Monday, August 5, 2013

A Diagnosis

Hi there!! Jasper's mom here again. Bear with me, cause this is gonna be a long one. Well, after the last 2 months of worrying and wondering and KNOWING that there was something wrong with my baby (and trying to convince people that he wasn't just getting older), I finally have an answer. Jasper's official diagnosis is Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia. The official description is: IMHA occurs when the red blood cell counts are destroyed by the body's own immune system.  In Jasper's case, this was brought about by the vaccines he received in June 2013 (which was when his symptoms started). He had a full diagnostic blood test done on Tuesday 7/30/2013 and it showed that both his red and white blood cell counts were both low. His doctor wasn't sure why this was and suggested we wait another week or two and then do another round of tests. I was not comfortable with waiting that long. On Friday 8/2/2013 I took him to a new doctor (someone recommended by a friend). They did another round of blood work and a digital abdominal xray, and that's when they discovered a few things. One: he was severely backed up and constipated (poor thing), which resulted in an enema (fun times). Two: his heart is a little enlarged, very possibly due to it working overtime because of the anemia. Three: there is nothing around his spleen like originally though, no growths, nothing logged or stuck. And four: that his CBC's had dropped significantly just since Tuesday. She then made the diagnosis of IMHA, but pointed out that at this point it was not life threatening. But it doesn't mean he is out of the woods yet. He was put on two medications: a steroid and an immune suppressant. The side effects for these two medications are: excessive thirst and urination, panting, increased appetite, and possible food aggression. The first week is crucial, if he responds well to the medications and his counts come up on his next blood test (Friday 8/9/2013) then the prognosis is good. But there are still a lot of things up in the air. We won't know for months whether or not he'll have to be on meds for the rest of his life. And he will probably never be able to be vaccinated again (not sure I would do it again even if it is possible). And for me one of the most heartbreaking things, is that he can never be the social dog he once was. No more trips to the pet store, the dog bakery, social/fundraising dog events (like walks and races), and no more dog parks. No more contact with dogs whose medical history I don't know.  And as of right now, he is kind of a "dog in a bubble" until he gets better, like a doggy quarantine.

As of today, things are good. His demeanor and attitude are 200% better than the last couple of weeks. He has been playful and lively again, which warms my heart. His appetite is back and not aggressive, and he is drinking lots of water. His "bathroom schedule" is good, poops are back to normal. I am anxious to get his test results on Friday.

This is Jasper's case, and how we are dealing with it. I am not condemning or pushing the use of vaccines. As Jasper's mom, I did what I thought was best for my boy. Do I wish I had pushed for the blood work sooner? Yes, but I can't change that now. Do I blame his original doctor for the vaccination? No, but I do hold her accountable for blowing off his symptoms as a stomach bug or virus and not suggesting blood work sooner than 2 months later, but it's also my fault for not asking for it. I will be continuing his treatments with the new vet, I feel like he is in good hands. I will also be contacting the drug manufacturer of the vaccines to report this. I am continuing to do research about IMHA and what I can do to help my boy. Some of the info is scary, and I realise that we are very lucky. Mortality rates are as high as 80%, and the thought of losing Jasper is too awful to even think about, but could still be a very real possibility. All I can say is, talk to your vet. Ask questions and voice any concerns you may have. No one knows your pet the way you do, if you feel that something is wrong with your dog or cat, tell the doctor. Follow up. And if you don't feel as if you are getting the care your pet deserves, seek a second opinion. I did, and it very possibly saved Jasper's life.

Thank you so much to everyone for all the support, prayers, well wishes, and local & long distance hugs and kisses. We feel all of your love here in Louisville, KY. 

tired but getting better :)


Lovable Lily said...

Thank you sooooo much for the update on your little sweetie! We've had you in our prayers since we heard the news from Baxter that Jasper wasn't feeling well.

It's reassuring that you now know what the cause is. While we know Jasper is not out of the woods yet, there is a lot of HOPE! Stay positive and keep your chin up. Don't dwell on the past, it will only drive you crazy. Concentrate on the here and now. You're a GREAT Mom and don't ever forget that Jasper knows you're doing your very best for him!!

Lily Belle, Muffin & Mommy Kim

Frankie Furter and Ernie said...

We are so glad that you updated us on what is going on with Jasper.
We are also glad that you went to a different vet. That is not always the easiest decision to make.. We love and trust our vets.... but the DO sometimes make MISTAKES.
People get Second Opinions all the time... and we sometimes forget that we should seek a Second Opinion for our PETS.
We will all continue to have Jasper in our hearts and prayers and hope that he continues to do so well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Amy for your detailed report on Jasper -
You both have been through a lot *Heavy sigh*
You are the bestest mom <3

We love you both

Nancy & Hildy

docsdox said...

YIKES! glad that there is finally a diagnosis and that treatments are starting. relieved that nothing appears to be life-threatening at this point. we hope that he recovers well with the treatment. continued prayers for you both.

- the docsdox family

Kaunis Nelli said...

I'm so glad the vet found the problem. I hope, from the bottom on my heart, that Jasper gets better and has many many more years to live.

Anonymous said...

sending love, hugs and healing wishes for Jasper to be 100% soon.. I know this is so difficult. Baxter mentioned you and I wanted to be sure to come over and give you some support. We all need that extra boost and hopefully as a "web friend" I can offer that! <3

Anonymous said...

Hello from Spain!

We send you lots of love to Jasper!!
I lost in February Noah (my daschound) and it was horrible.


Kristina @ spabettie said...

we are Long Dog friends of Baxter, who told us you need some love.

we are all sending you lots of wags and loves and sweet sniffs and prayers and healing energy.


Kristina, Basil and Rosemary

Maren H said...

Sending lots of love to you and your sweet boy. I know from experience that going through something like this with your little honey is very tough. Hang in there - you are a wonderful momma and Jasper knows it. Enjoy each other and get lots of extra snuggles in <3

Jim Rehmann said...

What Vaccines were used? My dog is getting vaccinated next week, and I want to know. Thanks.

Jim Rehmann said...

Ohmigosh little man... I hope you feel better soon. My pal Baxter told me you weren't feeling well, and I just wanted to say that me and my pack will be thinking about you and your momma.

Mom: What vaccines was he given? Ralphie needs his vaccines next week and I want to make sure nothing happens like this.

- Jimmy

Ruby and Penny said...

We sre sending Jasper many doxie feell good rayz. We hope Jasper is still doing welll.

Love Ruby & Penny