope you've found out what's happening with Kobi and have a happier outcome.


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Yikes! I was just looking for some info and am now terrified. Easter morning I came home from work and was surprised my 9 Y.O. female boxer was not waiting by the door. She was lethargic, panting and shaking. But what worried me most were the pale mucous membranes because of the fact that I had seen this frequently in my boxer who died of cardiomyopathy. So I took her to the animal ER, they stated she had a fever, low platelets and was dehydrated. The fever did resolve but she has an infection in her rib area and an enlarged heart. Echo showed no structural abnormalities. She tested negative for heartworm and Lyme's. At this time they are not sure of the cause of the low platelet count. Hopefully this morning her platelets will be up and we can come up with a treatment. I just want to take her home!!!


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boxer_love, what about her RBC? With the pale membranes, I would guess she is anemic too, is she?

Although we had a very poor outcome with Chinook, don't get terrified yet. I have learned there are many causes of low platelets and some have a better prognosis. Your pup has/had an infection - that is very different than Chinook.

I really can't tell you what to test for or what to think about your pup, I just want you to not give up yet. Hopefully there is a treatable cause for your girl.

Tomorrow is one year since we lost Chinook and I still miss her dreadfully and second guess so many of our decisions. I really hope things turn out differently for you. Please let us know.

Ann


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Hi Ann
I brought Dakota home from the hospital yesterday, yipee! Her platelets had risen to 100,000. Monday they were 20,000. They still don't know the cause. Her RBC was O.K.

I so understand about Chinook, it is unbearable. The pain lessens with the passage of time but never goes away.

Thank you SO much for your words of encouragement.

Amy


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I dont know where to begin.. I took my 7yr old dog Buddy to get looked at because of what I thought were psychological changes and came back with blood tests showing a critically Low Platelet count (17; 240 being low end of normal). Retest two days later resulted in 69 and a week later after 5 days on doxycyclin just came back at 15. They did an X-ray, no massess, spleen was normal, everthing was where it should be. RBC were normal, WBC were slightly elevated but nothing really out of wack.

For the most part Buddy is normal, he has always been a finicky eater and doesnt like walking very much. Reading all these post and now the Vet wants to lock him up for observation, is F-d up. Locking him up is going to kill his spririt, Buddy is such a social pup and needs interaction. Id hate to think what Sammy, my other dog is going to go through if they get split up. I want to do whats best for Buddy and it scrares every cell of my being losing him.

For sure Im going to get a second opinion but this doesnt look good.


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I was actually researching this issue and came across this forum. I have a 5mo old female daschund mix who was a stray I rescued. She has had all her vaccinations and about three weeks ago I took her into the vet for her spay. When they ran the bloodwork the only thing wrong was her platelet count being very low. They asked if she had had any trauma to which I replied "no". She is very energetic, eats/drinks extremely well, and plays constantly with our miniature snauzer. The vet ran tests for heartworm, both tick diseases, and lyme disease as well as an auto immune test of some sort. Everything came back negative. I was instructed to take her home and wait on the spay for two weeks until her counts came back up (The vet said that sometimes in puppies it is low). I just took her back last night for a CBC test and her count was still a little low at 178,000. The vet stated that when they drew her blood that it took a little bit to stop the bleeding. We discussed a plan this morning in case of emergency but I gave the go ahead to proceed with the spay. That was at 9am this morning. I still haven't heard from them and now am beginning to worry after reading all of these posts. I hope I did the right thing....please keep our pup in your prayers.


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dog with low platelet count

Texeggi I hope your puppy turned out all right.....
My grandpuppy is a 10 mo old English Jack Russell and went in a couple days ago for his neuter, but unable due to his platelet count only being 5000, and his wbc count low. They ran tests again to send out, in case it was an error in their lab the first time (it wasn't), and sent off the tick test. Last night they gave him the chemo drug IV (blew 3 veins before being successful) and started him on doxycycline & prednisone. He acts totally fine, so we had no idea anything was wrong. Now we're all scared. Wish us luck.


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I can't describe how scared I am right now. My Pug, Chubs, turns one year old on April 18th and we found out this week that his platelets are at around 2,000. The poor little guy was acting tired and he had red marks allover his body and in the whites of his eyes. We started him on the steriod and it hasn't helped yet. After one day he became so weak that he could barely stand on his own. We checked him in with an internal specialist for small dogs and found out that his red blood cells were down to 13%. We approved a blood transfusion and yesterday he was acting more like himself when my wife went to visit him. This morning his red cells were still holding at around 30% (good news), but his platelets were still down around 2,000. I just gave the approval for a chemo treatment and we are hoping that this will bring the platelets out of the bone marrow. After reading all of these stories I am afraid that we are going to lose Chubs. Has anyone out there had a puppy so young survive this type of thing?


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We have a springer-spaniol mix. Approx. 11yrs old. Found him late last friday to be breathing hard and very weak. Looking awful and didn't know if he would make it thru the night. Took to the vet next day. Dx'd w/lyme's disease and low platelet ct. Placed on prednisone 20mg q12h and doxycycline also q12h. Slightly better the next 2 days, then worse the following. Was taken back to vet for f/u labs. plt's even lower (husband took him in, I don't have the specific values but will be getting them). Had every type of x-ray possible and detected nothing but for excessive air in abd. secondary to excessive panting. Now being advised to have US of abd. to r/o Ca. Has had episodes of perkiness but that comes and goes. Does also have dx hypothyroidism for the past 5 yrs. or so. This morning looked perkier. Having difficulty with getting him to take his meds. He has always been so smart. Our oldest son is graduating from HS tom. noc. We have two boys age's 16 and 18. Jake our dog is their "good-brother" and they are SO attached, as well my husband and I. Hard to determine how much more we should put him thru at his age but if there is hope, should maybe do a bit more. Feel so badly for him.


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Yesterday was the hardest time for me. I lost my 4 years old Pomeranian, Dolly due to her low platelet count. She had been coughing. Then she coughed with several blood spots on the carpet. It was not her first time but first one 2 years ago, then last spring which was the worst and then this time. I decided to take her to the emergency vet for her cough problem the next day. She looked fine and was active when she got some attentions from us but her coughing with blood was my concern. I told the Dr what her problem was. The Dr. checked her teeth and saw bleeding on her gum and also saw her tongue being cut. He said Dolly may have bited her tongue in 3 places. He gave her a x-ray for her heart and chest. While I was in the waiting room waiting for the xray result, Dolly was laying down on her back and that was when I saw several blood spot look spots like bruises on her stomach and I was shocked to see them so I got the Dr to look at and he said she needed her blood test. I think he knew something was wrong but he did not tell me. He told me it would take 3 hours for her blood test result and wanted to keep Dolly. So I went home and waited for him to call me. Later that night he called and gave me the bad news. I was so shocked. He said she had low platelet count which was 5,000 and explained what it meant. He said he could not believe since Dolly was still active and alert so he wanted to give her another blood test the next day. She lost another 1,000 and the Dr said there was nothing he could do to save her but he gave her 5 different medications. I brought her home on Monday night. She stayed up and moved and ate a little from our food on Tuesday. By midnight she won't take any more medications or eat her favorite treat. When I came home from work Wed. morning she got worse and could not move. I stayed with her all day until the emgerency vet was open at 5:30pm and we took her back there and had her put to sleep. She looked so peaceful when she slept. I could not believe it happened to he too fast. So sad. Anyway I am trying to learn about the platelet and understand why it happened to Dolly.. too young to die. i have enjoyed reading some posts.


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I can't believe it. I never thought I would be in this position, but who among us saw this coming. Friday night my Josie was happy and healthy. She went to bed and slept well. Saturday morning everything had changed. She was very ill. By midnight we had a diagnosis of IMT. She is on prednisolone and doxy. We need to take her back to the ER tonight. I am praying she will pull through. Her platelets are down around 3000. My father has stage four leukemia (CLL) and hemolytic anemia. He is not doing well and having Josie now critically ill is just too much. I got her 7 years ago to keep him company when I am at work. My mother had died a couple of years before and then our little poodle died unexpectidly (a missdiagnosis by a vet) and he was just beside himself. Josie has become the heart and soul of the house. She is more pampered than you could imagine. If I told you the extent to which my father and brother go to to make her happy you would think we were all nuts! My father is trying to be stoic but he is now telling the dog that they will be sharing a box. Many dogs do pull through and live years with IMT in remission so I am trying to stay positive and have faith that Josie will pull through. Its hard, everytime I look at her I cry. She is lethargic, panting, she has the bruising on her belly... IT'S TOO FAST - IT'S TOO SOON!!!!!


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It's over now. She is at peace. GONE TOO SOON!


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Dear Pitstoprg and Susan1978 and everyone else above,
I am so sorry. I'm not going to throw any cliches' around because there is no way to put words in an emptiness where there was love and wet noses and now memories.
I'm here for the same reason, I think our 7-month old mixed breed has something. But it's not making sense and we don't have access to trustworthy or experienced vet help. I apologize for what feels like selfishness because I'm asking for help when there are two families above who are dealing with such grief and loss. Please forgive me.
Here is what has happened: Last Wednesday we took Nanny to the military vet (we're in Italy) for pre-surgery blood work. We were told everything was 'perfect'. Nanny has always been a character; full of spirit and mischief but a habitual cuddler. On Tuesday we took her in to be spayed. Two hours later came the call: 'don't panic, we have a problem with Nanny's surgery. She is oozing and we aren't sure what the problem is.' Four hours later, the vet came out and said that she was much better but we would be shocked at the bruising on her belly and around the incision. There was a 6-inch belly band they put around her 'to compress the area and hopefully get her body to absorb the excess blood and fluid'. We were told that the test for the tick-borne parasite (Erlich-whatever) was positive and that immediately prior to surgery her platelet count was 4. (FOUR) The low normal was 175. I think those numbers are missing three 0's but that's not the way it was explained. The vet decided to cut anyway 'since everything else looked fine'. That bothered us because if the platelets are that nonexistent, what kind of clotting ability did she think there was going to be? Then the vet showed me the next two blood tests: the platelet count was 0. Everything else was normal although the RBC was low. We took Nanny home with the Doxycycline and 200mg Prednisone per day prescriptions, also Tramadol. (If her immune system is compromised, should we really be suppressing it with Tramadol?) We were told to check her gums for internal hemorrhaging by pressing on them and timing how long/whether the color returned after releasing the pressure on the tissue. The thing is, that's how you check for red blood cells and oxygen uptake. (I remember this from my son's asthma attacks and nail beds.) For internal bleeding they should have told us to look for red dots in the gums or the whites of her eyes. We were told if she made it the next 48 hours, she should pull through.
Here's where things get strange.
Nanny was fine at home. We kept her as quiet as possible but except for a few grimaces when she tried to jump, she was normal. She even compressed the belly band so that it was the width of a newspaper rubberband and it relocated to just above her hind legs. There was no swelling and no tenderness on her belly but there was the worst case of what looked like motorcycle accident road rash. Whoever had used the clippers had just tortured her skin. That's what the belly band was covering. There was a small dime-sized bruise on one side of her pelvis, but no other bruising except on either side of the incision. The difference between bruising and razor rash is the rash coloring is not uniform; it's speckled. And has a distinct angular pattern. It also did not change color the way the other bruised areas did. I called and spoke with our former vet in Florida at the University Vet College and she was cautious but concerned. Things weren't making much sense to her but she had to rely on what we could remember and my subjective descriptions of Nanny.
To make things stranger; there is a vet technician at this clinic who has a well-earned reputation for unpleasantness to coworkers, clients and pets. In December she walked past and hit our dog, Snapper, in the head with a metal clipboard, stopped and looked at my son and I and then walked on. I spoke to the vet (a different one) later and was told 'yes, we know there are issues with this employee'. We tried to bring a familiar stray in last week because some idiot on a scooter threw a chunk of concrete at Buster and broke his leg. The Vet Tech informed me that they were not equipped to handle fractures. The vet was off base at training. I came in the next day and spoke with the vet about it and had an appointment for Buster the next morning. Since this vet tech does the pre-op procedures, I suspect the vet spoke to her and there's been some retaliation against Nanny.
Since many of you in the previous posts speak of animals who became lethargic and died, I don't know if I should keep Nanny on this awful drug cocktail or go on the belief that she has no sign of a problem except their word for it and a few of the CBC printouts. (I know they've had problems with the machine that processed blood samples because I've heard them complaining they can't get anyone to repair it. The vet assured me they just received a new unit in August and the manufacturer's rep calibrated it in September. Also, that no one else's pet is having the same results. (Today the vet added another 'ulcer' drug that Nanny has to take an hour before food and the other meds since the vet says the Doxy and Prednisone 'will just eat her insides away.')
I'm a lousy gambler so if anyone has anything to add, it will help me to figure out what to do. When you're too close to a situation, others are better placed to see and point out what may be obvious.
Thank you all. Take care.


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Not specific for this case but in general. My 7 year old female cross breed dog was diagnosed with severe hypothyroidisme. Subsequently our vet put her on medication to correct the deficit. At the same time we started the medication, there was an unexplainable drop in platelets. Although we went throught the side effects of the thyroid drug, we couldn't find anything realated to platelets decrease. The vet ultimately adviced to wean her from the medication and immediately the platelets were starting to catch up. We now in the progress of finding the correct dose for our dog so her thyroid values will be ok and her platelets too.
So, there can be a direct correlation between low platelets and thyroid medication.


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Two months ago, my 5 year old dog was just not behaving normally--lethargic and no appetite.then the vomiting started. I took him to the vet, and after thousands of $,a trip to a heartless internist, he was diagnosed with Pancreatitis. They prescribed medications, and all his blood work returned to normal, and all was right with the world. ( I also was recommended to a new vet, and I couldn't be more satisfied)
About 2weeks ago, he started to yelp in pain when trying to poop, and I immediately took him to the new vet. I was relieved when the doctor said it was his Anal Glands. He was cleaned out, and seemed fine. Just because he had the Pancreatitis, they repeated blood work, and everything was back to normal, except his platelets, which were extremely low. They thought that it might be a lab error, so they just told me to have the blood work repeated in a few weeks. Now the last few days he is crying a little every time he goes to the morning-- only in the am--- if/ when he goes again during the day, he doesn't cry, but does struggle a bit--- I am so worried. I have had dogs my entire life, and the little guy is the most loving
dog I have ever had. The doctor was extremely concerned with the Pancreatitis, but after a week or so, he finally came around. When I brought him in because of the painful bowel problem, the vet was extremely worried looking.
I read a lot about Auto immune disease on this site-- are you all referring to Lymes disease?
Any input will be greatly appreciated!


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