I apologize for not having written anything in a while... I haven't been keeping well, you see :(
Well, it all started way back in early March when my eyes started oozing reddish goo. It was thought to be a severe allergy situation and my Benadryl intake was increased. When the goo turned into actual blood, my folks rushed me to the Vet who prescribed me some steroid based eye drops. The Vet was more concerned about the red dots on my gums and the scratch marks on my body from playing with my foster sister, Danica, though. We went home with just the eye drops and my folks were so relieved when my eyes got better the very next day.
Since I'm the first white, short haired dog my peeps have ever had, they had no idea that scratch marks were an issue that needed to be taken seriously. The Vet had only told them to keep an eye on me and that's what they did. So when they woke up one morning to find a haematoma on my hind leg, they rushed me to the clinic. The Vet told us we needed to do a CGC to be on the safe side and to, hopefully, rule out leukaemia.
Thankfully, we could rule out leukaemia but we ended up with a diagnosis of Thrombocytopenia. For those not familiar with the disease, I did some research and found this helpful article:
Thrombocytopenia is a disorder in which platelet numbers are lower than normal. Platelets are actually fragments of special cells that are necessary for proper clotting of blood. When a blood vessel is cut or breaks, the platelets gather around the site and stick to each other forming a plug. During normal activity, small blood vessels commonly have microscopic breaks which are plugged with platelets. When platelet levels are low, these plugs do not form and we can see various types of bleeding.
What causes thrombocytopenia?
Thrombocytopenia can occur because of four processes:
- Decreased production of platelets by the bone marrow
- Increased use of platelets through blood clotting
- Destruction of platelets by the immune system
- Removal of platelets from the general circulation (sequestration)
|Decreased Production||Increased use||Destruction||Sequestration|
What are the signs of thrombocytopenia in a dog?
A dog with thrombocytopenia may or may not show signs of bleeding, depending upon how low the platelet numbers are. Signs of thrombocytopenia include:
- Loss of appetite
- Small pinpoint hemorrhages called 'petechiae', commonly found on the mucous membranes such as the inside of the mouth.
- Larger hemorrhages under the skin, especially on the ventral abdomen (belly) and groin area
- Bleeding from the mucous membranes including the gums
- Pale mucous membranes
- Bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract that may appear as black, tarry stools or stools with fresh blood in them
- Blood in the urine
- Hemorrhages in the eye
- Prolonged bleeding after an injury or surgery
A complete history would be obtained to try to identify possible causes of the bleeding tendencies and gather information on when they started, etc. A thorough physical exam would be conducted and the veterinarian would look for signs of other diseases that may be a cause of the thrombocytopenia.
Any dog showing signs of a bleeding problem would have a complete blood count (CBC) and a platelet count performed. A platelet count is a special test done on a blood sample that measures how many platelets are present in a specific quantity of blood. A coagulation profile, which tests for the normal presence of clotting factors in the blood, would also be performed.
It is essential to identify the cause of the thrombocytopenia, since different causes are treated differently. Therefore, a veterinarian may recommend a dog with thrombocytopenia be tested for heartworm, ehrlichiosis, and other infectious causes. Tests such as a urinalysis and chemistry panel would help to assess the health of other organs. Radiographs may be advised to look for cancers or other diseases that could cause thrombocytopenia. A bone marrow aspirate may also be performed.
How is thrombocytopenia treated?
The treatment of thrombocytopenia depends on the cause and the severity of the condition. If the platelet levels are very low, it can be a life-threatening condition and blood transfusions may be necessary. In cases of infections, antibiotics would be prescribed. Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia is generally treated with corticosteroids and possibly other immunosuppressing drugs. Cancers would be treated based on the type of cancer and location.
What is the prognosis for dogs with thrombocytopenia?
The prognosis depends on the cause and the severity of the condition. Relapses with immune-mediated thrombocytopenia are relatively common.
What should I do if I think my dog may have thrombocytopenia?
Thrombocytopenia can be life-threatening. If you think your dog may have a bleeding problem, contact your veterinarian immediately.
© 2012 Foster & Smith, Inc.
Reprinted as a courtesy and with permission from PetEducation.com (http://www.PetEducation.com) On-line store at http://www.DrsFosterSmith.com Free pet supply catalog: 1-800-323-4208
Normal platelet levels are between 164000-510000. My CGC showed a platelet count at around 5000 which meant that if I were cut/scratched I could bleed out and the Vets wouldn't be able to do anything about it. There are various causes for this disease but what caused me to have it is still a mystery. Since it may be a reaction to drugs and Benadryl was all that I was on, I'm not allowed to be given any again, ever.
I was prescribed Prednisone and Doxycycline. We had to start with a high dose which caused a severe change in my personality apart from making me feel extremely thirsty and hungry all the time. I lost 4lbs in two weeks despite eating about 4 cups of food (or more) a day and made up for all the accidents in the apartment I had never ever had :( I became lethargic, moody and trembled at the sight or smell of food. I stopped playing with Danica altogether and wouldn't cuddle with my peeps any more. I had a far away look in my eyes that had my folks worried beyond belief. Thankfully, the prednisone helped bring my platelet count back up again and we started reducing the dosage on a weekly basis till we stopped altogether for one week. My platelet count dropped and I had to be put back on the drug. I am now on the lowest dose which is keeping my platelets at a healthy level and which, thankfully, doesn't affect my behaviour in any way. I am slowly starting to find myself again and although I am back to normal with my folks, I am a bit iffy around strangers still. My folks and I are working on helping me gain back my confidence but I am still a work in progress.
|Yay! I'm feeling so much better now!|
I will have to be on Prednisone for the foreseeable future but the costs are minimal. I will also need regular blood tests every 3 months or so in order to make sure I'm doing okay. I may not have to be on the drug forever and that is why the blood tests are important. My Vet recommends trying to take me off the medication every few months for a week or so to see if I can maintain a healthy life without it.
So, for now, please keep me in your thoughts and say a prayer for me. And, if you feel you can give me the love, care, patience and understanding that I need, please fill out the adoption application and ask for me. I may not be able to meet you right away, but I know MY FAMILY will wait for me.
P.S. I'd be ever so grateful to you if you would consider DONATING to Legacy Boxer Rescue. They have helped countless boxers like me get healthy again and find loving homes. Your help will be truly appreciated.