My Hank is sick. We were at Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospital in Sarasota for the second time in three days. He wasn’t eating, drinking, or doing any typical doggy activities. We thought maybe it was because he swallowed part of a chicken drummie three days ago on a night walk. He was too fast for me, but I got some of it away from him. He seemed to be doing better after our first visit where he got fluids by IV and an antibiotic. But he never started drinking water except when I put it in with his ID food. They started by checking him for pancreatitis. And then they found something we weren’t prepared for.
Hank has been diagnosed with hemolytic anemia (AIHA, IMHA). According to Be Aware Of Dog Autoimmune Diseases from Animal Awareness Magazine, IMHA “disorder can be associated with bone marrow failure. Affected animals have one or more of the following signs: lethargy, anorexia, pale mucous membranes, weakness, exercise intolerance, tachycardia (rapid heart rate), tachypnea (rapid breathing), icterus (jaundice), hemoglobinuria (hemoglobin pigment in urine) and fever. Prognosis is guarded to poor with reported mortality rates between 28% and 70%.” Grim findings for our Hank. The vet asked us all kinds of questions about recent vaccines, ingested metal, ticks, and possible toxin exposure. We could think of nothing and we provided all of his recent vet records. We were at the vet for 10 hours. We were given options of which one involved one or more blood transfusions. We talked about his quality of life. We cried as we discussed what we should do. We were told without transfusions, he wouldn’t last 48 hours. After consulting with our vet in Sylvania, Ohio, and the vet at Blue Pearl as well as the vet technician, we decided that he needed to have X-rays to rule out masses, tumors, and metal of any kind, and the vet wanted to check his PCV level to see if it went down since this morning. It stayed the same, so with a shot of prednisone, IV fluids, and Plavix, Hank came home with us tonight.
Tonight is going to be tough for us and I have to watch Hank for signs of his anemia worsening and a possible stroke. Not a happy time. I pray I have better news to share soon. He’s one of our babies, and we love him so much.