Get Well Soon > Potential IMHA diagnosis

Dottie Sue

Barked: Sun Jan 13, '13 1:46pm PST 
My almost 9 year old dachshund, Sue, is currently being treated for anemia, which they believe is immune mediated. I first noticed her sleeping alot around Christmas, and then on Dec 29th we ended up in the ER vet because she passed out. Her red blood cell count came back at 10% when normal shoud be 35%+, and I was told she needed a blood transfusion. At the time it was incredibly scary because the er vet wanted $1800 for just the transfusion (I was already up to $900 by that point in tests), and I didn't have that much money immediately available to me. We left that night out $900 with Carafate and Doxycycline, and a warning that she might die. I cried the rest of the weekend, holding my lethargic furry daughter. By the grace of God, on Monday, Jan 1, her regular vet retested her, and she'd held a steady 10, and she did the transfusion, a full CBC, etc... for $600. (I'm outraged by the overcharging of the ER vet)

The transfusion brought her rbc up to 20 that day, and we started her on iron supplements and pepcid, and I also began feeding her chicken liver twice a day. When we retested her 2 days later she was a 26! Her cbc panel also came back showing that her rbc was regenerative, and she had a significant presence of speherocytes. It also showed that there was not any sign or explosion of neoplastia, but there were a very small number of immature cells (this is where scientific terms escape me) but it was inconclusive of any concern. My vet said the tech who did the panel was one of the best, and would have commented if she thought it was cancer. She said it strongly suggested it was immune mediated disease. Another 3 days later (Jan 4th), we retested and she held a 26, so we went ahead with a Coombs test and started her on Cyclosporine. (By the way, steroids are out of the question because Sue has a genetic heart murmr/defect, which has not ever held her back until now.)

Coombs came back negative, but the vet said it doesn't mean anything because they are a gamble anyway. Great.

We retested Thursday (Jan 10th) and she fell back down to a 22. The vet explained the Cyclosporine takes a couple weeks to kick in, and I had been warned she could fall again in the interim. One think to note is I didn't give her liver this week, and needless to say I have begun to again - I'm taking no chances. She said the next step is an ultrasound to look for hidden cancers that blood tests and xrays aren't giving away, and that it had only been a day short of a week since she'd started the Cyclosporine, so it hasn't had time to really start working.

This weekend she is sleeping a lot, with little moments of "her" here and there. I've been trying to do as much research as possible about this disease, and it's quite apparent this is very life threatening. I am so scared and this is so emotionally taxing. I love my furry baby so much - probably more than would be considered normal, but hey, she's been the light of my life for the past 8 years.

I could really use some advice, suggestions, even just a little emotional support. So far from everything I've read, the regeneration is indicative that he rbc's aren't being destroyed at marrow level, which is good. Her liver and other organs are fine. Her murmur was pronounced more than ever when she was a 10, but has improvsed. Parasitic tests are all negative. And her count falls slowly, which is why they said she was able to maintain normal behaviors for so long. They said a dog who fell rapidly to 10 would have presented in very, very dire condition, but Sue was doing relatively well for a dog with that number. She has good and bad days, and sleeps a LOT.

Are there any tests we're missing? Hollistic treatments? Non-hollistic?


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