Dropping red blood count
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Thread: Dropping red blood count

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Dropping red blood count

    I have a 9 year old male miniture dachshund. About a month ago we brought him to the vet because he had low energy and lost weight. They did a CBC and his red blood count was below 10. They did a blood transfusion and put him on medication (prednisone cyclophosphamide). $2400 later they still dont know what is wrong with him and when we took him home his red blood count was normal. We have brought him in to the vet every Friday now to check his red blood count and it continues to go down. It is now at 23 as of last Saturday. Our options that the vet gave us were to do another blood transfusion or a bone marrow test. Each over $700. We can not afford either of these because his last bill tapped us out finacially. I am hoping someone on here may have some suggestions or experience with this and help me save my puppy. If his numbers continue to go down, I may have to put him to sleep in the next couple of weeks. PLEASE HELP!

    PS White blood count not elevated

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  3. #2
    Super Moderator Curbside Prophet's Avatar
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    I do not have experience with this, but I do want to wish you hope for better days. It's my understanding that the transfusion is not a cure for your dog's anemia, but it will buy you some time until the cause can be found. Did you vet mention this to you? Are they leaning towards doing the bone marrow test first? Have you asked them about financing options? Are you comfortable with your vet? If not, you may want to get a second opinion. This is a tough situation to be in, and I'm sorry...best wishes.

  4. #3
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    This is exactly what happened to my dog. Look up autoimmune hemolytic anemia. Does this describe your dog's symptoms? I lost my dog to that 2 months ago today. It came on pretty suddenly and she was very weak and lethargic. Originally, when I took her to the vet, her CBC count was 12. That night she took a turn for the worse and was barely at 8. I decided to put her down. They did give me the option of transfusions, but they weren't sure it would have worked. They say that over time, the prednisone will most likely bring up the dogs CBC count, but my dog didn't have that much time to wait. Ask your vet if he/she thinks yours may have a better chance, as his count is higher than mine was. Please look this disease up and let me know what you think. I know exactly how you feel. Keep me posted.

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    Re: Dropping red blood count

    This question was posted over six years ago, but in case someone might have a similar problem, let me comment. Our 11-year old Chow mix has been diagnosed with autoimmune hemolytic anemia. We took him to the vet after we noticed that he was eating lava rocks out of the fireplace. I called the vet and asked about it and he told me to check his gums. I did and they were pale so we took him in. Fortunately, his red blood cell count was 28.5; most people don't catch the problem until it is much lower. The vet put him on prednisone, which raised it a few points but it seems to have leveled off. A transfusion - which our boy didn't need - will raise the red blood cell count and prednisone can help keep it up. (The reason he was eating rocks and scraping on the wall because his body knew it had a deficiency.) He had no symptoms such as bleeding or blood in his stools to indicate internal bleeding so the vet decided to put him on prednisone at once rather than waiting for a lab report (which didn't show that he has the problem but then those tests aren't totally reliable.) His red blood count has been holding at 31-34 but the vet wants to see him at 40 or above. We were fortunate in that we caught the behavior problem before his red blood count had dropped to a dangerous level.

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    Re: Dropping red blood count

    Quote Originally Posted by SamC130 View Post
    This question was posted over six years ago, but in case someone might have a similar problem, let me comment. Our 11-year old Chow mix has been diagnosed with autoimmune hemolytic anemia. We took him to the vet after we noticed that he was eating lava rocks out of the fireplace. I called the vet and asked about it and he told me to check his gums. I did and they were pale so we took him in. Fortunately, his red blood cell count was 28.5; most people don't catch the problem until it is much lower. The vet put him on prednisone, which raised it a few points but it seems to have leveled off. A transfusion - which our boy didn't need - will raise the red blood cell count and prednisone can help keep it up. (The reason he was eating rocks and scraping on the wall because his body knew it had a deficiency.) He had no symptoms such as bleeding or blood in his stools to indicate internal bleeding so the vet decided to put him on prednisone at once rather than waiting for a lab report (which didn't show that he has the problem but then those tests aren't totally reliable.) His red blood count has been holding at 31-34 but the vet wants to see him at 40 or above. We were fortunate in that we caught the behavior problem before his red blood count had dropped to a dangerous level.
    It has been right at a month since our boy was diasgnosed with hemolytic anemia. So far, he's holding his own but his red blood count has not improved. The first time he was checked after he was diagnosed, it had risen to 34 but then it dropped back to 30-31 and was still at that level yesterday. He's developed some weakness which is probably medicaiton related. He can't jump into the car and has a little trouble on stairs. His blood work yesterday showed some elevated levels in his liver, which the vet thinks is caused by one of the medications so he reduced the frequency of that one to every other day. He also consulted with a specialist who believes the reason his red blood count isn't coming up as quickly as hoped is because it's gotten into his bone marrow, which slows the process. Raleigh is 11 but he's also mostly Chow-Chow, and they live longer than most breeds. So, we're hoping he'll pull through. However, its getting to be an expensive process due to ultra sounds, lab work and medication.

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    Re: Dropping red blood count

    Quote Originally Posted by SamC130 View Post
    It has been right at a month since our boy was diasgnosed with hemolytic anemia. So far, he's holding his own but his red blood count has not improved. The first time he was checked after he was diagnosed, it had risen to 34 but then it dropped back to 30-31 and was still at that level yesterday. He's developed some weakness which is probably medicaiton related. He can't jump into the car and has a little trouble on stairs. His blood work yesterday showed some elevated levels in his liver, which the vet thinks is caused by one of the medications so he reduced the frequency of that one to every other day. He also consulted with a specialist who believes the reason his red blood count isn't coming up as quickly as hoped is because it's gotten into his bone marrow, which slows the process. Raleigh is 11 but he's also mostly Chow-Chow, and they live longer than most breeds. So, we're hoping he'll pull through. However, its getting to be an expensive process due to ultra sounds, lab work and medication.
    Raleigh is still hanging in there. Last Saturday his PCV was34 but on this past Thursday is was back down to 30 (although there is a 5% error factor in the tests.) He was really perky over the weekend but on Tuesday we gave him his Trifexis, which makes him tired for a day or so. He spends most of his time resting but is responsive to certain things, such as the sound of the treat box being rattled or the other dogs barking at something outside. The vet has him on Prednisone and a couple of other medications and is keeping close watch on his liver.

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    Re: Dropping red blood count

    An update on Raleigh Bear. He was diagnosed with autoimmune hemolytic anemia on February 20. Fortunately, his red blood count was still fairly high at 28.5. The vet put him on Prednisone and Imuran. His blood count came up to 34-35, but dropped back to 30 and has stayed in that range. He added Atopica and reduced the Prednisone and cut out the Imuran to avoid liver issues. A week ago an independent lab showed it at 32. He's had muscle wasting and is weak in his back legs and has to struggle to get on his feet. However, once he stands, he's fairly active. He doesn't want to climb stairs but there have been times when we've awakened and found him upstairs. Most of the time he wants to sleep on the hearth downstairs. He's got an appointment this afternoon. The vet would like to see his red blood cell count up to 40 but its slow going. I'm sure his age doesn't help - he's 11, but he's mostly chow and chows live to around 15. Since Ral was diagnosed, another dog came into our vet with the same problem. That one is an Airedale and has some heart issues. Our vet lost a dog with this problem not long before we took Raleigh in. I think it was a Rottweiler. The vets says that black dogs are less likely to survive for some reason. Ral is red.

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    Re: Dropping red blood count

    It's been several weeks since I've posted about our boy. The good news is that his hematocrit was up to 36 when he went in for a checkup last week! The bad news is we've spent a ton of money on medications and lab work since this started at the end of February. (I'm afraid to total it all up but it's several thousand dollars. My guess is around $3,000. It would be higher if he had to have transfusions, which he didn't.) Our vet put him on Prednisone and Imuran initially, but had to take him off of the Imuran because of high liver readings. He also put him on Atopica (which added to the cost as it was over $150.00 for a two week supply.) His hematocrit was never below 28.5. It hovered around 30-32 for several weeks, then finally got up to 35, dropped back to 30-31 then was up to 36. He was at the vet at least once a week except for one two-week period when his count was up, but then it dropped again. Now he's only taking 20 MG of Prednisone each day and the vet said he plans to reduce it if he's still doing well next week when he goes back in. The Prednisone really made him loopy for awhile and caused his muscles to be weak. He struggled to get up and would sometimes collapse. That all went away when the Prednisone was reduced. Now he's back to his normal self. One drawback is that the Prednisone has caused him to gain weight. He was normally around 55 but was almost 62 last week. Autoimmune hemolytic anemia is a terrible disease and many dogs don't survive. In fact, our vet told me last week that one of the young female vets in his practice told him that the interns at Texas A&M told her that a dog that was diagnosed with AIHA was doomed. Everyone in the clinic has been watching him. We feel very fortunate that he has survived. No one seems to know what causes AIHA, although exposure to zinc oxide is known to be one cause. We had noticed a year or so ago that Raleigh was chewing up lava rocks from the fireplace. We don't have a clue how long he has been doing it. We would find the rocks on the hearth but thought our cats were playing with them. In fact, it was when I called the vet to ask about dogs chewing lava rocks that he suggested that he might be anemic. I checked his gums and found that they were pale and took him in. He may have continued chewing on the rocks after he was diagnosed, which may have been why it took so long for his hematocrit to come up. I had caught him chewing some rocks and blocked off the fireplace two or three weeks before it came up. The rocks are lava and God only knows what's in them. Hopefully, Ral will be with us for another couple of years at least.

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