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Old March 18th, 2015, 03:30 PM
prayforsassy prayforsassy is offline
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AIHA - so terrified for her.

Sassy is a 5-6 year old, spayed, rescued pit bull female..

Everything was so sudden. Last Wednesday, exactly a week ago, I noticed my baby was more tired than usual and didn't want to eat. I had just had to make a really tough decision in my life, and I thought maybe she was feeling my stress and sadness. The next day, things were the same. By Friday, I became really worried, and I took her temperature. I was shocked to see it read 104.9, and immediately went to the vet.

She did blood work and initially thought either a tick borne illness or an auto immune. Her red cells were low(not dangerous, yet), her platelets were low, and her white counts were high.

She was injected with Rimadyl at the vets and here are the pills I had to give her:
Doxycycline Hyclate
Prednisone
Famotidine

We went home. She wouldn't eat that night either. Saturday, I felt she was getting worse, and when she went to pee I saw her pee was the color of tea. It terrified me. We went to the emergency vet. He said then that her eyes might look slightly yellow, but it could of been the lighting... we re-ran her blood, the whites were up, the reds down..he told us to double the Prednisone until Monday.

By Monday, I felt Sassy leaving me. She would not move. She looked so bad, I was distraught, and we went to the vet the moment they opened that morning. They immediately saw she had jaundice, her entire skin is yellow, eyes, gums. Her gums were pale yellow. She had labored breathing. She was dying.... we did an x-ray, full chem test and blood work. The blood work came back and her RBC was now at 9%. She was on the verge of dying at any moment. We were told it was likely Autoimmune hemolytic anemia, and that she would need an immediate transfusion to survive. We were told her chances are guarded to poor. We were offered to euthanize her, and left alone to make our decision. I could not even consider it and we had her get the transfusion, it was whole fresh blood from the techs boxer.

They transfused her for about 4 hours along with tons of other IV meds and fluids, and we were able to pick her up that night - we opted to bring her home with us nights, because there is no 24/7 ER vet here. She would of just been alone, with no one to save her if something happened. That night was the hardest night of my life and I did not know what to do. I made a bed on the floor and I watched her all night, holding my breath every time I thought she stopped breathing. I have done this every night since Sunday. Back to the vets first thing in the morning for more IVs. At this point, her blood rose from 9% to 18%, and the dr was only hoping for 15% and even thought we'd need 2 transfusions to reach that. She looked pretty rough at home because of the massive amounts of steroids and I still felt she could leave me at any time. Her white counts were down 10,000 points to 50K (they were 60k+ at the time of transfusion.. they were 30k at the original vet visit...), her platelets I think are holding at around 140.

This morning. There was an incredible change with her, she slept okay through the night without the super labored breathing. When I took her outside, she was surprised to see my neighbor and tried to charge / bark at him. I took her back inside, then went out to get the car ready for her. On my way back in, I saw her sitting at the door watching me. On the way out on the leash, she pulled me to the car. She sat up for the ride and was alert. At the vets, she wanted to see all animals in the waiting room and once in the room with the drs that have been treating her I saw the baby I know for the first time in a week - she rolled over on her back and started pushing on people with her paws. I always call her a cat because of this, it's her way of affection and I haven't seen it for a week when it was an every-day occurrence.

The dr said based on the physical exam, she was comfortable waiting until Friday to do the blood work because we were doing full blood work Friday and my bills have already went to about 1,200 in a week. However, I opted to have the simple test done that only test the red blood cell levels - they were down to 15%, from 18%. The dr was not surprised or alarmed... but I am. She said the boxer blood was running out of her now and there was still time for her body to start producing her own....

but should that have happened by now? After her behavior today I was so happy, crying of happiness, only to hear terrifying news.

Today instead of IVs we just went to test and are now on a massive amount of oral meds (6 bottles), she took them at the vets and within an hour she was back to the tired, sad looked baby that is breaking my heart. The meds are making her feel awful. I know they are needed. I am praying for a miracle and that she holds at 15% and starts regenerating... is it too soon to expect regeneration on her own? Or should she have held and gone up from 18%?

Please pray for my baby. She is my soul. I have been crying so much, I can't eat, I can't sleep. Only a week ago she was bouncing off the walls. I miss her so much, my heart is just breaking into pieces...
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Old March 18th, 2015, 06:35 PM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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So sorry for what you're going through, Sweetie. I have no experience with AIHA, but will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.

that she starts producing RBC on her own now!
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Old March 19th, 2015, 07:28 AM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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I'm sorry, I don't know anything about this. I just want to wish you good thoughts she does start to produce her own good blood.
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Old March 19th, 2015, 08:16 AM
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Winston Winston is offline
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I'm sorry sorry your having to go through this with your pup. I don't have a lot of knowledge but we did have amember here a number of years ago with a pitty that had been diagnosed AIHA but it took a very long time to come to that diagnosis. I will copy the link to the thread but it is very lengthy, take your time reading it and perhaps you will find some info that could be of help you you. Quite a few members here followed the story of "Sway" and will remember her. The one thing that I do remember 100% was that there is a special doctor that is incredibly knowledgeable about this. her name is Doctor Jean Dodds. If you google her you will find a lot of info.

Please don't get discouraged by this thread I am posting as I am hopefuly it will give you some guidance/help only as every dog is different. Please keep us updated on your case?

Good Luck
Cindy

http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread....ighlight=sways
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Old March 19th, 2015, 02:46 PM
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Dog Dancer Dog Dancer is offline
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Winston, I remember Sway! Great memory you have.

No experience either with this, but you are both in my thoughts and prayers. We all know how hard it is to have a terribly sick pet. Many people don't understand why we get so emotional about them, but everyone here gets it.
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Old March 20th, 2015, 12:54 AM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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I will add to your reading list:
http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=73066


Unfortunately, in suspected tick disease, many vets to a fatal combination, 1) under treat with doxycyline (aggressive dose is 10 mg/kg, which is approximately 5 mg/lb) which only at higher doses kills organisms, and 2) they add pred too soon, which interferes with the action of the doxy. Pred should only be added when the RBCs or platelets are dangerously low, not just low. Once though you get to that transfusion state, you do need the pred, or sometimes a different immune suppressant. Dodds has an AIHA protocol which may help.

Testing for tick disease would be important to do.
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Old March 23rd, 2015, 06:39 PM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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That's such a great update, prayforsassy! Keeping her in my thoughts and prayers that the improvement continues!

She's a doll, by the way! Looks so happy in those pics!
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Old March 23rd, 2015, 06:52 PM
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That's good news thx for the update!
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Old March 23rd, 2015, 09:39 PM
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Dog Dancer Dog Dancer is offline
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What a great update! You go Sassy! I hope she continues to improve, you did good. Sometimes the things we find ourselves, or discover on boards like this, work miracles that a regular vet cannot. My last girl Halo did much better with my own treatments than what the vet was giving her. So, sometimes when you have nothing to lose, trying something new is a good plan. So happy for you both. Keep us updated please. Now we're all in love you know.
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Old March 25th, 2015, 01:10 AM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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Glad she is better!

Just a mention, pitbulls are thought to be susceptible to Babesia, which is not often tested for, and I'm not sure how reliable the testing is. It's a common coinfection with tick disease, but can also occur on its own.
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  #11  
Old March 25th, 2015, 01:46 PM
prayforsassy prayforsassy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxaLisa View Post
Glad she is better!

Just a mention, pitbulls are thought to be susceptible to Babesia, which is not often tested for, and I'm not sure how reliable the testing is. It's a common coinfection with tick disease, but can also occur on its own.
The first few days she was sick I actually did mention babesia to the emergency vet on the phone when he called me the next day to see how she was. He'd taken her blood the night before. I mentioned babesia to him after reading a lot and thought she had all the symptoms of it(but she also had all the systems of AIHA). He said he didn't think so simply because it is so rare here he's never saw a case in his career - but he messaged me a little while later and said he looked at her blood under slides and saw no indication of babesia. Also, she seems to be improving on her current treatment plan and I think babesia is not treated this way at all - theres only 2 drugs possibly used?

Thank you for the well-wishes, everyone. We have an apt. tomorrow morning to see where her count is. Her gums are getting pinker by the day. She is still really tired, but it's not a... "I'm dead tired". Shes alert and watches us. Re-positions herself.

I am however getting concerned. I think it's the steroids but I don't know; I'm asking tomorrow but has anyone with a dog on heavy steroid treatment found that their abdomen becomes really hard? When she is standing up, it looks slightly distended and when she is laying on her side it's very obviously enlarged. I've saw "swollen" belly as a side effect of steroids; does that also mean a really hard belly? It is not painful to her. I can rub, push, etc and she doesn't react. I first noticed this about a week ago, and it seems to be getting slightly worse - but back then I had the vet look at it too and she wasn't concerned. She felt her belly for a long while, pushing in and stuff and it was all fine and sassy didn't mind.

Does anyone think it's simply because of how much she is eating right now? The steroids are making her so hungry, and after the initial 4 days of not eating I've started to try and limit her food. Still, sometimes I have to give her a little because she is just so starving. She is eating more than she was before getting sick, more frequently.
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