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Old October 12th, 2010, 10:51 AM
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SuperWanda SuperWanda is offline
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Idiopathic thrombocytopenia in dogs

I have a 10 year old husky cross who was having some weakness in her back due to discospondylosis but her appetite was low so we took her for x-rays and blood work. The x-rays showed that her spine condition had progressed and her blood work showed a low platelet count. We were given metacam to help her back but two days later her nose started to bleed and so we rushed her to the emergency clinic. At that time her platelets were only 1 per oil field and they stared her on 50 mg prednisone alternating with 2.5ml sulcrate to prevent an ulcer. The next day her platelets were up to 3 per oil field (around 54 when put through the counter) we had a few more x-rays done and they were normal, a ultrasound which was normal -- no tumors in spleen, liver, no noticeable ulcers or bleeding. We tried a vincristine treatment to hopefully boost her platelet counts but that has not resulted in a higher count which remains steady at 2-3 per oil field. She was on no medication before this which apparently can trigger this condition and suspect it is immune mediated. Our vet is putting her case onto some North American e-mail to see if a specialist somewhere has any more suggestions with regards to medication. I was reading about this condition in humans and not sure if this is a shot in the dark but new research has shown that when Heliobacter pylori present in digestive tract is treated with antibiotics that some had a dramatic increase in platelets. Not sure if this would be something to try in dogs? I know they have different species of Heliobacter in their guts but thought it wouldn't hurt to try? Sounds like this is most often a immune mediated problem but can possibly result from pathogens like Heliobacter, blood parasites from ticks or possibly a virus however I think there is little information on what the cause may be.

Just wondering if anyone else has information about this condition -- I know that if her platelets drop further she is at risk for a catastrophic bleed.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 06:27 PM
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Goldfields Goldfields is offline
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SuperWanda, this is one of the two conditions that afflicted a sheltie I bred and sold 7 years ago or more. Combined with immune- mediated hemolytic anaemia it's called Evan's syndrome, which is what Arie had. Very sick dog with a wonderful owner, it has cost him over $7,000 but they have finally nearly weaned her off all drugs. I'm sure if you Google it you'll find there are a lot of possible causes.
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Old October 15th, 2010, 02:58 PM
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rainbow rainbow is offline
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How is Timber doing?

Did your vet find any more answers for you? I have sent a pm to Dr Lee with a link to your thread and he will add his expertise next time he logs on.
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Old October 16th, 2010, 12:34 AM
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Dr Lee Dr Lee is offline
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I am sorry to hear about everything that your pet has been going through. This is always so difficult and low platelets can be so scary.

I assume that we have suspended metacam use while on prednisone? Other pain medications like tramadol may be safer with concurrent use of prednisone, if we need pain medications.

Autoimmune disorders can lead to low platelets - ITP Immune Thrombocytopenia is not uncommon. Steroids or other immune suppressives like azothioprine are often used. Other tests like radiographs and ultrasounds are important to rule out other underlying diseases. Also blood tests if indicated may also be helpful to rule out diseases like Ehrlichia which can also lead to ITP. So far I have not heard that helicobacter is a causative agent for thrombocytopenia in dogs.

I would recommend regular platelet checks until we are 1) out of a danger zone and 2) are on an upward trend.

I hope that this helps.
Christopher A. Lee, DVM, MPH, Diplomate ACVPM
Preventive Medicine Specialist With a Focus on Immunology and Infectious Disease
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Old October 17th, 2010, 08:40 PM
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SuperWanda SuperWanda is offline
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Thank you Goldsfield, Rainbow and Dr. Lee for your concern!

Yes -- no more metacam. Her platelets were low and they gave her metacam for her back. She was only on it for two days and then the nose bleed happened. My vet thinks maybe her platelets were already low and the metacam just pushed it down further.

Basically we have had 2 abdominal and 2 chest x-rays. Both showed nothing. We went for an abdominal ultrasound and there were no tumors, bleeding or any ulcers that he could see. All looked good so we continue with the prednisone and have platelet smears (# per oil field) done almost every day with no noticeable change (2-3 per oil field). The vet put her case on an e-mail database and some internal medicine vet replied and he said to stay on prednisone that it can take 3-7 days and to get an actual platelet count because a smear is not as accurate so her count was 73, I think, on Friday 15th. Still low so we are to keep giving the prednisone and my vet recommends trying the Imuran or azothioprine, that you mentioned Dr. Lee. I am starting tomorrow but am a little worried about it and the side effects but hopefully all will be okay.

Ticks were addressed as well. Here in Manitoba we have Lyme and Anaplasmosis. Less than 5% of the deer ticks here test positive for Anaplasma phagocytophilum. !0-12% for Borrelia burgdorferi so very rare chance but that was ruled out.

Blood tests also showed her to be slightly anemic so hopefully she is not developing the hemolytic anemia as well?

I have no idea what has caused this but it sounds like it can be a multitude of things from viruses, bacteria, toxins, medication genetics etc. I guess we'll never know.

Right now she is at home and seems to be improving slowly but her blood tests don't show any significant change for the better.

Thank you for your posts! I am very worried and just hope that her counts rise and she will get through this. I know she is 10 years old but hope that her age does not prevent her from recovering!
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Old October 18th, 2010, 02:32 PM
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rainbow rainbow is offline
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Glad to hear the ultrasound showed no tumours, bleeding or ulcers.

Is Timber eating well? Ask your vet about giving her supplements to help her immune system.

I hope the pred and Imuran are able to bring her blood count back up soon.
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Old October 16th, 2012, 07:54 PM
MichNative MichNative is offline
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Yes I know a lot about thrombocytopenia......I lost my most treasured blue point siamese cat this morning. She suffered from asthma, diabetes, and low platelet count. At one point she was down to 9 thousand which is dangerously low. I am still reeling from the loss and miss her with all of my heart.
Please contact me if I can help you ...........my best wishes to your four legged baby
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Old October 17th, 2012, 09:06 AM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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I'm so sorry for your loss, MichNative. The hardest part about giving your love to animals is letting them go when it's time. My heart goes out to you.

"We are--each of us--dying; it's how we live in the meantime that makes the difference."

"It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived!"

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
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