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Autoimmune leukopenia

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

  
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Dallas- Mueller

Dallasaurus
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 29, '06 10:54am PST 
Hi dog lovers and owners. My dog has been tentatively diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that destroys his white blood cells. Right now he is essentially defenseless against any infection.

I have heard of Autoimmune hemolytic anemia in which the red blood cells are destroyed, but I'm having a really hard time finding info about the white blood cells.

My vet wants to treat him using steroids to suppress his immune system, but I've heard that there are awful side effects and I'm not sure this is the best treatment option. I have put a call in to the vet school at CSU in hopes of getting some more answers.

Does anyone have any experience with leukopenia (low white blood cell count) or autoimmune disease?

Dallas needs prayers!!

K
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Beau

The sweet Lord- Jesus guides my- posts
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 29, '06 12:33pm PST 
If your pet has an auto-immune disease, the steroids are a MUST!! Yes, steroids have side effects and the side effects are even more severe at the doses your dog needs to take, but without them, the disease will continue to ravage their body and they will almost certainly die from the disease long before any steroid side effects. Hopefully the doctors at CSU can put you on the right path and convince you that steroids are a necessary "evil".
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Dallas- Mueller

Dallasaurus
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 29, '06 12:50pm PST 
Thanks for the response Beau. Do you have experience with this? How did your dog respond to the steroids? I am not necessarily ruling out steroids, I just want to understand his options and do what is best for my baby!

K
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Ziero - CGC, Rest in- peace 11/

I'm smarter than- your Honor- Student!
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 29, '06 12:58pm PST 
Ok.. this was the best I could find so far for your Mom Dallas..

If she can get me more inormation about which White Blood Cells are effected (there are several types) I can get more info from one of the doctors I used to work with. I tried to call him before I posted this and read off what you have posted so far, and he really couldn't tell me much.

Autoimmune Leukopenia
Gordon Starkebaum, M.D.
David C. Dale, M.D.

The terms "autoimmune leukopenia," "autoimmune granulocytopenia," and "autoimmune Neutropenia" are often used synonymously to describe conditions in which autoantibodies to mature neutrophils, or their precursors, lead to cell destruction and a reduced blood neutrophil count. Leukopenia is generally defined as a reduction in the total white blood cell count to less than 4,000 cells per deciliter; Neutropenia is defined as a neutrophil count of less than 1,800 cells per deciliter. Neutropenia has numerous causes and mechanisms; the most frequent cause is reduced cell production by the bone marrow. Neutropenia also occurs because of abnormalities in the distribution of cells between the circulating and marginated pools of cells in the blood and accelerated cell destruction. Autoimmune leukopenia can be caused by any of these mechanisms.

Although the term "leukopenia" often implies "Neutropenia", there are many pathologic conditions in which not only neutrophils but also lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils are concomitantly or specifically reduced. Lymphocytopenia is a common feature of the stress response to many infections and acute inflammatory illnesses. It occurs in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and other collagen vascular diseases. Lymphocytopenia, monocytoenia, and eosinopenia are regularly seen with corticosteroid therapy. Reductions in any of the white blood cell elements may reflect an important ongoing pathologic process.

Other Conditions Associated with Neutropenia
There are a number of other conditions that include neutropenia as part of the symptoms. Depending on the nature of the main condition the way neutropenia is managed may differ from the treatment of "pure" SCN.

The main conditions that may include neutropenia are:

Severe Aplastic anaemia
Viral illnesses
Post chemotherapy or radiotherapy
Other drug-induced situations
Fanconi Anemia
There may be some other very rare disorders, congenital or acquired, that may be associated with neutropenia, e.g. myelokathexis, Hyper IgM, or Combined Immunodeficiency. This list may be incomplete and more information about diseases associated with neutropenia is being discovered all the time.

This is a start for you, but I can try to get more information for you later, my DVM friend said he would be glad to help me out with this.

Chad and The Pittie Crew
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Dallas- Mueller

Dallasaurus
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 29, '06 1:05pm PST 
THank you so much Ziero!! I would appreciate any additional info you could provide via your vet connections.

Unfortunately I do not know which white blood cells are affected - I'm assuming all. My vet said he literally has NO white blood cells - so severe leukopenia. But his red blood cells and platelets are at normal levels.

My vet originally suspected Ehrlichia (a tick bourne disease), and treatment for Ehrlichia with doxycycline did alleviate his fever and loss of apetite. I wonder if he may actually have Ehrlichia, as I know hemolytic depression can continue for several months. Not sure why my vet now has changed her diagnosis from Ehrlichia to auto-immune, but I guess either way we have to deal with the problem of the leukopenia, and steroids seem a good option.

I had a vet from CSU return my call and she is currently doing some research and consulting her colleagues, so hopefully I'll hear something from her soon. My personal vet is consulting with a pathologist today and will be getting back to me tonight with her insights.

I just hope for the best. This little guy is my best friend in the whole world and I just want him to get better.

K
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Ziero - CGC, Rest in- peace 11/

I'm smarter than- your Honor- Student!
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 29, '06 1:14pm PST 
There is a strain of Ehrlicha that effects only the white blood cells, I cannot think of the exact strain right off the top of my head.. so.. please hold while I go do some quick internet research...BOL...

OK.. thanks for holding.. after much looking (BOL..not really..) this is the link that has the best info on the types of Ehrlicha..

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=210 3

I think you are on the right track with this though.. IMHO... the DVM I spoke with had never heard of Autoimmune Leukopenia to be honest with you, at least not by that name anyway..
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Dallas- Mueller

Dallasaurus
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 29, '06 1:42pm PST 
Thank you Ziero! I have done a lot of internet sleuthing myself and have come up with ZERO references to autoimmune leukopenia so I myself was starting to wonder.

I guess I will compile a list of these kinds of questions to pose to my vet and to the CSU vet who will be calling me back.

It's so frustrating to not know what is wrong with my boy, but it's good to have people like all of you who care and are offering advice and support.

Thank you!!

K
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Cherokee- Forever- Loved Cherry

Our Precious- Angel Cherry
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 29, '06 3:50pm PST 
Did some surfing and it seems to link to ticks, original diagnosis looks like it can lead to the 2nd one.

Try this link: http://www.samfans.org/faq/tickfaq1.html

It seems to tie the 2 together. Hope it helps. Vet seems to be headed in the right direction.

PS yahoo search for Autoimmune leukopenia got me this info
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Dallas- Mueller

Dallasaurus
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 29, '06 4:12pm PST 
Thank you Cherokee!

The vet from CSU vet hospital just called me back and said that steroid treatment on a dog with such a low WBC could be very dangerous and she suggested we see a specialist. She thought that whatever Dallas has might be rare enough that a general vet might not have seen it before or know how to properly treat it. I guess autoimmune leukopenia is extremely rare...and she thought it might still be a nasty infection lurking somewhere and it would be worth further exploration.

Not sure what to do.....

K
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Cherokee- Forever- Loved Cherry

Our Precious- Angel Cherry
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 29, '06 5:00pm PST 
Vut your vet is having the patholigist look into it before starting anything right?

They will be able to determine a lot more through that.

Cherokee is going through chemo, and was back in the hospital due to almost no white blood cells. The low end of normal for 1 part is 800, she registered in at 100. I am reviewing her paperwork to see which drugs were for boosting the white cells, and don't know for sure, but will get back to you.
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