German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, my 7.5 year old girl Ruby has suddenly become anemic.
For the most part shes been extremely healthy (minus allergies etc. but nothing life threatening) up until about last week. She had been on Rimadyl quite a bit, as it was given to us by the vet and we were unaware of its terrible possibility of side effects (she will NEVER be going back on it, I promise you that!) but things have progressively gotten quite scary lately.

Last Monday - we started noticing that she was not eating, very lethargic and just completely not herself.

Last Tuesday - first day we took her in. they informed us that her blood cell count was quite low and they wanted to run blood tests etc. Then scheduled an ultrasound for Friday so we could rule out internal bleeding/cancer etc. and also one last check-up on Thursday.

Last Thursday - she needed to be carried out of the car by two nurses, because she was unable to get out herself. I then had to rush her to the other side of the city for an ultrasound, which came back clean. Although they said her spleen was enlarged, which could be because her body is destroying her blood cells at a rapid rate. She was then brought back to our vet, and given a blood transfusion, and about 3 different kinds of meds to take home with us. She was like a brand new dog, and we were all jumping for joy.

Last Friday - told that her RBC count was still sitting around 22.5%. things were looking great

Last Saturday - told that it had gone down a little, but she was stable so we didn't need to worry.

Monday - informed that it was continuing to drop, but again that she was stable and would be in on Wednesday. that night we noticed that her back legs were swelling.

Tuesday - take her in regarding her legs. they told us it could either be a drug side effect, or immobility. Told to massage her legs 3 times a day, acting as a circulatory system.

Wednesday - I brought her in expecting the routine "shes stable, everything is fine. see you Friday!" but instead was told that her RBC count will not budge off 18% (normal is at least 35%) and that the vets are starting to worry that she could start to deteriorate suddenly.

She goes in for another ultrasound tomorrow, and this time we're seeing a specialist. I'm sorry this is so long, but I was just wondering if anyone has dealt with this before in their dog?
She still has literally no energy. She went from a dog who was basically insane with energy, to one who barely gets up to look at me when I walk in a room. Massaging her legs does nothing, and all of this is taking its toll on her. Shes about 100lbs (not over-weight, just a really big girl) and I had to walk over to the couch moments ago and lift her onto it, because she was unable to do it herself. She barely even stands up now unless I help her/pick her up.

Anyone have any ideas what I should be preparing myself for? or has dealt with this in the past? :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,828 Posts
My first thought is she's bleeding from somewhere, whether that's into her belly or she's got a GI bleed, I don't know. If she's as weak as you say, I'm wondering why she's not at the vet?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I've been wondering the same thing myself. Believe me, its not us. We're probably around 3 grand deep in tests etc. we've done since last Monday.
They keep sending her home with us, and just having us bring her in every 2nd day.
They're absolutely stumped as to whats wrong, but her heart etc. is fine, so they say shes alright to have at home.
The only thing they've noticed is that her body is destroying her red blood cells, and seems to not be working hard enough to make new ones.

As I said though, she does go back for another ultrasound/spleen inspection tomorrow with a specialist.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I hope it's not this: Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA) in Dogs

How are her platelets?
Wow, that actually sounds quite like what shes going through. Although I've yet to see her urine change from its normal yellow, and theres been no blood in her stool or out her nose.

She did have a transfusion last Thursday, and has been on Prednisone (the drug talked about in the article) and still no change. They've even given her a second drug to stop the immune system from fighting to kill the RBC's, but her count just will not improve from 18%.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,649 Posts
I'm very sorry your dog is having these problems. Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia can be caused by rimadyl.

Are you near Guelph or another teaching hospital? I would be going to a specialist immediately.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,397 Posts
Ehrlichia/anaplasmosa, get her on doxycycline immediately, 10 mg/kg TWice a day (roughly 5 mg/lb). There are places where it's known to be in Canada, and also places in Canada where it is, but the vets will tell you that is not the case. Just ran into one of those late last year.

Do a search on this site for Enya and the thread "my dear friend"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I'm very sorry your dog is having these problems. Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia can be caused by rimadyl.

Are you near Guelph or another teaching hospital? I would be going to a specialist immediately.
Thats what my parents are thinking. Because it came on so quickly, and out of nowhere really. She was doing fine up until that point.

I'm in Winnipeg, and we're trying to see as many specialists here as we can. Guelph is, correct me if I'm wrong, about a 22-hour drive from us, so that long of a travel is out of the question for us :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Ehrlichia/anaplasmosa, get her on doxycycline immediately, 10 mg/kg TWice a day (roughly 5 mg/lb). There are places where it's known to be in Canada, and also places in Canada where it is, but the vets will tell you that is not the case. Just ran into one of those late last year.

Do a search on this site for Enya and the thread "my dear friend"
I whole-heartedly appreciate the input, but I'm not sure if a tick related disease is possible?
We have not one blade of grass in our backyard, or her dog run, and everything here has been covered a few feet in snow since about December. I didn't think ticks could survive those conditions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,397 Posts
If she has serious bloodwork abnormalities, this is a disease process that has likely been occurring for a long time, could be 2-5 years. There is an acute, sub-clinical, and chronic stage. These numbers are indicative of the chronic stage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
594 Posts
That enlarged spleen would bother me....are they absolutely sure there is not a mass on the spleen that is pulling her needed blood cells away, or (worse) bleeding out? Even a large mass can be hard to detect sometimes, but if/when they rupture it is an immediate crisis. I'd rule that out ASAP; sometimes an exploratory surgery is necessary to really see what's going on there. Is her blood clotting? Have they done clotting factor testing? Just a few thoughts...hang in there!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
If she has serious bloodwork abnormalities, this is a disease process that has likely been occurring for a long time, could be 2-5 years. There is an acute, sub-clinical, and chronic stage. These numbers are indicative of the chronic stage.
Oh wow, I had no idea. Thank you for the heads up.
And I checked over her meds this morning to see which ones she'd already been on, and Doxycyline is actually in the group of the first pills she received last Tuesday.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,397 Posts
The enlarged spleen will go hand in hand with low platelets and is often seen in tick diseases. Tick disease *completely fits*, though certainly it could be other things.

I'm glad to see that she was on doxy - sounds like the vets are already thinking in this direction. The aggressive dose is 5 mg/lb, twice a day, though some dogs can't tolerate that, and if the liver enzymes are up, additional liver support is needed. If steroids are also given at the same time as the doxy, the doxy isn't making a lot of headway on killing any possible infection, but mostly keeping it status quo.

Babesia is a tick disease with a similar profile, but it doesn't respond to doxy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,397 Posts
Wish I could edit with my phone...

Tick tests may not show anything because of the drugs already given. Ultrasound should show if there is a mass. When my boy's spleen enlarged, u/s showed only a "generous spleen", which resolves while on doxy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,289 Posts
I hope that it is not IMHA (immune mediated hemolytic anemia) that your dear pet has. I just last year lost my dear Jackie to IMHA. Like you , I did not notice any symptoms untill she would not eat and was also lethargic the only sign was she had lost a little weight. She had not been on Rimadyl since she was a pup and she had only been on it for 1 perscription.

When we first took her to the vet, they did the blood work and made the diagnosis. The vet told us to take her home for 3 days and crate her and to not let her do anything except go out and potty. We did this and when we went back for blood work it was even worse. She told us that they could do the transfusion thing and remove her spleen and that she would have a 30% chance maybe. And that she would have to be crated and restricted for the rest of her life.

Jackie was very active up untill this time and we did not think that would be a lifestyle she would be happy with, she was just 5yrs old. Even though we did not want to lose her we decided to let her go to the bridge and run happy and be free. I loved my girl so much and I still cry for her sometimes at night. I am able to cope with her loss a little better but the pain is still there.

I will be praying for your pup that she will respond better than my Jackie did, or that it could be something less serious. Best wishes and good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,804 Posts
had a shepherd with AIHA... It hard to deal with, can be treated and they can survive, but the vets have to get on top of it immediately and she will need treatment for months and months and months of high doses of steriods and antibiotics.
never knew what caused my shepherd to get this, it just happened one day.
If you need any advice or help or words of encouragement, you can PM me and I will give you my personal email and we can talk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,804 Posts
What is her hematacrit? (HCT) My shepherd got down to 14%. She was on 100mg of steriods a day,(weighed 58 lbs) plus doxy twice a day, plus famotide for her stomach, This went on for over 5 months. She was only 5 months old,it usually happens to older dogs. They can't say what causes AIHA, can be vaccines, can be ticks, can be anything that starts the body killing off the red blood cells. As far as being at the vets, I kept my girl at home, although I do work for the vets. She was taken back daily at first for blood tests, then every other day, then weekly, etc.
If your vet has not dealt with AIHA then you need to get her to a specialist immediately. Every day she is not given the correct dosages of steriods and such is one day less of helping her body try to fight. The masses doses of steriods will kill her immune system, but that will stop her body from killing the red blood cells that her body thinks are bad, which is why they are killing them off as her body produces them. There will be side effects, but once the steriods can start being taken less and less, the side effects will go away. But, she needs to be on the massive doses for months, not days or weeks. Some vets only put them on the doses for days and this will not stop the problem, just makes it seem to go away and there will be setbacks.
Please, get her to a vet immediately who has dealt with and "cured" dogs with this problem. Some dogs will recover and be okay without meds, some will stay on meds the rest of their lives, although low dosages of it.
My girl never had red urine, never had one sign of AIHA except her gums were WHITe and that is what caught my eye, plus she was lethargic and puppies are not lethargic. When I took her in on Christmas day, she was white and her first blood sample was like water draining out of her it was so anemic.
Please, please do not wait another day. Get her to a vet who has dealt with AIHA. I will bet my life this is what your girl has and a doctor who says they don't know what it is except her red blood cells are being killed off is not knowledgable enough to treat your girl.
If she does not get correct treatment immediately, she will not make it.AIHA is very very hard to beat, but can be done.
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top